Making healthy food a priority in your house can sometimes be difficult. I have a few ideas and I am sure you have seen others, so maybe all together we can come up with some easy solutions. We can decide what foods to consider healthy, and then how to make them convenient.
One of the first thoughts I had is to only have in the house those items that are good for your body. Having a bowl of red, black, and green seedless grapes enticing you instead of a big bag of salty, fatty, and “…trite” laden chips is an easy snack that, in only a few minutes and for hours to come, satisfies your hunger giving you a gentle energy boost. Maybe for a once in a month treat, make something small and quickly consumed…no leftovers! Ridding the house of unhealthy tempters is not really all that difficult; you simply buy no more. Of course it helps if you are in charge of the kitchen.
While these subtle changes are occurring, purchase a couple sets of clear glass freezer containers. These are safer for using in the microwave than plastic. Do make sure you have plenty of storage bags of varying sizes as well. Wax paper, freezer wrap, and plastic wrap are also great for packaging items such as hamburgers, tenderized chicken breasts, and precooked meat loaves. To protect from freezer burn, place them in a freezer storage bag. Meat loaves are the best for containing all sorts of healthy stuff; oatmeal, flax seed, varieties of squash, spinach, and carrots, besides the usual tomatoes, onions, and peppers. Freezing main dishes makes it easy for any hard working person to prepare wholesome meals.
A crockpot is the best friend forever of probably every household. Whole meals or just amazing main dishes appear out of those tubs. Place food in the crockpot according to the directions either in the cookbook that came with it, or from crockpot recipes found elsewhere. Then, because of the slow, moist cooking at low heat, you can go about your day knowing all you need to add to your scrumptious pot roast dinner are a few biscuits, and slices of fresh tomatoes.
An outdoor grill, or one of those counter-top varieties, comes to the rescue for quick, nutritional, low fat meals. Grills provide excellent choices for convenient main dishes by cooking food so most of the heart-hardening fat trickles off. Groceries cooked outside also have a flavor all their own. Cubed, boneless pork chops along with colorful peppers, pieces of onion, yellow or green squash, fresh mushrooms, and cherry tomatoes grilled on skewers, present a most mouthwatering spectacle on a bed of brown rice. If desired, you can brush the kabobs with a little garlic, herb butter during cooking. And nothing equals savoring grilled fish, kale chips, and apple vinegar slaw.
Yet another cooking technique that promotes healthy eating is stir frying. This method uses a small amount of Canola or olive oil in either a wok or a sauté pan on high heat, cooking the food quickly. Stir fry fresh chicken strips you cut ahead of time and froze, along with fresh vegetables and add a small amount of low sodium soy sauce for more flavor. Serve this either with brown rice or as is, and pass those crunchy noodles. All this takes maybe a total of twenty minutes from start to finish, especially if you have small bags of already sliced veggies in addition to those prepared chicken pieces. With Asian cooking, it is often the preparation that takes most of the time.
Convenient Snacks and Water
To make snacks and water convenient for children…of all ages…keep them available in small, accessible containers. Drinking water comes in dispensers you can place on handy fridge shelves. Snack suggestions include plain or maybe vanilla flavored Greek yogurt, sliced strawberries, and pre-measured granola for fruit ‘n yogurt parfaits; assorted berries washed and ready to gobble; various melons in chunks; luscious red cherries; “Cuties,” and so many more. Vegetable snacks come in snack bags of broccoli, cauliflower, baby carrots, grape tomatoes, and button mushrooms; only if absolutely necessary, supply mini containers of about a tablespoon of dressing for dipping. You also might remember the ants on a log: celery sticks stuffed with a little peanut butter and dotted with 3-4 raisins.
The possibilities are endless. Just by planning and preparing meals about a week in advance, you gain great peace of mind and a happy budget. And eating healthy becomes the first choice of your family.
How do you make healthy food convenient in your household? Share your ideas below or tweet them to me @newlywedsurvive and I will share with my followers!
Chelsea Smith is a personal trainer and diet freak who loves to write about healthy foods whenever she has the time. She often covers topics relating to diets and nutrition and she recently wrote an article about nutrition in nuts.
Photo Credit: Miguel Solorio