Why don’t people eat and serve healthy meals more often? Is it because they don’t care or can’t cook?
One reason is because they’ve been led to believe that healthy cooking is hard, unenjoyable, and expensive… and that they’d be happier throwing something on the table without getting flour on their fingers.
But this is not true for several reasons:
- First and foremost, happiness comes from having meaning and purpose in life, not from convenience, shortcuts, or happy meals.
- Secondly, there’s no reason healthy cooking can’t be fun and straightforward with recipes, YouTube, and cooking shows at our fingertips.
- Third, store aisles full of fresh fruits, lean meats, washed vegetables, and whole grains make healthy cooking very convenient.
- Finally, it costs about $1.50 more to eat “well” each day. Compared to the costs associated with poor health, this is money well spent.
I can’t help but think of my Grandpa and Grandma Englert who had 10 kids and sadly lost another.
They farmed, raised all their meat, gardened and canned their own produce, and cooked on a wood burning stove. If they were living today, I doubt they’d complain about life being hard or food being too expensive and inconvenient. I think they’d say that half the work is already done, and that the other half – simply cooking for a couple adults and a few kids – is the easy part!
But I imagine my grandmother would agree that the combination of 6 o’clock, homework, and hungry children – regardless how many – can sometimes seem daunting and overwhelming.
To help power through these valid reasons like she did, try these 5 tips to help cut down on prep time and cleanup:
- Take 30 minutes at the beginning of the week and slice all your vegetables at one time – onions, zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, etc. Then they’ll be ready to sauté, roast, steam, add to sauces or dishes, or eat raw.
- Line your roasting pans with tinfoil before roasting veggies, baking bacon, etc. Toss the foil and save your pan (and your sanity) afterwards.
- Always cook enough meat for two meals. Leftover chicken or salmon are delicious on salads; browned hamburger is great for tacos one night and lasagna the next, and pulled pork is perfect for sandwiches the following day. With 7 out of 10 eaters being boys, I’m guessing my grandma didn’t have this option.
- Have a sink full of dishwater while you cook. It allows you to wash a few things while you cook and keep the mess at bay. The memory of my grandma washing dishes in her skirt, blouse, and apron will forever be in my memory.
- Keep a bowl of fruit on the table. It’s an instant side dish, snack, and go-to if your kids don’t like the main dish. Plus, it looks pretty! My grandma’s table always looked pretty.
Remember: When you say yes to healthy cooking, you’re really saying yes to serving, loving, and blessing others and yourself. It’s not too hard or too much. In actuality, the satisfaction it offers the body and soul – and future generations – is priceless and worth every dish.
Author: Liz DeJongh, MS, is President of Well Simplified, a certified health & wellness coach, and co-creator of Mind.Set.Goal!, a holistic 7-step lifestyle program that gives you tools to find peace with food, feel great about yourself, and fuel healthy, happy families. She and her sister Ginny Clark, MS, RD, have 30 years combined experience helping people overcome their struggles with food, weight, and health without dieting. Learn more at www.wellsimplified.com and www.mindsetgoal.com.
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