You can be healthier and have more time and it’s easier than you think. Just start making more of your items homemade. If you use the right tools and plan in advance, you can get the meals you’ve always wanted for yourself and your family.
Use kitchen tools to boost your output. I use our bread maker and slow-cooker weekly. These items help me by doing the work for me, so I can focus on other things. I use my bread maker every weekend to try a new bread recipe and my slow-cooker every Monday when I know I’m not going to want to make dinner.
Plan meals in advance. We are terrible at making immediate food-related decisions, so I plan our meals each week based on ingredients we have in our kitchen and make a list of options to post to our fridge. Now we have five options to choose from instead of trying to summon a dish from the great beyond. Works like a charm and focuses our energy on making the meal, instead of thinking of it.
Online recipes are great. Online recipes are a great way to get ideas and are available from anywhere. Some great sites are allrecipes.com and food.com. When I’m interested to try a new or a restaurant copy-cat recipe, I find it online and test it. All of the successful recipes get saved in my personal recipe book.
Get kids involved. Kids love to do what you’re doing, so teach them to help you make your meals and snacks. It’s a great bonding activity and it makes them more likely to try the item they’ve helped make. My 3-year-old can crack eggs correctly, is great at mixing and pouring, knows basic ingredients (like flour, oats and sugar) and is always willing to help be a taste-tester, especially for chocolate chips.
Freeze items for later. Lately I’ve been making batches of homemade bread. I cook half immediately and freeze the other half to use later. I’ve also done this with side dishes and desserts. Most freezing methods are common sense, but you can search options online if you’re unsure. When I have the time and the energy, I try to maximize both so when I’m not in the mood to make a meal, I’ve got healthy options available to me.
Spices make a big difference. You don’t need to add lots of salt and sugar to your recipes to make them good. Try spices instead. If you haven’t used spices before, I’d start with the basics. Find 2-3 spices you like and use these until you’re comfortable adding more. I like basil and oregano for Italian dishes, cayenne and chili powder for Mexican dishes, and I love black/red pepper blended on most dishes.
Learn the healthier adjustments. Did you know you can use applesauce to replace half of the oil/butter in most baking recipes? Or Greek Yogurt for Sour Cream? You should also try adding citrus instead of salt or making healthy ice cream from frozen, pureed bananas. There are many healthy recipe substitutions that can make a positive impact on the nutritional of your meal.