Updated: Feb 19
Healthy eating, regardless of how you define it, may sound challenging or even intimidating to some, but it’s totally achievable. If this is one of your goals this year, then you’re in for a treat! Here are 5 tips on how to make healthy eating easy and accessible that are practical, attainable and sustainable. And most importantly, they will empower you to take control of your diet and health!
1. Cook in bulk
Whether you live in a big household or not, cooking in bulk can be very useful. It may sound like a lot of work, but the effort is guaranteed to pay off.
When you cook in big batches, you save time having to prep the ingredients, chop up the vegetables and cook every single day. This can be especially helpful if you’re always on-the-go or have a lot of commitments.
Cooking your meals in bulk allows you to actually relax and put your feet up at the end of the day knowing that you’ve got a nourishing meal waiting for you in the freezer. It also helps to keep your takeouts in check, saving you money (and calories) After a long and exhausting day of work, it’s easy to give in and order a takeaway without necessarily taking into account the nutritional quality of the food.
Don’t get us wrong, you can definitely find some great and nourishing takeaway options. There’s nothing wrong with getting takeaways every once in a while, but you don’t want that to become a habit. As well as the increased cost, takeaway food can come with excess sugar, fat, salt and preservatives that you don’t use when cooking at home. Instead, you want to cultivate the habit of cooking and being in control of your nutrition (and your health!)
2. Prep the ingredients beforehand
If you feel like bulk cooking at the start of each week is too big of a commitment, you could just prep the ingredients beforehand. This might mean washing your produce when you’re back from the market (or Little Hen), chopping them up into smaller pieces and storing them in airtight containers so they’re ready to go when you need them.
You could even go a step further and steam or roast some root vegetables so you can easily incorporate them into your meals during the week. Potatoes, carrots, onions and turnips are some excellent examples. Honestly, you can never have too much roasted potatoes!
3. Invest in good Tupperware
This might sound a bit irrelevant, but trust us when we say - you need good Tupperware!
Good Tupperware and airtight containers will make it easier for you to store your leftovers, stock your produce and transport meals to your workplace. This will allow you to make healthy eating easy and accessible no matter where you are!
It will ultimately also help to reduce food waste, because your food and produce will last longer and retain its freshness for up to weeks. Plus, you will likely save some money on takeaways, which is an added bonus. If this is not a win-win situation, we don’t know what is!
4. Make a weekly meal plan and grocery list
Making meal plans and grocery lists for the week is one of the best things you can do. This does not only help you save time pondering what to make for lunch or dinner but it also allows you to do it without fail because you will be equipped with all (or most) of the necessary ingredients.
Your meal plans and grocery list don’t need to be precise. In fact, it’s good to leave a bit of room for spontaneity and surprise! As long as you have the base ingredients written out, you’re good to go.
Your meal plan can be something as simple as:
MealDishIngredientsLunchSoba noodles saladSoba noodles, tofu, edamame, carrot, purple cabbage, sesameDinnerLentil bolognesePasta, lentils, pre-made sauce/passata, onion, garlic, spinach
5. Choose smartly
You don’t have to completely give up pre-made or packaged foods to have a healthy diet, you just have to choose well.
We live in a time where food choices are endless. There are at least 20 varieties of pasta and a dozen kinds of sauces to go with it. It can be overwhelming and confusing to make a choice, but it doesn’t have to be!
Our advice is - stick to the simplest option.
By simple, we mean less ingredients, real ingredients and not too many. It’s important to make sure that the products aren’t highly processed and still somewhat resemble how the ingredients would look in their natural forms. In addition to that, aim for food items that will provide a good balance of nutrients, such as carbohydrates (including sugar), protein and fat. Unless, of course, you’re going for fruits or oils. You also want to make sure the food provides a good amount of fibre and doesn’t have too much salt!
Recipes to help you get started
Here are some recipes that you can totally cook in bulk and store in the fridge/freezer for later!
Ingredients (serves 4)
2 cups rolled oats
3 tbsp chia seeds
2 cups milk of choice
½ cup nut or seed butter
4 tbsp rice malt syrup (or sweetener of choice)
To top (optional)
Mix all the ingredients together in a tupperware or mason jar and mix well.
Cover securely with a lid and set in the refrigerator overnight (at least 6 hours).
The next day(s), simply undo the lid, top with ingredients of choice and enjoy!
*Note: overnight oats tend to keep in the fridge for 3 days, so it’s perfect if you have busy mornings or are often on-the-go!
Mixed vegetable Japanese curry
Ingredients (serves 6-8)
4 teaspoons roasted sesame oil
1 large onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon ginger, chopped
1 tablespoon wholemeal flour
2-3 teaspoons garam masala
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
4 medium carrots, cubed
4 medium potatoes, cubed
1 cup peas
4 400g tins chickpeas
4 tablespoons applesauce
1 teaspoon tomato paste
4 teaspoons soy sauce
4 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
In a pot, add 2 teaspoons of oil, onion, a pinch of salt and cook until translucent.
Add the garlic and ginger. Mix together and cook for about a minute.
Move the cooked mixture to one side. Then, add another 2 teaspoons of oil and flour to the pot, Mix well.
Mix the flour-oil mixture with the cooked onion, garlic and ginger and cook for about a minute, stirring frequently to avoid the flour burning,
Add the spices and mix them in, Then, add the carrots, potatoes and chickpeas. Season with soy sauce and salt.
Add water to the mixture and stir well to make sure that the flour is not sticking to the bottom of the pot. Boil over medium heat.
Close the lid and cook for about 10 minutes. Then, lower the heat to low and add the applesauce and peas. Bring to a boil for about 5 minutes.
Adjust the taste by adding more seasonings. Serve with brown rice and sprinkle some spring onions and/or sesame seeds on top.
This recipe, along with 50 others, can be found in the nutrition e-book Plant-based Family. It is developed by two accredited nutritionists and is available on https://payhip.com/b/fQo1