We are all aware of the influence our diet has on our health. More than ever, we are paying close attention to the way our food is produced and the need to prioritize cooking at home. By preparing homemade meals for yourself and your family, you are more likely to include higher quality foods and support healthier eating habits. Would you like to cook at home more often? With a few basics, you can make it happen!
Great Taste That’s Good for You
A diet that focuses on a wide variety of basic nutritious foods, and which minimizes the intake of highly processed foods, is beneficial for health. Minimally processed and naturally nutritious and tasty staples such as vegetables and fruit, whole grains and protein foods are loaded with nutrients that are essential for your body to function properly. Eating dairy products like milk, yogurt and cheese for example, provides your body with up to 15 nutrients - including calcium and vitamin D, which are valuable allies for healthy bones. On the other hand, eating highly processed foods contributes little nutritional value and is less beneficial to overall health.
Think cooking at home is difficult? Think again.
The key is proper planning. Good planning makes meal preparation easier and saves you both time and money. Become a planning pro:
- Take a few minutes to work out your weekly menu by checking in with your family members or drawing inspiration from cookbooks and online recipe sources
- Make a shopping list, noting what ingredients you need for your meals and snacks
- Why not check out specials for the week and include something new - each discovery will save you money and help introduce variety into your menu
- Wash and cut your vegetables ahead of time, to save time on busier days
- Plan larger quantities as you cook so you can easily whip up meals the next day, or freeze them to avoid waste
- Take advantage of extra weekend time to prepare freezable, homemade snacks in advance (chewy bars, muffins) and to cook meals that require more preparation time (soup, spaghetti sauce, lasagna)
To prepare healthy and nutritious meals, try to have basic nutritious ingredients in the fridge, pantry and freezer so you are never caught off guard.
- Stock your refrigerator with colourful, fresh fruit and vegetables, and protein foods like meat, fish, eggs, as well as a variety of milk products like milk, yogurt and cheese.
- Keep a variety of non-perishable foods in your pantry: fruit (canned or dried); different whole-grain foods including crackers, cereal, oats, flour, pasta, rice or couscous; proteins (canned legumes, canned fish, peanut butter, etc.) and cooking ingredients like oils and condiments.
- For a quick meal that can be prepared ahead of time, make good use of your freezer by filling it with various frozen fruits and vegetables (berries, green peas, spinach); nuts and seeds; ready-to-eat whole-grain foods like homemade muffins, pita bread, bagels, etc. as well as easy-to-thaw protein foods such as cooked chicken strips, shrimps, and single servings of fish or grated cheese.