Most people agree they want to eat healthy. The changes to be made can seem overwhelming and debilitating. I hear from people all the time that either they don't know how to get healthy routines in their life, or they don't know where to start. Here are five tips to get you started down the road to healthy cooking.
Make a list of all the things you'd like to change and prioritize them. Allergies or health issues would make certain changes go to the top of the list. For instance, if someone is exhibiting sensitivity to wheat, start soaking/fermenting/sprouting your wheat first. If someone is showing symptoms of lactose intolerance, switch to raw milk and/or cultured raw milk products first. Other changes, such as soaking nuts, increasing healthy fats, switching to naturally-raised meats, lacto-fermented foods and beverages, etc. should go after the critical changes.
2. One Step at a Time
Now that you have a prioritized list, implement one change at a time – this will prevent getting overwhelmed. Add in one new routine at a time and keep up with that for a week or two, or until you are able to see what effect that change has had on family members' health issues. When you're comfortable with one step, add the next.
3. Think One Day Ahead
Often the biggest hurdle to eating healthy is that we run out of time and then turn to less healthy, quick foods. We tend to freak out and think we just don't have time to plan. But healthy cooking doesn't require that much more time overall – what it requires is a little thinking ahead. For most meals, you don't have to plan a month, or a week ahead. Just one day ahead. I think most of us can shift our thinking ahead that far. You already spend time preparing food (I hope 😉 ), so just do it a little earlier. Assuming you have a stocked pantry, most foods need eight to twelve hours of preparation.
I find I do my planning and preparing at two times of the day – evening and morning. In the evening, I plan my meals for the next day. I set out things that need to be soaked. For example, I get the morning oatmeal soaking. I get the sourdough bread dough resting for the next day's lunch. I start soaking the grains for muffins. I start soaking beans. I put thawed meat in the crockpot to cook long and low. The next morning, I cook the oatmeal, beans and bake the muffins – and I also start soaking the grains I'll cook up for dinner. This cycle repeats daily. What I think you'll find is that if you shift your thinking ahead, you'll end up thanking yourself because the meals will become easy breezy. This is what happens when you do much of the planning and prep work ahead of time.
4. Batch Cooking
Once you get used to cooking healthfully, it is time to ramp up the quantities. This will save you even more time. Anything you bake or cook – meat, grains, muffins, bread – make double. Freeze or set aside half of it to eat later. You might give yourself several days of not having to do much ahead of time.
Children and other family members can be a big help! For example, young children can be taught to rinse sprouts. In our house, the sprout rinsing job rotates between my children in the AM and PM. I rarely have to do it. My job is to oversee and make sure the sprouts are not spoiling, to store the sprouts when done, and to get seeds soaking. Children can also get oatmeal soaking or muffin batter soaking. Anything they can do for you will free you up to do more of #3 and #4.
I hope you've found these tips helpful. What else would you add? Feel free to share – and please do so! We can all benefit from your suggestions and expertise. If you have questions about anything shared, please ask.
This post is part of Fight Back Friday! at FoodRenegade.
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