Eating healthy in this fast-paced world can be difficult to manage or implement, as it can be time-consuming, stressful, and costly, especially if you are not prepared or trained for it.
And this post-covid recovery time does not help! It can be tough and, with the acceleration of our life rhythms, we sometimes lose our path.
We sometimes still have trouble getting back into the rhythm of work, commuting, school schedules, and extracurricular activities for the children, volunteer activities, or other activities for ourselves...
All this in addition to household chores: cooking, cleaning, laundry, ironing ...
Fortunately, solutions exist and you can find many here to help you find what works for you, but also to be less stressed, more efficient, and find time for what is important to us.
Your food wellness starts here:
Step 1: Lighten Your Environment
The first step takes place in your home, in your kitchen, and involves reducing the amount of food you store.
The idea is to give you more visibility into what's in your cupboards and thus make your life easier when shopping and preparing meals.
Main recommandations are :
· Take out everything in your closets (which will make a great opportunity to give that sponge job we've been putting off for the past 6 months) and lay it all out on your dining table. When I say everything, the spice cabinet is included!
· Check the expiration dates. Pasta can be kept for one to two years after the expiration date, canned food can be kept for two months, milk can be kept for two months, and jam can be kept for five years. Throw away what is no longer consumable: packaging in the taxed garbage can, food that has expired in the compost.
· Makeup three categories: foods you like and know how to cook; foods you don't like; foods you can't cook.
Keep only the first category and donate the other foods.
You can transfer all dry foods into clear jars. The ingredients will be more accessible because they are all packaged in the same way. Remember to label them well, as it is sometimes difficult to differentiate between two types of flour or rice, or even between sugar and salt (experience made!).
It's also helpful, if you have enough space, to separate sweet foods from salty foods. Depending on the type of recipe, you will find everything you need in one place.
You can repeat the steps listed above for appliances and utensils and keep only those you use regularly (at least twice a month).
Yes, the ice cream maker is still in its packaging and the once-used oil-free fryer can go to second-hand stores.
Your refrigerator and freezer should also receive your full attention. Every two months for the former, once a year for the latter is enough.
Here too, take out everything that's in it. This will also be a good opportunity to defrost them and clean up.
How to sort reasonably?
Ask yourself: what do you use regularly? And what do you use only very occasionally?
Just an example: you invited some friends three months ago to share a fondue bourguignonne. Due to lack of time (?!), you bought an assortment of six ready-made sauces (tartar, barbecue, cocktail, pepper ...). Since then, you store them in the door of your refrigerator waiting for the next fondue.
Really? Use these sauces for your sandwiches or salads that you bring to the office, otherwise throw them away. You save space and visibility. Next time, maybe it's a good idea to make several sauces from a simple homemade mayonnaise.
Do you see the path?
Step 2: Plan your week
At first glance, this tip may seem daunting, but it's the one that will save you the most time and money out of everything you'll read in this article.
Now that our kitchen is shiny and our cupboards are new, let's plan how, when and what to buy the next time we go shopping.
To do this, we need to know what we are going to eat.
Shopping from the shelves is not good for your wallet, nor your health.
Each week, you can make a calendar on paper or screen that I recommend you keep for future reference.
Depending on your lifestyle, i.e. whether you eat at home, in a restaurant, or bring your meal, write down what you would like to eat each day, focusing on the main course.
Each meal can be completed by fruit and or a dairy product according to your taste and desire of the moment.
If you lack inspiration, you can use the "one day, one meal technique" which gives you a framework and helps you determine your menus.
Here is an example from the book Zero Waste by Bea Johnson:
· Monday: pasta
· Tuesday: legumes
· Wednesday: savory pie (quiche, pizza ...)
· Thursday: soup or salad
· Friday: fish
· Saturday: rice
· Sunday: tofu/simili-carné or meat
From there, you decline the dishes according to your tastes and the season, but also the actions of the week according to the signs.
Each week, plan an all-in-one dish for lazy nights. Does it speak to you? It's a dish that will constitute a complete meal (or almost) that I will cook in large quantities and portion out for the freezer.
These are simmered, easy-to-prepare dishes that the whole family loves and can stand up to being reheated. Some of my favorite recipes are chili sin carne (the one with meat goes very well too), lentil dhal, chickpea ratatouille, lasagna with sunny vegetables, salmon risotto, soups.
And what about lunch, are you more of a canteen, restaurant or home-cooked meal?
Here again, preparing your meals will save you a lot of money at the end of the month.
You'll tell me: "I like the conviviality of going to dinner with my colleagues", "I'm fed up with the sauces that run into the bottom of my purse", "I don't have time": in short, you know what I mean!
And yet ...
· It allows you to eat what you want and how much you want
· It allows you to save a lot of money - the budget saved can reach up to CHF 250 every month
· It also allows you to avoid wasting food by using the leftovers of the day before
So, are you convinced to make a change this fall?
You are now ready to make your shopping list. It is important to buy only what is on the list, mainly to save money and to limit the consumption of food such as snacks (chips, candy ...).
First of all, check what is in your cupboards so that you do not end up with 3 kilos of rice at the end of the month.
In order not to forget (again) the shopping list on the fridge, you can use a free application for mobile. There are many of them, more or less practical. Let's mention Bring!, Listonic, and Out Of Milk.
On the way, go to your supermarket or better yet, your farm market if there is one near you. Don't forget your shopping bags and your precious shopping list!
One last tip: don't stop when you're hungry, you'll be buying unnecessary food.
Step 3: Let's get down to business!
Your cupboards and your refrigerator are full of freshly bought products and are just waiting to be cooked to offer you a moment of sharing and conviviality with your loved ones or simply a moment of pleasure for you.
As you certainly already have a day when you do your shopping, it will be useful to plan a time slot of an hour and a half each week during which you will cook everything that can be cooked in advance for the week.
How hard can it be? Take a look at how much time a day you spend on your mobile and let's see if it's that hard...I'm not judging, I'm in that situation too!
Maybe you know the principle of batch cooking? It's a cooking technique that consists of planning as much as possible from the moment you go shopping to the moment you cook. Sounds familiar? The most innovative aspect is certainly the fact that you prepare several dishes at the same time.
Let's see an example of a summer batch cooking menu.
The idea is to start with seasonal products to make up the menus for the week.
Here, we have chosen recipes based on tomatoes, zucchini, and peppers:
· Tomato, eggplant, and mozzarella pie
· Pasta with zucchini pesto
· Greek lentil salad
Note that all these recipes can be prepared in advance in whole or in part.
The idea is to limit cutting and preparation time.
So always start with the food that takes the longest to cook, in this case, the lentils. Once drained and cooled, they keep very well in the refrigerator for four days.
Next, we're going to bake the sliced eggplants in the oven with just salt and oil - 20 minutes at 180 degrees, turning halfway through.
Let's move on to cutting up all the vegetables.
Peel the onions and chop them finely
Peel and degerm the garlic cloves
Cut the tomatoes into slices
Cut the zucchini into small cubes...
Then we launch into the preparations properly speaking.
It only remains to cook the vegetables and other ingredients, to mix where it is necessary.
This is the step that will take you the most time in the week to prepare the meals. Count the first times from one hour and a half to two hours. The more you practice batch cooking, the more you will integrate the main principles and reflexes and the less time you will need to prepare everything for the week.
How proud and happy you will be when, in the evening, all you have to do is heat those wonderful homemade dishes and enjoy them!
Think about this emotional state as you begin to prepare. It will be your driving force to find motivation each week. And above all, have fun cooking!
For those of you who are planning to start batch cooking regularly and have a lot of experience, I advise you to invest in quality containers for your preparations. Glass containers are ideal because they go from the oven to the fridge and vice versa in a click. They still close perfectly even after years of use which will prevent any lunch box accidents in your purse in the morning.
In addition, it can be useful to start using these vacuum containers, they significantly extend the shelf life of my home-cooked meals. For dishes that are sometimes prepared six days in advance, there is a benefit to using them.
To know, the air vacuum also allows preserving vitamins longer.
In summary and to conclude:
=> there are many ways to eat better, to save time in the kitchen, and to take advantage of these moments of conviviality or simply of these moments for oneself at the table.
Eating better has a considerable impact on our lives on a physical, psychological, and emotional level. I have made this my profession and see the benefits daily with my patients.
The efforts described in this article may seem colossal. Use this article more as a guide and to go step by step, at your own pace.
Hoping this article will help you on your way to wellness so that you have less stress and more time and energy for yourself and your loved ones.