I was fortunate to grow up in a house where my mom made pretty much every meal from scratch. We had salad every night with dinner, vegetables and fruit were canned while in season, everything was fresh ingredients for our meals of the day.
Can you just imagine my mother cringing as we got older, earning our own money, and we began to buy processed foods? Think peanut butter kandy cakes and yes, Spaghetti O’s – but I digress! When I got married, everything that was in my cart at the store was quick and simple. Our evenings didn’t start until 9pm, when we would meet our friends for appetizers (mostly all fried) and drinks. We would go to bed with heavy foods in our belly’s and our bodies began to rebel. My husband and I watched our weight increase, our routine bloodwork change, we led very sedentary lives, and were unkind to our bodies overall.
To this point we equated comfort food and convenience as the norm in our lives. However, once we started to realize just how unhealthy our choices were, we started to rethink our choices. This is a process that is still evolving today! We are human just as you are and have moments where old habits creep in and forget self-care.
So where do you start? How do you begin to make small attainable changes? An easy first step is to increase the amount of meals you eat at home. Most American families eat less than 70% of their meals in the home. That leaves a large portion of what we consume to be filled with fat, salt, and sugar. People who cook at home typically eat healthier and consume less calories than those who do not cook at home. Preparing foods in your own home gives you more control over the quality of the ingredients and portion control.
I hear you!! You, like most of my clients, are saying how can I do that when I am so busy? That’s the exact reason to begin to cook at home! Most of us really don’t have time to be sick and add another layer of appointments into our day.
Try to implement a few of the following tips to make home cooking easier:
An added bonus to cooking at home is the time you are able to check in with your family – even on the fly if that’s what the day brings. What a better way to show them you love them, than providing a healthy meal made from the heart.
Let’s think outside the box (pun intended) and make healthy home cooked meals a priority! One step at a time...You got this!
Would you like help learning how to implement healthy home cooked meals into your routine? Curious about how health coaching can help you make your own healthy changes? Let’s talk! Schedule an initial complimentary consultation with me today——or pass this offer on to someone you care about!
Slow down and chew your food! I am sure you have heard or repeated those words at some point in your life. Besides not choking – which is clearly an excellent reason to chew, what’s the difference if we “inhale” our food or leisurely eat a meal?
During spring break we were fortunate enough to travel to Ecuador. The farm we stayed on had groves of plants and trees that we could just pick and eat some of the most beautiful produce I have ever seen. While I am the kind of person that eats to live, I truly lived to eat while we were away! Sorry – I digress – back to chewing!!
This beautiful plate that's in front of me was my own breakfast after traveling early one morning. It was filled with beautiful potatoes smothered in a cilantro sauce, cheese (my favorite!) and a huge corn kernel salad – yum! I was so hungry that I leaned over the plate and I didn't lift my head up until I had inhaled the whole thing. There was no polite conversation, no breathing, and short of the first few bites not much tasting either. While I do remember this meal, clearly I missed a valuable opportunity to help my digestion and cultivate the relationships of the people around me.
Have you ever sat at your table with your family and realized that a meal that took you 30 minutes or more to prepare is gone in a matter of five minutes – if that? It's kind a like Thanksgiving dinner - where you spend days and days preparing the meal and then everyone sits down and all of your labor is gone and inhaled in minutes. Quickly getting through things is part of how most of us live.
So why is chewing so important? Chewing actually begins the process of digestion. Imagine how hard your stomach has to work on food that has been chewed 3-4 times versus 20 or more. Chewing lets the other key organs in our body know it’s time to get to work and keep the body in balance. It’s an easier process for our whole system if we just slowed down a bit.
Did you know it takes around 20 minutes for our brain and stomach to communicate we are full? Overeating or portion distortion is so understandable if we are just using our forks and spoons as shovels. My breakfast in the picture is 3 times the amount of food I would normally eat at a meal. Slowing down and chewing can help you avoid excess calories you don’t need or want. Consider too, the taste and texture! Have you ever eaten a fresh June strawberry? The color is as red as can be while tasting so very sweet! Really take a moment to taste your food.
A great challenge to do with yourself or family is to see who can chew each bite the longest. I promise it will be the quietest meal your house has had – followed by many giggles!
So you ask, how do I slow down? Put your fork down between bites, be present and mindful while chewing, and engage with those that are enjoying the meal with you. Above all, be kind to yourself…your body deserves it!
Would you like help learning how to slow down and incorporate healthy eating habits for you and your family? Curious about how health coaching can help you make your own healthy changes? Let’s talk! Schedule an initial complimentary consultation with me today——or pass this offer on to someone you care about!
Welcome to Balanced Healthy Self! I'm Amy and my passion is helping individuals who want optimal health, strive for peak performance, and know that prevention is better than treating just the symptoms. Do you crave balance in all areas of your life? You're in the right place.... Amy