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My health food life over the past 45 years has centered around the advice of my junior high home economics teacher. She taught me to make my health food convenient and tasty. Why? All the kids in that Arvada, Colorado classroom were told…
Complicated food is not part of most people’s daily habits. Do yourself a favor and simplify!
Now that I’ve cooked for a family of 5+ for more than 35 years, this message of simplicity has proven true. Sure, it’s great fun to prepare gourmet meals on occasion. As a home cook who’s taking responsibility for the daily eating habits of others, simple food that is healthy makes everyone’s life better.
I encourage you to give them a try! Please let me know in the comments below if you have other health food boosts to share.
Here’s a great application of the ‘out of sight, out of mind’ saying. I hang nutrition info on my fridge so that everyone who eats in my kitchen can grow to appreciate the upgrades I’m making as the lead grocery shopper and cook. They can also become healthy home cooks this way.
My spice cupboard includes easy-to-grab containers of spirulina, dulse, chia seeds, nutritional yeast, bee pollen, hemp seeds, and turmeric powder. These superfood add-ins are colorful, and they blend seamlessly into many dishes on my stovetop…often, without anyone’s notice. Yes, it’s kind of like our moms hiding peas in the tuna casserole. We all got used to that, right!
I wrap layered vegetables, spices, and the fish in single-serving sizes, and pop multiple bundles on a baking sheet in my oven. Instead of using foil, this paper option makes for a moist-not-soggy final product. The steam inside this little pouch helps the flavors deepen during baking.
Instead of cooking vegetables in water, I like to use bone broth as my nutritious liquid. Instead of adding water to a baked item, I like to use herbal tea. If I have oranges on hand, I like to make a vitamin C-packed salad dressing.
I’ve created many health food boosts at home! One of my most simple family-friendly swaps has been trading standard pasta with the Banza line of vegetable-based noodles. We’ve been eating their pasta for a while now, and no one around my table can tell the difference. I recommend this pasta to my prediabetes clients as it is a low Glycemic Index food. Learn more about GI studies here.
Instead of running around town to buy groceries from multiple locations, I’ve found the highest-quality source of meat, poultry, and fish in my neighborhood. I shop twice a month and carefully wrap and store perishable food for later use. The best place in your neighborhood can be found with a phone call or two, as well. I buy animal protein that is humanely raised and not fed antibiotics nor animal-based feed. I marinate my meats for flavor and nutrition.
While doctor’s offices usually provide diabetic patients with recommended diet guidelines from the American Diabetes Association, prediabetics are often left to figure out healthy food for themselves. Understanding how your body uses food is vital information for all people! Chapter 5 in my Solution Starter Prediabetes Workbook is called Upgrade the Way You Eat. My simple home cooking is based on the foundation of the resources and charts in that chapter. Another great resource for your home cooking can be found on author Michael Pollan‘s website.
Science now backs up the idea long held by many holistic health coaches that our gut health is vitally important. Robust health can only be maintained when we have healthy intestinal bacteria. And of course, keeping a simple health food habit in the kitchen is good for your gut. It’s time for everyone to stop thinking that convenience food and simple healthy food is the same. Instead of prepackaged food kits, your gut health requires real food meals. My main gut-health message in this tip is to take prebiotics/probiotics, eat more fiber, avoid artificial sweeteners, minimize the use of antibiotics with your doctor’s help, and limit processed foods.
Back to my point of eating real food most often, I plan my cooking days at the beginning of the week. When I know I have certain vegetables, for instance, it’s simple to roast more than I’ll need for tonight’s dinner. The leftover roasted vegetables give me or my husband a headstart in preparing a simple meal tomorrow night, too. Here’s an example of the vegetables I’ll roast for tonight in a large batch (good for two meals), along with a garden tomato for our salad.
Margaret Mead said, “It is easier to change a man’s religion than to change his diet.” Instead of trying to change the way your loved ones eat, make your life more simple by setting the stage for others to make food decisions for themselves. I keep healthy food in my kitchen. It’s in full view and easy to grab. When cooking happens, I play fun music and keep a light attitude. Others are always welcome! Try out a recipe that others suggest. If your family is hungry for something you’ve never tried, take the plunge! When the people around you have a say in what’s for dinner tonight, it’s easier to sprinkle in a little nutrition and pass along your joy of cooking.