I could go off on a whole tangent about how crappy what we eat is and how we need to eat healthy, but it’s been repeated so much, I think we all know that McDonald’s isn’t the best option, and ideally we should be eating food from our backyard, laboring all day for a loaf of bread, Little House on the Prairie style.
But the ideal just isn’t an actuality for most of us. With our careers and children and husbands, “ain’t nobody got time for that.” But we can get healthier. I, personally, love cooking, and since I don’t have a 9-5, and my husband has agreed to do the laundry and clean the dishes, I am obligated to actually cook.
Here are some techniques that I find helpful:
- Keep your cabinets organized. Try to reorganize and check expiration dates once a month. Few things can keep me out of the kitchen like the fear or everything falling down on me when I open the cabinet.
- Cook what you like, just mix things up a bit! I have a friend who loves Taco Bell, and she completely owns it. If you are like that and you are truly invested in improving your health, find a variety of homemade taco recipes (mine and my husbands favorite is below), that you like and are healthy. Try to use chicken or fish as opposed to beef (or at least grass-fed beef).
- Always balance. Red meat is not necessarily bad, but when you do eat it, buy higher quality (the cost will be made up for in doctors bills and a better life down the road), and balance with greens. There is a great categorization of food called the inflammatory factor, where you just try to balance inflammatory food (ground beef) with anti-inflammatory food (dark greens)! I’ll talk more about in another post.
- Spend a bit more for precut items. Has anyone ever tried to chop up a sweet potato or a butternut squash? Those are really tough, and I end up exhausted just from that one part. Some grocery stores sell things like this prechopped, and it helps out a lot!
- I’ve said this before, but prepare your food as soon as you bring them home. Wash your fruits and vegetables, and chop them if they won’t spoil. Put chicken breasts in separate baggies and freeze some if you bought a lot, or they’re for different recipes. And keep things out on the counter for dinner that evening (unless it’s refrigerated), there’s no point in putting things up, then taking them out just a few hours later.
- Read your recipes at the beginning of the week and put reminders in your phone if butter needs to be softened or something needs to be thawed. That way, you don’t come home and discover you have a frozen chicken breast you are ready to eat right then.
- Play some music or keep a book nearby! Cooking sometimes involves downtime, but I hate leaving the kitchen with something simmering. So I keep a book nearby and a small stool in our kitchen and sit down and read while my food is cooking.
- Invest in good quality products. I’ve had a cheap knife set from Bed Bath and Beyond for years, and they’re dull and cheap, but they work. I registered for Wusthof knives for our wedding and got a set of three paring knives and I love those! I also invested in some of those gadgets that you don’t really need but make life easier if you use it enough, like an apple corer and slicer. I actually use that thing and it is worth the extra space and small investment.
- Use spices! Healthy food does not have to taste like cardboard. Many spices are even very healthy for you! Try to find recipes that use spices so that your food tastes really good and you’ll want to eat it! Curry uses a ton of spices, but it’s really healthy.
But ask yourself, why do you not eat more healthily? Are you lazy? Do you not know how? Do you think healthy food can only taste like dirt and cardboard? Healthy food is delicious and you will feel so much better eating it. Figure out why you aren’t, and fix that problem!
Grilled Fish Tacos
- 1/4 small head green cabbage, cored and shredded (2 cups)
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice
- Salt and pepper
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise
- 1-2 teaspoons minced canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
- 1 small garlic clove, minced
- 2 (6- to 8-ounce) skinless mahi-mahi fillets, 1 inch thick
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 6 (6-inch) corn tortillas
- Lime wedges
- Toss cabbage, 2 tablespoons cilantro, 1 tablespoon oil, 1 tablespoon lime juice, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and a pinch of pepper together in a bowl; set aside for serving. In a separate bowl, combine mayonnaise, chipotle, garlic, remaining 1 tablespoon cilantro, and remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons lime juice and season with salt and pepper to taste; set aside for serving.
- Pat mahi-mahi dry with paper towels and brush with remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Combine chili powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper, then rub evenly over fillets.
- For a charcoal grill: Open bottom vent completely. Light large chimney starter filled with charcoal briquettes (6 quarts). When top coals are partially covered with Ash, pour evenly over grill. Set cooking great in place, cover, and open living completely. He grill until hot, about five minutes.
- For a gas grill: Turn all burners to high, cover, and he grill until hot, about 15 minutes. Leave all burners on high.
- Clean cooking grate, then repeatedly brush great with well-oiled paper towels until grate is black and glossy, 5 to 10 times. Place fillets on the grill and cook (covered if using gas) until fish flakes apart when gently prodded with a knife and registers 140°, 10 to 14 minutes, gently flipping fillets with two spatulas halfway through cooking. Transfer fillets to a cutting board and tent loosely with aluminum foil.
- Place tortillas on grill in single layer and cook until warmed and lightly browned on both sides, about 15 seconds per side. Stack grilled tortillas in foil packet to keep warm and soft. To serve, cut each fillet into three pieces. Smear warm tortillas with mayonnaise mixture top with cabbage and fish and serve with lime wedges.
Recipe courtesy of: The Complete Cooking for Two Cookbook