Five (5) Tips to Help You Establish Healthy Cooking Routines

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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.

1. Prioritize

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.

5. Delegate

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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.

This post may contain affiliate links. Thank you for supporting GNOWFGLINS with your purchases.

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Comments

  1. MarLou says

    Wardee you are simply an amazing person! So many of these things seem simple and yet, until we see them written down and in order, our brains can’t quite seem to wrap around it all. Thank you for this great post. It makes it feel possible for me to actually do the healthy cooking thing.

    I just received my food dehydrator and I’m excited to start using that to help prepare more healthy foods. For instance, I want to soak my wheat like you did, Wardee and then dry it. I’ll just find that post you did on it and re-read it so I can follow you. YOU ARE MY LEADER! Love ya, Wardee. Have a great and wonderful weekend. Tomorrow I will visit my local Farmers’ Market to buy some healthy, locally grown, organic treasures from our Heavenly Father.

  2. michelle says

    Wardee…you are so wonderful, thank you so much for this post, and I couldn’t have said it better than Marlou. I do think about soaking my oat meal, but other things do seem to boggle my mind. So you make it seem so simple, thank you.

  3. Lisa says

    Hi Wardee,
    Thanks so much for all your posts and wonderful recipes. We just tried the black bean chili and it was a hit with my family and had legs too! We had leftovers for a few days! One thing that really helps me with my healthy cooking is to have a set menu every week. Our basic core of meals for the week is for us to have one night red meat, one night chicken, frittata, lentil soup, fish, leftovers and another bean based dish – in the fall it is butternut squash with beans and rice, for example. This way I am one step ahead with knowing what to make and then can get to the advance prep much more quickly (i.e., soaking beans). At night after supper I can soak my grains for the next morning, but if I don’t get to it I have my quick back-ups like smoothies from our farm yogurt or toast with our sourdough bread. Thanks again for such a fantastic site!

  4. Christie says

    It is a switch in thinking to prepare a day ahead, but once its started, its really almost done. Since we began eating more whole foods, kitchen work has been simplified. The food tastes better without complicating it. :)

    I saw in the Trader Joe’s “magazine” an advertisement for frozen steel-cut oatmeal (to be microwaved), and it lauded the product’s advantage over “40 minutes” of stirring it, if made at home. I would have been scared off home-cooked with that, but now I know that soaking the oats the night before, and then cooking the next morning only takes 10-15 minutes, and I only stir once or twice!

    Its also easier to cook this way when you’re not tired or rushed, and you can choose when to do your prep.

  5. says

    these are great tips! one other i give parents when beginning their health journey is to ask their kids their top 5 favorite veggies and then go to the store. let them choose their favorite for the week and then one new one to try. with the kids choosing, they are way more likely to eat them!

  6. says

    Just found your site Wardee, thank you so much for the work you continue to do in sharing your wisdom. I am looking forward to learning and practicing how to be more organised in my natural food preparation efforts!
    .-= Ophelia´s last blog post… The English Language =-.

  7. says

    Dear Wardee — thank you for such great information and encouragement — for me the first step — even before cooking healthy foods, was to get used to preparing all my family’s food PERIOD. .

    Then, as I got used to that huge step (for me) I substitute more healthy ingredients and preparation methods as I go. .

    I could not imagine soaking my grains, if at first I had not been baking my own bread for a while — albeit white bread in a bread machine. . my bread machine bit the dust recently, so now I am hand kneading and slowly going whole wheat — don’t know when (or if) I’ll make it to soaking and sprouting — one step at a time, I guess. .
    .-= Melinda´s last blog post… Time out and return =-.

  8. Charity says

    Thanks SO SO much for all of this awesome info… you really inspire me and keep an excitement for all of this ignited!! I think I am going to try to make a sourdough start… I’ve never done anything with sourdough, I need to research it a bit more. What made you decide to change to sourdough? Do you prefer a certain grain? I am mostly using Kamut!?
    Thanks again BUNCHES!!
    Hugs!!
    Blessings,
    Charity <

  9. says

    Just saw this posted on the Azure FB page. What great advice! Baby steps are definitely important so you can make positive, lasting changes without becoming overwhelmed. I also encourage meal planning as a great way to plan ahead – adding to your point #3. It keeps me on track for eating healthy and making sure I have everything planned out for the week also results in less stress and more money savings. I have a section on my meal plan specifically for what I need to do to prep for the day and the day ahead, which also helps keep me on track with little mental effort trying to remember what I should be doing each day. That frees me up to stay focused on all the other things that are happening throughout the day. Thanks for sharing! Just adore your blog, it’s so inspiring and helpful! Blessings, :) kel

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