The most common reason families don’t cook meals at home is Lack of Time. Looking at the trends since 1960, one can see that fewer and fewer families have a member who spends a significant amount of time at home doing household tasks like cooking, cleaning and laundry.
In 1960, 70% of families were single income homes with only dad working. Since then, both mom and dad have gone to work outside the home. Currently, only about 31% of families are still single income households.
With both husband and wife working outside the home, most families have outsourced household responsibilities. We have people on speed dial to perform housekeeping, yard care, pool maintenance, window washing, handyman jobs, car washing and laundry responsiblities. Given our long work hours, this is great news. It gives other people jobs and frees us outside of work to spend time together.
However, when it comes to food, we’ve outsourced to our own detriment. Restaurant food generally contains more bad fats, table salt, GMOs, preservatives, conventional meat products and improperly prepared refined carbohydrates than home-cooked foods. It’s no wonder chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease and cancer are increasing at alarming rate. These are lifestyle diseases, and eating out too much contributes to them.
We all know that cooking at home is better for us than eating out. It’s just time consuming, messier and takes planning. So how do we rewind and make home cooking and healthier eating a part of life again? Below are eight ideas for you.
(1) Set up a fresh, organic produce delivery.
There are companies that will leave a box of local harvest at your door every week. My personal favorite is It’s Organic 2U. I choose the Jumbo Family Box which includes plenty of fruits and vegetables. A typical box this time of year contains apples, avocados, bananas, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cucumbers, chard, grapefruit, kiwi, lettuce, oranges, onions, pears, potatoes and tomatoes.
A simple search on Google delivered additional options: Farmbox Direct, Door to Door Organics, Urban Organic and Full Circle. There is an option no matter where you live. Just do a Google search, verify that they provide organic produce and get signed up!
(2) Visit a warehouse club once a month.
Buying in bulk from a warehouse club saves you multiple trips to the store. I’m really impressed with Costco’s options and purchase many pantry staples there. I buy items like olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, almond butter, cans of organic tomatoes, grass-fed butter and cheese, almond milk and organic chicken and beef. I even found my favorite organic coffee for cheaper than Amazon at Costco.com!
(3) Order items online.
Most have discovered the joy of Amazon.com’s click and ship services, but have you considered stocking your pantry this way? Amazon.com carries many items needed for a healthy pantry, and ordering online will save time and gas. Items I purchase from Amazon.com include protein powder, beef jerky, Wild Planet Tuna, sea salt, ghee, Epic Jerky Bites, Great Lakes Unflavored Beef Gelatin and avocado mayonnaise.
(4) Do one big meal prep per week.
Just like work meetings and social gatherings, you should schedule meal prep time. Block out a four hour time slot one day per week to prep your meals. For most people, this works best on Sunday. Wash and cut your produce, make a batch of egg cups, bake a pound of bacon, put together a recipe or two, grill some hamburgers, roast a chicken, prepare a slow cooker recipe, hard boil eggs and put together baggies of snacks.
(5) Become really efficient at three recipes.
I have at least three recipes that I know by heart and can put together quickly. Find some of those recipes for yourself. When you get home late or have to run the kids around to different activities, you can still get a wholesome meal on the table quickly. My three go-to recipes are scrambled eggs and bacon, salmon cakes and hamburger patties. Simple, quick and tasty!
(6) Use leftovers wisely.
Here’s my take on leftovers. You don’t like them? Get over yourself. Leftovers are REALLY useful when committing to eating at home often. Leftovers can be breakfast or lunch the next day. They can be changed around to become an entirely new meal. If you tell me you don’t like leftovers, I may roll my eyes at you. They’re just reheated foods from the previous day. It’s not like they’ve changed in taste. The only food I will agree with you should never be a leftover is seafood….that’s just gross.
(7) Keep your kitchen free of the bad stuff.
Do you want to make it easier to avoid the “bad” foods? Get them out of your house! Spend an evening cleaning out your pantry and fridge of all vegetable oils (corn, canola, soybean), sweets, boxed foods, refined breads, grains and pastas and frozen treats. It is easier to eat healthy when there aren’t temptations close by. I’m not likely to get in my car to pick up some ice cream, but if it’s sitting in my freezer….no promises!
(8) Use a restaurant’s online menus to make decisions before you go.
Almost every restaurant has an online presence these days. Before you head out to eat, take a look at the menu and decide what to order. When you’re trying to make healthy food choices, game time decisions don’t work well. Once you’ve made a decision, stick to it. When in doubt, choose grilled/baked meats and vegetables with minimal sauces.
So there you have it – eight tips to eat healthier in our hurried, crazy world. What other tips do you have?