Hunting and Gathering - How do we get our food?
One of the challenges that many people face is how to actually get good, whole food into their houses and prepared for eating. Many people just don’t feel they have the time to prepare nutritious food for themselves and their families. Or, they don’t really know how to prepare healthy food and tend to stick to a few basics like pasta or sandwiches. Some people want to find better, already prepared foods to bring home. Others want to find ways to bring home ingredients for simple food preparation. This blog shares some ideas from my own kitchen routine, as well as thoughts from my Client Tribe.
Sometimes you just want someone else to cook for you. But how do we do that in a healthy way? Unless you can afford a personal chef (something I fantasize about but will never have lol), our choices are to find healthy take-out food, purchase prepared foods from a grocery store or use some sort of meal delivery service. Here are some ideas for doing this:
Take out Food
1. Support your local restaurants! They need our help right now!! Peruse their menus and look for dishes that have lots of veggies and a lean protein (salmon, grilled chicken, beans, tofu). Salads (with dressing on the side) are always good, as are some soups (watch the fat and sodium content on soups though). Most restaurants these days will make adjustments on request. I often find healthy options in the “Salad” or “Sides” section of a menu.
2. Many Chinese restaurants offer steamed veggies and a protein with a sauce on the side (the sauce is where a lot of the bad fats live). Order with brown rice for more fiber
3. Chipotle offers organic chicken and tofu options. I love to get a Burrito Bowl at Chipotle, with the organic chicken, brown rice and lots of veggies. Limit the dairy and get the Guac for your good fats. Other good options for take out are Salad Works and Panera (who also has organic chicken).
Prepared Food from the Grocery Store
Our grocery stores can be a great source of prepared or pre-made foods. You can find healthy options in the prepared foods section of Wegmans, Whole Foods and others. As always, look for about half of your meal to be vegetables, whether a big salad, steamed or roasted veggies or a vegetable based meal such a hearty soup. Then you can buy a small serving of protein, which should be about ¼ of your meal. Prepared salmon or chicken breast are good, lean sources of protein. Any dish that combines beans and a whole grain will give you your complete protein. Round out the meal with a whole grain like brown rice or quinoa. The Sushi section is usually a good choice, especially if you pick the ones made with brown rice. You can also find decent choices in the freezer section of stores like Trader Joes, Wegmans and others. Look for brands that are more “organic or natural” such as Amys and avoid other brands that have a lot of sodium, unhealthy fats and added sugar. My favorites are frozen meals from Amys, and Hillary’s Veggie Burgers. Both are a staple in my freezer!
Meal Delivery Services
Here is a (very long) link to a site that lists some of the popular meal delivery services:
As far as preparing your own food at home, that probably deserves its own separate blog post but here are a few tips for simplifying home meal preparation:
1. Choose a time during that week that you can prepare food in bulk. Maybe it’s a Sunday afternoon or a weeknight, where you can devote about an hour. Roast a chicken and some salmon filets, hard boil some eggs, make a pot of quinoa or brown rice, roast and steam several kinds of veggies, prepare a big bag of greens and other veggies for salads. You might consider also making a big pot of soup or stew. I like making sure I have some favorite fruits washed and ready for eating as my sweet treat. I also mix up some plain, organic yogurt with a little honey and berries to eat as a snack. It takes a little practice to get all of this going in one session but once you practice it a bit, it feels great to whip up all of this stuff in one sitting and have it ready to go.
2. There are some things that can simplify the above process. Buying pre-cut veggies can speed things up quite a bit, as can frozen veggies. I’m a big fan of the rotisserie chicken when I have a busy week (I buy organic ones from Wegmans). Also buying pre-made roasted or cooked veggies from the grocery store can help.
3. Make food prep fun! Engage family members to help chop veggies, wash lettuce, measure out seasonings, stir soups etc. Put on some music and sing while you cook. You can do this with friends as well, although I recognize with Covid, that might not work so well.
4. My Client Tribe knows that building motivation to do things for our wellness is the key to actually achieving it. Build your motivation by meditating on how better health and wellness might help you live the life you really want, on a day to day basis. Be specific, such as “I will have more energy to enjoy my hobbies, or connect with loved ones, if I eat well and move my body”.
As always, if I can help you sort all of this out, make a plan and build your motivation, please reach out here to discuss how Health Coaching can help you. Good luck with your Hunting and Gathering!!