Couch Technology: press a button to discover all you need to know about eating more fruits and veggies, purchasing a Nutribullet, or cutting meat out of your diet. But if you really want to improve your health for life, you need to get up off that couch and find ways to make it all work. That’s where most people hit the wall.
You’ve spent hours and cash in the grocery store buying all the right ingredients for a healthy meal or delicious smoothie and then what happens? While you’re spending your time rushing about your daily activities, the fruits and veggies are rotting in the refrigerator, so you throw them away – along with a good portion of your paycheck and your drive to eat better.
Let’s face it. Even if your bucks are banging, wasting food with so many people out here hungry makes no sense. Here are a few tips to keep you from wasting, and keep you motivated to keep your nutrition commitments.
Chop, slice and dice
Taking time to prepare the fruits and veggies you’ll need for the next few days will save time when you’re ready to use them. For your Magic Bullet, Nutribullet or other processing device chop your ingredients and refrigerate them in food storage bags. I like to chop each ingredient in bulk: carrots in one bag, celery in another, etc. But you can also bag by juice type: carrot, apple, and cucumber chunks in one bag, etc. Keeping food storage bags of pre-sliced fruits and veggies works great for salads too. So all you have to do is grab handfuls of your favorite ingredients when you’re ready for your salad.
Freeze and label
I love kale and collard greens. They are usually one of the main ingredients in my veggie-fruit smoothies. (I put veggie first because I use more veggies than fruits in my smoothies) At the market, I normally purchase at least five pounds of kale or collard greens, wash them, tear them into bite-sized pieces and bag them in freezer-safe bags. When I’m ready to use in smoothies or in my stir-fry combos, I just break off the amount that I need. (HINT: During the freezing process it’s best to remove the bag once or twice and “crumble” to make sure your greens aren’t freezing into one big block.) Pineapples, grapes, peaches, and melons also freeze beautifully in freezer bags; just be sure and follow the same hint I mentioned above. And don’t forget to label the bags.
Pre-cook and reheat
Casseroles and stir-fries nail it in the food prep category for me. Not only do they blend various food flavors, but they also encourage variety and balance in nutrients too. For a heart healthy and time-saving casserole just mix any of your favorite ingredients in one dish with your favorite sauce and pop the dish in the oven until cooked through. Before becoming a vegan, I used to enjoy layering cheese slices between a mix of vegetables and cooked rice. These days, I substitute soy cheese or a cashew-creamy sauce: see recipe for my cashew-creamy macaroni and cheese here. If you cook in large quantities like I can’t seem to help doing, then you’ll have a lunch-box ready meal or dinner left-over for a week without cooking anything new. If you get bored eating the same things, then cook two casseroles and a stir-fry dish and alternate between dishes all week long.
I’m sure that while you are sitting there on the couch, you can think up a dozen other ways to prepare your foods to keep your nutrition commitments. Don’t sleep; get it done! Your good health is your life!