Cooking every night is challenging even for stay at home mothers. The reason is simple; to cook every night you need to go grocery shopping twice a week which never happens in our household. Not to mention all the cleaning afterwards. A simple solution would be to order take out which is a great option once in a while, green curry chicken or pizza are our go to options. On a typical week, we order in on Fridays after we have literally emptied our fridge!
The new trends are to eat healthy, clean, organic, fresh, vegan, paleo diet, gluten-free, cleansing/detoxing, liquid diets etc...
In reality, no study will ever show the superiority of one diet over the other; it is very difficult to study people's eating habits since there are so many confounding factors like exercising, smoking, drinking, genetic predisposition,metabolism, pollution, environmental exposure, culture, medications, economic status and stress.
It is not my intention to disregard the discipline and healthy habits that many people routinely follow, I believe each one of us know their bodies better than anyone and know what works for them.
For example, my husband has been eating kale salad every day for the last decade claiming it is healthy and makes him energized. Despite his healthy habits and regular workouts, his cholesterol level remains high.
Patients frequently ask me how to prevent obesity, cancer, diabetes. My answer is always the same; exercice and eat more fruits and vegetables and avoid deep fried and processed food. It sounds simple but it's not. Eating fresh fruits and vegetables is difficult, they take time to prepare, they need to be washed, peeled, chopped, seasoned and cooked (or prepared in salads). Making a ham and cheese sandwich (with mustard :)) is by far easier and less expensive.
My hospital cafeteria is the unhealthiest cafeteria I've ever come across; french fries, chicken nuggets, hamburgers, mayonnaise on all sandwiches, ice cream, chili, tacos and every flavored soda imaginable.
Four out of 5 times a week, I go to the cafeteria and come back to my office with a yogurt and a banana because all the other options are not healthy.
How to provide your family with healthy meals every night?
Ideally you prepare meals in advance and store them in the refrigerator or freezer. It is time consuming, you have to plan ahead but there are no magical solutions. You can also rely on Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, Fresh direct which are companies that deliver food to your door with recipes. In all honesty, I have never tried any of them, I usually get home between 6 and 7 PM and I am starving, Between taking care of the baby, the dog (and the husband), I don't have the energy or time to prepare a meal even if it takes under 30 minutes.
Not every meal has to be complex, my rules are:
Never skip breakfast, make it count! This is the right time to include carbohydrates, to keep you full and to give you the energy you need. My favorite: milk 2% (yes 2%, your body needs some fat), granola (for the taste), quick oats (main source of carbs) and fruits like banana, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries for the vitamins. You can even add peanut or almond butter to keep you full even longer. I usually have a big breakfast on days when I have surgical procedures since I won't eat lunch for another 7-8 hours.
Always pack snacks (apples, bananas, yogurt, almonds, dates). I like Lärabar, http://www.larabar.com, bars made of dates with 3-4 ingredients, no preservatives, no additives. Not only they taste good but they keep you full for 2-3 hours.
Drink a lot of water during the day, bring at least 2 bottles with you to work. Set reminders on your Fitbit or phone to buzz every 2 hours to remind you to drink water. Do not buy or bring sodas with you. Avoid more than 1 cup of coffee/tea a day. Remember, drinking should not be the source of your calories; juices are full of sugar and do not provide adequate hydration, it increases your sugar level with useless calories.
Have at least one balanced meal with grain, protein and vegetables. The ratio should be: 60% vegetables, 20% grain and 20% protein.
If lunch is your balanced meal, then make a light dinner.
Avoid ordering in at all costs, a pizza has very few nutritional value, you are better off with a home made cheese sandwich. Chinese, Italian, thai are loaded with salt, processed and fried food. Your pantry has more options than you think: a can of tuna with lemon juice over a bed of spinach is a healthy, balanced and quick meal, egg omelet/hard boiled or scrambled eggs are a great source of protein, hummus spread is not just a snack, it could provide a dense source of protein and fiber, roasted vegetables in the oven with olive oil can last a couple of days in the fridge and are a great source of vitamin A and C.
Follow us on liv2fulfill.com and we will share with you our tricks of the trade about healthy living and every week, we will post an easy to make recipe to prepare in advance and store in your fridge.