In my practice of health coaching, I always encourage my clients to eat mostly home-made foods vs. dining out or takeout food. And I am highlighting the word mostly as what we do 80% to 90% of the time in terms of food and lifestyle choices is what determines our illness or wellness state.
Why home cooking is important:
You know what ingredients are going into the meal (you won’t have full visibility when eating out with many hidden ingredients even in sauces and dressings affecting your gut health and immune reaction)
You know the quality of each ingredient and can control what’s going into your food. Some produce are worth buying organic, quality of animal meat or products makes a big difference on gut and hormonal health, most vegetables oils are inflammatory and the list goes on…
Vitamin L (for Love)… When you cook with love, the food just tastes better! And there’s a lot of science and traditional wisdom how the energy from your emotions and state of mind passes through to the food you’re making. (Compare eating a meal made by a grandmother with love poured into the food, versus a meal prepared by low-wage stressed overloaded cook in a restaurant!)
As a busy city dweller, I understand the time constraints. So here’s how you can experience easier and simple cooking, via meal prep or food prep. You might be wondering, what’s the difference between these two!
Meal prep is exactly that; you prepare a full meal.
Cook once, eat twice is one of the easiest strategies. So the meal you cook fully for dinner on day 1 can be eaten again as:
lunch the next day
dinner next day
frozen immediately to be offered later in the next week
Another idea is preparing salad mason jars, if layered properly then the vegetables will not get soggy and you can enjoy them for 3 or 4 days.
While Food prep; is preparing individual ingredients in advance so it’s saves you time when you want to prepare a meal, examples:
Marinara sauce ready and frozen to be used as base for pasta or stew dish later on.
Cooked minced meat with onions and spices frozen to be used later.
Vegetables washed, cut up, peeled, chopped.. etc so you can easily whip up a salad or eat as snack along with some dips like hummus or guacamole
Quinoa or wild rice cooked enough portions for 3 days to be used as side for fish or meat dish, added to salads, or poke bowls.
Smoothie packs, so the ingredients stored in a Ziploc and you just take a bag and pop in your blender with liquid.
Roasted variety of veggies enough for 3 days, and you use a mix as side dish or for snacks to ensure you are getting enough of vegetables. Experiment with different herbs and spices.
Tips to get started:
Decide when you will make your meal plan (first time will take time and then it becomes easier)
Get your family on board with eating at home more. And get their favourite meals in your list
Start slowly and take baby steps.
Give yourself grace when things don't go as planned.
Set aside a time each week or month to make your meal plan.
Don't plan time consuming or difficult meals (save those for special nights or weekends)
Ask friends and family how they make their meal plan.
Just get started!
Keep at it! This is a learned skill.
Keep it simple.
Enjoy your home made foods nourishing your body, mind and soul.