Healthy Eating is meant to be straightforward and a common sense approach to eating. Right? However when you look on Pinterest, blog sites and the internet you are suddenly confronted with complicated recipes using all kinds of specialist expensive ingredients and equipment – agave, coconut oil, himalyan sea salt, seaweed, the latest berries, spiralizers etc. Now I quite like a bit of faffing around in the kitchen and I’m all for experimenting with new foods…. but this isn’t something you can do everyday and I wonder how many people think this is how you have to cook to eat a healthily?
Recently at a lecture I was reminded by the speaker how in the war, rationing meant that people had no choice but to eat less fat and sugar, grow their own vegetables, could afford less meat and had to make the most of the food they had. When rationing stopped there was a sudden binge on foods like sugar and butter, biscuits and cake!
When I went to University I started out with minimal equipment, a small budget and I pretty much cooked all my own meals from scratch as it was the cheapest way to do things. Lots of vegetable and bean stir frys, pasta dishes, jacket potatoes and anything I could cook with a pack of minced beef! Chopped tomatoes, tins of pulses and beans and the local green grocer were my friend. It was a simple and enjoyable way of cooking with no real pressure, especially as I was mainly cooking for just myself.
Now I have to cater for a growing family. Fancy meals really do not work. We have our basic staple meals that work every time. Pasta with roasted veggies. Lentil bolognaise. Risotto done in many ways. Salmon Parcels.
So what do you need in order to eat a healthy, balanced diet?
1. Fancy equipment is often nice to have but not needed! A good knife, peeler, spoons to stir with, a grater and a tin opener is enough to start with.
2. A store cupboad with the basics in: chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, baked beans, tinned pulses, dried mixed herbs, tuna, pasta, rice, curry powder, olive oil are all things I have in mine right now.
3. A menu plan. Look for some simple recipes on sites like BBC Good Food and the supermarkets websites. Get hold of a cookery book that doesn’t have hundreds of ingredients per recipe and the meals can be cooked in 30 minutes. Make up a folder or use pinterest to save the ideas you like and use to build your weekly plan and shopping list. Think about foods you really like and the time you have on each night.
4. There is no need to be fancy on a daily basis! Save that for a weekend 😉
5. Cooking from scratch may seem like hard work at first but it really is worth it. Base your meals around your vegetables, add some meat and some carbohydrates on the side. Job done.
In the words of the great saying.
Keep It Simple, Stupid.