Last weekend, I had a lenghty phone conversation with my Granny, talking about the new studies and advances in health. It seems that every month I read some new studies that presents contradictory information about what is best to eat for maintaining weight and a healthy diet. Granny brought up some interesting ideas, common sense tips that she did in her own kitchen when she was a young woman and I find that they still hold true today.
Don’t Eat From a Box
Eating highly processed things from a box with a long ingredient list isn’t very healthy, so make it simply from scratch with whole ingredients like veggies, eggs, and dairy, but make it basic and simple using a mini-chopper, food processor, or blender. Naturally with mom’s busy work schedule, it’s hard to always cook from scratch. But ditch the toaster pastries and make your own simple pancake batter or even crepes in minutes in a blender with whole grain flour, milk and eggs. You can even make it the night before and store it in the fridge.
Soft Drinks are Pure Sugar, Drink in Moderation
Granny drank milk and mostly water and the occasional homemade lemonade, but very rarely soda. You might not realize it, but having a few glasses of soda provides no nutrition and can add up to more than an entire meal worth of calories. Gran says that she drank soda only occasionally. It was reserved for parties because it was so sugary sweet and never a staple in the fridge.
Make the Cut
Grandma loved her read meat – she just used smaller, less expensive cuts to prepare her favorite meals like stew beef or chili for example. Using less means that you’ll save on saturated fat and still add lots of flavor to soups and stews. And you’ll also be saving cash in the process while feeding the whole family. I made this shredded spicy beef for tacos or burritos that you can enjoy year-round. I used just a little meat and pile on the raw veggies, like romaine lettuce, carrots and pickled jalapeno with a squeeze of fresh lime.
Have a garden, even a window sill – seeds are cheap, about $1 per packet and eating more freshly grown veggies in your meal is one of the healthiest things you can do. I like to grow fresh herbs in hanging baskets outside the window sill of my apartment. You can also find very inexpensive, small sprout plants from your local green house, garden shop, or even large discount stores.
Waste Not Want Not
Don’t waste fresh foods like vegetables, lean meats, eggs and dairy – they are the healthiest even though they don’t keep forever so never waste and make them part of every meal. Find ways to use up even small odds and ends. Start planning your meal, but check out what’s fresh in your crisper, dairy and meat drawer. If you have a leftover carrot, you can pop it into a food processor or mini-chopper to make a luscious ginger dressing for salad or steamed veggies.