From Couch to Kitchen – 5 Ways to Get Your Eating on the Right Track
Quick – Guess the answer (no googling allowed):
How many minutes do Americans spend a day on average preparing food?
If you guessed 60 minutes you would have been right in 1965 but today, according to Michael Pollan, author of the book, Cooked, we spend a paltry 27 minutes creating meals.
How did we get this way?
Pollan points out that cooking has become optional. As more women joined the workforce in the mid-1900s, they had less energy and time to spend in the kitchen. The food companies picked up on this cultural swing and encouraged us to pick up dinner on the way home or stuff our freezers with frozen dinners.
And boy did we take them up on it!
Today, we’ve got pre-packaged everything at our finger tips and because we don’t have the time – or we believe that myth and live it as if it was true – we shop, eat out and skip maybe the simplest way to get fit and healthy – eating home-prepared meals.
It shouldn’t be any surprise that Americans actually spend more time watching cooking shows on television than actually cooking food. No knocks on food shows, they offer lots of tasty and healthy tips, but the challenge is to actually get off the couch and, ahem, cook them!
So what’s a person who is trying to steer back on the healthy path to do? Get off the couch and get into the kitchen. It’s an adjustment of habit – as is most everything else when you’re making new healthy choices.
You can sit on the couch and whine and whimper about how difficult it is to shift your mindset but as you do you can be sure your health numbers such as blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol and weight are not moving in the right direction.
Here are five simple steps that anyone can take to get off the couch and into the kitchen:
1. Start Thinking Ahead. You wouldn’t go to the gym without checking to see if your running shoes are in your bag and you shouldn’t face the week without the slightest inkling of where your meals are going to come from.
Take a look at your family schedule and find days that will need quicker meals than others. Just because you are juggling t-ball, hockey and tennis doesn’t mean you and your little athletes can’t have a healthy meal on-the-go.
Check out these prep-friendly wrap ideas that make tasty lunch choices, too.
2. Experiment with one meal that you really love. Pancakes? Hamburgers? Macaroni & Cheese? Eggs Benedict? Choose the healthiest ingredients possible to make your meal.
- Substitute packaged pancake mixes with whole wheat flour, and try unsweetened almond milk. You could even add a pinch of cinnamon and your favorite berries. Check out some protein packed pancake recipes here.
- Give the old hamburger a change-up. Use lean grass-fed beef instead of high fat ground beef. Try bison, turkey or even elk. You can even get more creative with such recipes as these.
- Healthy Mac & Cheese CAN taste fantastic. Check out these recipes.
3. Make Sunday your food prep fun day. Admit it, you probably have an hour or so to jot down a quick recipe and hop to the grocery store to get the ingredients on Sunday. Don’t stop there. Spend a fun few minutes in the kitchen with your favorite tunes doing your food prep now.
Cut up those veges, cook your chicken, portion out some healthy fats like nuts and seeds and have everything packed in easy to grab containers. Better yet, prepare your meal – or two -- and freeze it in on-the-go portions.
4. Get your kids involved. Yes your kids can, and should, learn to prepare meals. A hundred years ago, our parents and grandparents learned how to cook as part of life. Your kids can, too.
Forget the frozen meals and microwaves.
Give them the opportunity to make a healthy peanut butter sandwich with berries on the side. Let them experiment with tastes like adding organic honey instead of sugar-filled jams and bring their creative artistry into play!
5. Invite your friends on your food journey. How about a dinner party where everyone brings a hand-prepared meal and shares the recipe? You can even feature one person as the main chef who makes the entrée for the meal with everyone in the kitchen.
Create a fun meal-pool. Best recipe wins a few dollars and the competition is on!
We know it’s not easy (but it is simple) starting a new lifestyle but with support from your workout pals, you can stay accountable and enthusiastic. Get off that couch, get into the kitchen and start eating like the person you want to be 1, 3, 5, 10 years from now.
Need a little more help? Download our FREE Warrior 20 Nutrition Checklist for an easy to use guide while you shop, cook, and prepare meals!