Finding time to cook at home has become a challenge in today’s time-pressed society. People are spending about a half of their food budgets dining out, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. As a result, families are eating a lot more calories, saturated fats, and sodium than they probably would if they cooked at home, thereby putting their health at risk. When you cook at home you have the added benefit of knowing exactly what you are eating. Most meals prepared in restaurants include an abundance of sodium to enhance the flavor. We all need a certain amount of sodium as a necessity of life, but consuming too much can lead to high blood pressure, which in turn can lead to heart disease and stroke. Alternately, What a lot of people do not realize is that restaurant meals may also be prepared with high amounts of sugar. According to a study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association, a diet rich in sugar may increase your risk of dying of heart disease. For more information on the negative side effects of sugar in your diet, read this great article from Health Ambition, it is full of vital information that we should all know.
With this information in mind, home cooking should be a priority, but it does not have to be hard. With a little forethought, eating at home can be a cheaper and healthier alternative to restaurant dining. I recommend keeping a few simple pantry staples on hand that can provide a nutritious meal on the fly. I like to keep whole-wheat pasta, beans, frozen mixed vegetables and broccoli, boneless and skinless chicken breasts, frozen fruit, quinoa and a quinoa blend that also contains millet and buckwheat, oatmeal, low-fat cheese, and eggs. From these ingredients I can whip up a nutritious satisfying meal in 20 minutes.
Another method to solve the time issue with cooking is to precook. Sometimes I spend as much as two to three hours in the kitchen on Sunday and prepare enough healthy meals for the entire week. As a result, at the end of a long busy day, I simply reheat and am able to eat a healthy meal in no time at all. For this purpose I usually prepare 2 or 3 chicken breasts, some of my quinoa blend grains, and some spiced up black beans. These three things alone can for the basis for several different meals. I make homemade “Chipotle” bowls by just adding some avocado. I can enjoy a Chicken Caesar Salad, or my favorite chicken wrap is also an easy fix. Creativity in the kitchen is the trick and to get you started there are some pretty easy, healthy recipes within these pages.