The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Challenge of the Week: Cook Healthy Meals
Cooking is a process that takes time and preparation, from figuring out what to eat, running out and buying all the ingredients, preparing the kitchen, preheating the oven or turning on the stove, getting out all the dishes you are going to use for cooking and eating on, setting the table, etc. At least an hour is spent preparing something for dinner.
This might be less time if you are single and living alone, but adding a family into the mix certainly adds time, and if you were never the type to assign your family with chores, you already know the process is long and tedious, and yet you find yourself doing it because you don’t want them to starve, and everyone has to eat. Afterwards, dishes need to be done, everything needs to be put away, and before you know it, another hour has gone by.
Over the course of a week, if you were to eat at home and cook every night, for an entire week, you would spend about 14 hours in the kitchen. The whole process can certainly become a mundane routine. With some smart planning, the time could most likely be cut in half, as some meals take far less longer to cook, or planning ahead, such as taking time to get some things ready in the morning can reduce the time spent at dinnertime.
Most people, however, do not spend that much time in the kitchen, because they opt for the easier and less healthier route that takes a lot less time: Buying pre-packaged meals, processed foods, and going to fast food restaurants on their way home to pick up “dinner” for the family. To them, it is much easier and less time consuming to just spend the few extra bucks, which can definitely add up over the years, on fast food.
If time is the issue, there is an easy fix for that. Getting a crock pot or slow cooker and throwing in food early in the morning or before you go to sleep the night before, and using the slow cook option (6 to 10 hours) vs. the fast cook option (3 to 4 hours) will have the food ready to be eaten by the time everyone is home from school and work. The longer the cook time, the more tender the food will be.
When you wake up or get home, the house will smell amazing, far better than the artificial smells at a fast food restaurant or from heating up pre-packaged food in the microwave. Anything from meat to vegetarian meals can be thrown in a crock pot and taste amazing within a few hours. Check out some of these great ideas for foods to cook in the slow cooker from Pinterest. Meal options in the slow cooker are far healthier and take very little time to prepare. If you purchase crock pot lining sheets, than there is virtually no mess in the crock pot and cleaning becomes even easier.
While this is just a challenge, we encourage you to do your own research on the dangers and effects on the body of long-term consumption of pre-packaged, and processed foods, especially on young growing bodies, if you have children. If you are overweight or obese, the chances of your children being, or that they already are, overweight or obese are going to be exactly the same as yours. After all, what you eat is probably what your family eats. If you were thinking about a healthier lifestyle or losing weight, this might be the week you want to take the challenge and cook at home.
Cooking and eating at home gives you complete control over what ingredients go into your food. Raw food is like a blank canvas: Meat, chicken, fish, and pork all have a very bland flavor, with the exception of some fish, and will not have much taste until you add some ingredients and spices to them. By cooking your own meals, you can start a healthier lifestyle, and after a few weeks, you will begin to notice that your body will start balancing itself, you will start losing the weight you want, and you will find yourself with a lot more energy to cook.
Don’t just make this a challenge for the week, make it a lifestyle change and habit that will affect you and improve not only your health, but the health of the entire family. Break the addiction to fast food and start getting addicted to great tasting healthy food. If you are a fan of the crock pot, or just starting out, there are hundreds to thousands of different recipes you can try. It will make food fun and interesting again and hardly takes any time at all, save for the time you spend looking up the recipes, buying the few ingredients you need, and throwing everything into the pot.