Take your nutrition to the next level by eating out less and cooking more!

It’s a simple concept really.  When you cook your own meals,  you know exactly what you’re putting into your body.  Most likely, it won’t be full of preservatives, trans fats and chemicals we can’t even pronounce.  Do you keep high fructose corn syrup or MSG in your pantry?  I certainly don’t, but you’ll find these harmful ingredients (and many others) in most fast foods.

Restaurant food is usually very salty and highly flavored as it’s designed to be a taste sensation.   I’m a clean the plate kind of girl, so the large portions that come with restaurant eating is not a good thing for me.  I almost always have this ” puffy” feeling the next morning after a night of eating out – hello sodium!

When we cook our own foods, we’ re less likely to overeat or consume too much salt and flavoring.
We also have control over the quality and quantity of ingredients we are eating.  When we’re eating out, we give up that control.  We don’t know where the food came from, how much salt and spices were added, what kind of oil was used, or the health and cleanliness of the various people who  touched our food along the way – need I say more?  Now I’m not saying that you cannot find healthy food while eating out, it’s just harder.

The main reason people don’t cook is because they feel like they don’t have the time, it looks too complicated, or they don’t know where to start.  For your daily diet, the key is to keep your meals simple, quick and easy to prepare.  If the ingredient list in a recipe is too long and complicated,  skip it.

So let’s look at some simple ways to make cooking at home easier.

1. Cook once, eat twice
Whenever you cook, make extras.  Take chicken, go ahead and bake or grill a bunch of chicken breasts.  Have some for dinner with some vegetables and pasta.  Then for lunch the next day, dice the chicken to put on your salad or wrap.  Or use the chicken to make fajitas or chicken chili – you get the idea.  The process of getting the pan out, prepping, cooking and cleaning up can be done all on one day instead of each time you plan to make a meal at home.

2. Burn the rice
Allow yourself to experiment and make mistakes.  There is a learning curve with anything that is new but the more you practice, the easier and more enjoyable it will be.  Soon enough you will develop a system for creating meals that works for you.

3. YouTube it
YouTube is the new, convenient, trendy way to get any information.  Search how to stir fry vegetables and you will get dozens of videos popping up with cooks in aprons willing to show you how.

4. Invite people over
Inviting people over for dinner forces us to look at new, fun recipes to cook (and clean our house!).   Better yet,  make it a pot luck meal and ask everyone to bring something along with their recipe.

5. Freeze it
Cook up a double recipe of your favorite soup or chili and freeze it in single serving portions.  So on those hectic days, you can just pull out a serving and heat it up.  It’ll be quicker and cheaper  than driving to the restaurant, ordering your food and then driving home.

6. Keep it simple and visualize it
Look at your plate and  divide it up into quarters.  Fill half the plate with vegetables,  one quarter with  protein and the other quarter with a  grain or fruit –  done, simple and easy!

By cooking our own food, we ultimately create more love for ourselves, more love for life, and therefore, more health.   Oh and did I mention you’ll be saving lots of money!

So, when are you having me over