Time: the [not so] secret to healthy eating.

A new study conducted by  The American Journal of Preventive Medicine (if you don't know already, they're a pretty big deal. #crediblesource) revealed that people who spend more time preparing and cooking meals are more likely to have healthier diets. Those who spent the least amount of time in the kitchen also spent the most amount of money on food away from the home and were more likely to eat out at restaurants and fast food chains. Not exactly rocket science. If you aren't cooking and preparing food at home, you'll have to get it elsewhere. But the cool part - when it came to weekly food spending (grocery shopping, eating out, etc.), those who prepared more meals at home spent, on average, $7 less for each family member per week. sooo…all that talk about healthy eating being more expensive is trash. BAM! excuse destroyed.

The study highlights the need for more nutrition education and teaching on how to prepare meals quickly and more cost effectively. I get it, you've got more important things to do than watch quinoa boil, but hey, if it keeps you healthier and saves you money, it's pretty hard to turn down. Take an hour or two out of your weekend and sit down and decide what you want to eat for the week - breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks - then make a grocery list. Hit up your family owned supermarket, or, you know, wherever you get your food shopping on, and stock up. Then, don't' just unload the groceries, but start the prepping process…wash and chop veggies, cook up some easy proteins, pre-package snacks, etc. And make BIG batches, so that you can have meals readily available for leftovers. Think of it as an investment in your week.

Fortunately for you, because I love this stuff, I've created a Kitchen Workout tutorial:

What Do I Need?

-       Use of an oven/grill

-       Pots + Pans

-       Cooking utensils

-       Groceries

-       An hour or two of free time

What should I make?

The easy answer: whatever healthy food you want to eat!

Step 1. Go grocery shopping.

Step 2. Get rid of your family members and all other distractions. Lock yourself in the kitchen for at least 60 minutes.

Step 3. Make a plan. What meals do you want for the week? How much do you need to make to last you until your next food prep?

Step 4. Get to work!

 

Suggestions:

PROTEINS:

-       Grilled chicken breasts (marinate with balsamic/Italian dressing)

-       Salmon (season with dill + lemon juice)

-       Flank steak

-       Shrimp (marinate with pesto + olive oil)

-       Ground turkey breast (season with basil, oregano + coconut aminos/low-sodium soy sauce)

-       Hardboiled eggs

-       “Undeviled eggs” – hardboiled egg whites stuffed with hummus and/or guacamole

-       Pre-portion Greek yogurt + cottage cheese into Tupperware containers

 

CARBS:

-       Brown rice (made with low-sodium vegetable/chicken broth)

-       Quinoa (made with low-sodium vegetable/chicken broth)

-       Sweet potato fries (season with olive oil + paprika)

-       Overnight oats (place oats in a sealable jar with milk, Greek yogurt, fruit, nuts and honey. Refrigerate overnight.)

 

VEGGIES:

-       - Wash + chop veggies used for breakfast scrambles + salads (e.g. onions, peppers, carrots, celery, etc.)

-       Roasted asparagus/broccoli/brussel sprouts/cabbage (season with lemon pepper + olive oil)

-       Stir fry (e.g. peppers, onions, carrots, snap peas seasoned with coconut aminos/low-sodium soy sauce)

-

Easy Recipe Ideas: 

Slow Cooker Chicken, Sweet Potato, and Butternut Squash

Ingredients:

-       4 chicken breasts (4oz each)

-       2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1” pieces

-       2 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1” pieces

-       1 cup chicken broth

-       2 garlic cloves, minced

-       1/3 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped

-       1/3 fresh basil, finely chopped

-       Salt and pepper, to taste

 

Directions (to cook):

  1. Place all ingredients into a slow cooker and place lid on top. Cook for 4 hours. Serve.

Directions (to freeze):

  1. Combine all ingredients and put into a gallon size freezer bag.
  2. Freeze.
  3. Defrost overnight in refrigerator and pour contents into slow cooker.
  4. Cook on low for 4 hours.

Servings: 4 Calories: 415 Fat: 3g Protein: 57g Carbs: 36g

 

Fall Flavors Quinoa Salad

Ingredients:

-       1 cup dry quinoa, cooked according to package instructions

-       2 TBSP honey

-       ¼ cup lemon juice

-       1 tsp Dijon mustard

-       3 TBSP olive oil

-       1 cup Granny Smith apple, diced

-       1/3 cup golden raisins

-       1/3 cup dried cranberries

-       ¼ cup red onion, diced

-       1/3 cup parsley, chopped

-       ½ cup walnuts, chopped

-       2 cup chicken breast, cooked and chopped into 1” pieces

-       Salt and pepper, to taste

 

Directions:

  1. Cook quinoa according to package instructions. Set aside to cool.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together honey, lemon juice, mustard, salt and pepper, to taste.
  3. Slowly whisk olive oil until blended.
  4. In a large bowl, toss together cooled quinoa, dressing and remaining ingredients.
  5. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Serves: 6 Calories: 487 Fat: 14g Protein: 52g Carbs: 38g

 

Apple Streusel Egg Muffins

Ingredients:

-       3 large green apples, chopped (aprox. 2 cups)

-       3 TBSP warm water

-       1 ½ TBSP butter (or coconut oil)

-       9 large eggs

-       3 TBSP coconut milk

-       1 ½ TBSP coconut flour

-       ¼ tsp baking soda

-       2 tsp ground cinnamon, divided

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a medium skillet, sauté the apples, water, 1 ½ tsp cinnamon and butter until the apples are the consistency of chunky applesauce or apple pie filling.
  3. Allow mixture to cool before combining with egg mixture.
  4. In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, coconut milk, coconut flour, ½ tsp of cinnamon, baking soda and salt until well combined.
  5. Add cooled apples, reserving ¼ cup for garnish.
  6. Spoon egg and apple mixture into parchment lined muffin tips (approximately ¼ cup each).
  7. Gently spoon about one teaspoon of the remaining apple mixture onto the top of each muffin.
  8. Bake for 40 minutes.

Serves: 12 Calories: 100 Fat: 6g Protein: 5g Carbs: 6g

 

Eat well. Live well. Be well.