For the last few months, I've been doing in-home food makeovers and basic cooking instruction for people who want to eat better and rely less on processed and packaged foods. During the initial consultations, what I hear each time is a slightly different version of the same story:
They go to the store, stand in the produce section and freeze; they have great intentions but get completely overwhelmed. They have no idea what to do with all those vegetables! They have little to no food in the house and need satisfaction in the moment, so they inevitably run back to: a) the freezer section for frozen dinners, b) the expensive prepared foods or deli section or c) the grocery aisle for boxed, add-water type meals. Or maybe, they'll just have chips for dinner in front of the telly. Perhaps this rings true for you, too.
This repeated scenario is not what people want but what many people settle for. I believe that everyone wants to look good, feel good, share great food experiences and have the energy to pursue the life they desire. To do that, we all need to eat more high quality food: food that's grown and produced without chemicals, antibiotics and hormones. We also need to spend some time planning and preparing our food.
I realize these are simply facts, not solutions. So, I have two big tips to turn your barriers into breakthroughs.
Stock Your Pantry - it's a well-known fact: if you stock your pantry with high-quality basics and foods you love, you won't overspend on last minute grocery store runs. You'll eat healthier and always be able to throw together a satisfying meal.
So, how do you know what to buy? How can you discern what's delicious and healthy and what isn't? This is where Real Food Rehab really saves the day.
Spend $9.95 and purchase The Pantry Essentials Guide.
The Guide is divided into four sections: Foundation Ingredients, Baking Basics, Perishable Staples and Ethnic Staples and includes nine pages of detailed descriptions and uses for over one hundred ingredients. It includes easy recipes, kitchen tips, web resources and brand recommendations. It also includes checklists for each section that can be printed out and taken to the grocery store. And I should note, it's a guide to be experimented with over time; do not feel you have to run out and purchase all these things at once. You ease into it. It might help to start by stocking the Foundation Ingredients first, along with some of the Perishable Staples and work from there. Also, if you're in a diet rut and tired of the things you eat on a daily basis, The Guide will turn you on to new, healthy and delicious things to eat.
OK, you've stocked your pantry - you have all your bases covered -now how do you use all this stuff?
Subscribe to NoTakeOut.com for free! NoTakeOut is a life-enhancing site that I recommend to all my clients. You sign up for daily emails and each weekday they send you a complete menu, a short shopping list and a step-by-step game plan to prepare a delicious, seasonal meal in a short period of time. And if the menu of the day doesn't move you, there are many others on the site to choose from.
Click here to see an example of one of their menus and instruction - Chicken Cacciatore & Polenta with a Big Green Salad - only 15 minutes prep time and 45 minutes total time to make a beautiful meal. I also love that their instructions usually include this step: "Open the wine and pour yourself a glass." I don't know about you, but I can really get behind that.
The other thing you should know about NoTakeOut is that two working dads who are the primary cooks in their households created it. They wanted to help other busy people discover the simple pleasures of sharing a home-cooked meal.
So here's the scenario:
You're at home or at work. You get an email from NoTakeOut. You print out the shopping list and take it to the grocery store and pick up the few remaining ingredients to complete your recipe. You have a stocked pantry at home now so you can breeze through the express line. You get home, crack open that bottle of wine or beer if you desire and start cooking with an easy step-by-step game plan helping you along the way. Consider getting other members of the family to participate - make it a shared experience with your partner, your kids or your friends. Set the table and you're eating.
Whether you begin to do this every other night or once a week, you've made an improvement to your health: you've eaten a healthy, delicious meal, sat around the table with those you love and actually created more time for what's important to you. These are major breakthroughs to a better life.
To learn more about the Pantry Essentials Guide, click HERE.
To Learn More about NoTakeOut.com, click HERE.
This is excerpted from the blog Real Food Rehab.
(c) 2009 Dana Joy Altman, Real Food Rehab, Inc.