Healthy eating doesn’t have to be complicated; nutritious convenience foods, such as frozen fruit, ready-to-go salads and pre-chopped vegetables, offer simple shortcuts.
Cooking from scratch allows you to control exactly what and how much of an ingredient you include in your family meals.
Tips for Cooking @ Home:
- If sodium is a concern, choose low sodium ingredients and add only small amounts while cooking. This can drastically cut down on sodium levels in your meals.
- If a lack of veggies are a concern, amp up traditional recipes with a variety of veggies, either frozen or fresh. You can add them to your chili, spaghetti sauce, lasagna, shepherd’s pie, stir fry and/or side dishes . For meaty entrees, double up on the veggie ingredients the recipe is calling for and halve the meat.
- Keep it simple. Buy one main ingredient. Make multiple meals. I usually like to purchase ground meats in bulk and prepare it in a variety of ways. If I purchase ground beef or chicken, for example, cooking it in bulk can allow me to make spaghetti, tacos, shepherd’s pie and chili, all in one week!
- Get fresh! Fill your cart with more fresh foods, like veggies, yogurt or fish, to cook from scratch.
- Skip packaged meals. Cooking simple meals is an easy way to save money on your grocery bill. Pre-packaged frozen meals are usually packed with sodium and low in nutrients.
- Cook n’ share! Prepare big batches on weekends and swap meals with friends.
- Make cooking fun and include your kids in the kitchen to help out with portioning, stirring or dumping ingredients in the pot!
Remember cooking at home can be fun if we plan ahead and shop smartly!
Wishing you continued good luck in putting your Best Food Forward: Plan Shop Cook Enjoy!
Kristin Harris is a registered dietitian with Kids Eat Smart Foundation Newfoundland and Labrador.