Our Healthy Eating message is simple. Eat fresh! Stop eating pre-packaged, chemically processed, genetically modified food. The further away you can position your diet from “bad” food, the healthier you will feel. Again, the message is simple – Eat Fresh.
We have given you the simple message but how do we achieve it? Good question. It is unlikely that any of us can change a lifetime of eating habits in one day. These changes will take days, weeks, even years to achieve. The key is to focus on the result – A better diet. Change analysis experts often refer to this as “moving the ball forward”.
Healthy Eating Tip 1 – Quit Fast Food.
We agree there is a great appeal to fast food restaurants. They are fast, convenient, and relatively inexpensive. Regarding taste, the food is surprisingly good. However, in terms of health, the food is not so good. Analyze the nutritional information. You find many common faults in the food like high fat, high carbohydrates, and high sodium. At the same time, you find a profound lack of vitamins and healthy nutrients.
Again, we have given you a simple idea – Quit fast food. However, putting this into practice will prove to be difficult. Marketing, advertisements, bright neon signs and special promotions are all designed to draw you in the door. Moreover, don’t for a minute think this is all by mistake. These companies spend billions crafting their image, messages, marketing, and menu for one purpose – Get you in the door.
Quick Exercise: Count the number of times in any month that you or your family members eat at fast food restaurants. Remember to include breakfast in the count. The goal is zero. Our total for the entire year of 2015 was seven visits.
Healthy Eating Tip 2 – Shop the Outside of the Grocery Store.
Generally speaking, the outer aisles of grocery stores are devoted to fresher foods, while the interior aisles are dedicated to frozen food and can goods. Back to our simple message – Fresh is better. For example, pick up a can of tomatoes. Read the nutritional label. Immediately head to the vegetable section and buy fresh tomatoes. Repeat that process as many times as possible. In addition to “shopping the outside”, explore specialty markets. These markets typically dedicate the majority of their floor space to fresher food. While these markets charge more for their food, you will discover the taste is superior.
Healthy Exercise: Open your pantry. Count the number of cans of prepared food like soup, beans, and chili. Count the number of box meals like macaroni & cheese, hamburger helper, and rice mixes. Choose a few items and closely read the nutritional and ingredient labels. Think about preparing the same food using fresher ingredients. Go shopping!
Healthy Eating Tip 3 – Buy Quality Kitchen Knives.
Healthy kitchens use knives every day. Investing in a few good knives and cutting boards is essential. We are not suggesting you should buy professional chef knives. However, learn the difference between a cheap knife and a good knife. Remember, you will be using these knives multiple times every single day. Do not forget to include a knife sharpener in your kitchen. Cutting boards also fall into the “every day” category. Strive to have several boards of different sizes, thickness, and even material. Read this article on Glass versus Wood cutting boards. Replace old boards often. With cutting boards, you can afford to buy inexpensively.
Fun Note: In 2015, we found a $12 clearance knife set on a website. We ordered 1 set. After handling the knives, we quickly realized they were good knives at an incredible price. We immediately ordered 16 sets and gave them away as Christmas gifts.
|WearEver Nonstick Ceramic PTFE and PFOA Free Cookware Set, 10-Piece, Gold|
|All Natural Healthy Bamboo Cooking Utensils. (6 piece set)|
Healthy Eating Tip 4 – Clean Out Your Spice Rack.
The spice rack can be one of the least healthy cabinets in a kitchen. Discard any item that has the word “salt” in the title. The word “powder” is another suspect spice. Throw away garlic salt, onion salt, seasoned salt, garlic powder, and onion powder. Use fresh garlic and fresh onions. On the positive side, the word “pepper” is acceptable. Spices like crushed peppers, lemon pepper, and cayenne pepper are a healthier source of flavoring your meals.
We include cooking oils part of this tip. We keep a wide variety of cooking oils in our spice cabinet. Surprisingly, almost all cooking oils contain the same fat content. However, many oils are highly processed. They contain preservatives, chemicals, and dyes. Look to buy more natural oils like Olive oil, Canola oil, and Coconut oil. Avoid Corn oil and Vegetable oil.
Oil Debate: The debate around cooking oils is very contentious. Health experts, Nutritional gurus, and even your next door neighbor will all have varying opinions. However, they all seem to agree that Corn oil & Vegetable oil are the poorest choices.
Healthy Eating Tip 5 – Take Advantage of Modern Media.
There are TV channels dedicated to food and cooking. Some websites are strictly devoted to recipes. Other websites specialize in nutrition. Kindle books have hundreds of free cookbooks. The amount of free advice on cooking is staggering. However, it is far too easy to suffer from information overload. Remember to focus on the goal – Eat fresh. Watch the shows, view the recipes, read the cookbooks but always be thinking “Does this lead to a healthier diet?”
Case in Point: We regularly find recipes that use “A can of Mushroom Soup.” While it certainly is a fast, easy and simple solution, canned soups are inherently unhealthy. We might substitute the can of soup with fresh mushrooms, greek yogurt, avocado, sea salt, and ground pepper.
Here at Healthy Urban Cooking, we consciously choose to Eat Fresh. We challenge ourselves to develop a better diet. However, we find people are defensive when it comes to their food choices and diets. Making food suggestions, like “Eat Fresh”, often leads to heated debate even amongst family members. We believe your health begins with you. Look closely at your eating habits and your food choices. We only ask you “move the ball forward” by eating fresher healthier food.
Cook Well, Eat Well, Live Well