Healthy Lifestyle Strategies -Kitchen Tactics
4 Steps to transform a healthy eating plan into a lifestyle.
Here are 4 healthy lifestyle strategies that will make meal times less stressful. The goal is that they will become seamless healthy habits to share with your family and friends:
1. Plan meals at a month’s glance. It’s not a law but a guideline. Follow it one night and maybe veer the next but at least it will be your choice rather than a ill-decision made from procrastination. Use a magnetic chalkboard or whiteboard calendar with days of the week. I hang my grocery list and coupons all in one organized place for the family to reference.
2. Grocery shop just once a week. With your plan in place, shop the sales and plan the meals around what’s on special, on sale and with coupons. Time your visits in your “opportune time-frame”
3. At home, highlight your meals with stickers or colored pends for the week based on which ingredients you purchased at the store, received from your Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), or farmer. Also note which meals you will be able to extend by using in multiple meals. Example: the roasted chicken for Monday can me made into chicken soup for Tuesday, left over chicken for a pulled chicken taco salad on Wednesday and, broth used as a liquid for risotto on Thursday.
4. Set up a kitchen and pantry system. 1) Designate specific drawers and shelves for quick reference and for food safety precautions. Vegetables and fruit on top and meat on the bottom. 2) Use your Meal Calendar for themed dinners. Hang it in a place where all family members can see it similar to a restaurant’s nightly specials. 3) Pantry inventory: Never be caught off-guard with a needed ingredient. Staple ingredients will be labeled and listed so coupons and specials can be purchased at the best price available. You will never have to run to the store for baking soda or flour again.
*Identify your “windows of opportunity”. These are times when you could get food prep done such as soak rice (it’s better when it’s pre-soaked, wash and chop vegetables). Examples of these times could be during a telephone conference, few minutes earlier in the morning or during children’s homework.
*Mise En Plase: Professional chefs and kitchens use a French terms that means “putting in place” and refers to organizing and arranging the ingredients. Set up and clean as you go. Have the compost basket in place and all food scraps in one spot and the refuse in another. Make your refuse basket small so it’s a visual reminder to keep non-recyclables and refuse waste as small as possible. Our refuse basket is small and not hidden in a cupboard so I can see what we are throwing away. The more it’s in our face, the more I want to keep our waste at a minimum. Similar to the idea of using a small everyday purse; the bigger it is, the more you carry around!