We always advocate eating meals at home whenever possible, as it is so much easier to control what you eat and the portions you serve at home. In our piece on eating healthier in restaurants, we point out ways you can swing the odds somewhat in your favor for healthy eating, but sometimes you just have to ask for it and often when you’re having a night out you just don’t want to be bothered. But I know in my case when I’m away from home for a couple of weeks a few pounds always seems to be added. |
So eating at home, either with a prepared meal delivery plan or by preparing your own meals is the way to go. So here we will offer a few tips on ways to make your shopping experience quicker and healthier.
1. Vegetables. Precut fresh vegetables or frozen vegetables can save time, but may cost a little more. Forget about those that come in chemical preservatives and salt solutions that will not be nearly as healthy. Prewashed bags of salads may also cost a little more, but the time savings plus reduced waste factor and greater variety available should more than make up the cost.
2. Other fruits and vegetable ideas. Ripe produce is better to purchase, as it cooks faster and adds more flavor. How do you know if it’s ripe? Use your nose. If you can’t smell anything, you won’t taste anything.
3. Smell the fresh fish and meat. Meat should have a clean smell, not like anything foreign. Fish and shellfish should smell like the open ocean, and never a foul smell of, well “dead fish”. Also, use smaller, less fatty cuts of chops, fillets and cutlets that start out tender and cook quickly.
4. Garlic, ginger and other spices. Containers of peeled garlic cloves and chopped ginger, to name only a couple, are just as healthy and save time in preparation.
5. Buying in bulk sometimes costs more. There is usually a saving purchasing in larger quantities, but it also means you have to deal with the excesses. Buying enough for three meals means lack of variety in your diet, and that leads to boredom, which leads to eating out more. And it is not a savings in cost if you end up throwing away a portion of what you just bought. Smart shopping is about measuring the gap between cost and convenience.
6. Choose convenience items carefully. Tomato sauces, canned broths and other added ingredients can also be loaded with salt and hydrogenated fat, so read the labels carefully.
7. Think about the little things in your pantry. When you go to make that quick and healthy dinner, but you are missing that one small, but key ingredient, it’s surely the ticket for abandoning dinner at home and head for the restaurant. You normally don’t think about those things that you only by once every few months that last virtually forever, so if you’re not into making lists, put the “getting low” item in a separate place to remind you when you need to restock.
Sometimes eating meals that are healthy and efficient preparing those meals go hand-in-hand. A little planning and not being penny wise and pound foolish will provide the answers.
When you buy groceries it is a good idea to have at least some idea of what ingredients labels tell you, and from there knowing your calories you should take will help your diet. You certainly should be buying salmon, and you'll want to read Is Salmon Healthy for what may be some surprising information. Jim O'Connell is a writer and health enthusiast living in London.
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