Making Your Kitchen Healthy

Healthy Is the New Easy

No matter the size of your family, I imagine that your day-to-day routines look a lot like the ones in my home—often resembling a 3-ring circus. In fact, whenever I think I’m having the busiest day of my life, I tend to get additional curveballs thrown my way (last-minute carpools, homework help requests, time-sensitive segments, and more).

Hectic days are a reflection of all of our lives. And that’s why it’s more important than ever to make smart choices when eating at home—whether you’re trying to lose some excess weight or simply enhance your health.

Home Sweet (And Healthy) Home

Along with using recipes that allow us to indulge without expanding, I also keep some essential foods on hand at all times. This allows my family and I to quickly throw together a healthier meal and not rely on restaurant delivery (and all those extra calories—not to mention extra salt and other ingredients that you can’t control when meals aren’t prepared at home).

Keeping whole-grain pasta and jarred marinara sauce on-hand allows us to throw together a delicious dish any night of the week, even on a Monday evening when we’re all exhausted and can’t believe the week has just begun). We simply add some fresh vegetables and some lean protein—for example, broccoli to a penne with chicken. 

Speaking of vegetables, we keep a freezer full of the frozen variety to use for last-minute lunches and dinners and even snacks. Because they’re flash frozen, they can sometimes be more nutritious than the fresh variety, which can often take a week or longer to reach local markets.

Frozen veggies can be used in soups, stews, and even stir-fries. Bonus tip: Mix thawed frozen vegetables into lean ground turkey for a new take on burgers.

As mentioned above, another food staple is lean ground turkey, which easily swaps for fatty ground chuck when whipping up burgers, meat sauce, chili, meatballs, or even tacos.

You’re still getting all the hunger-squashing protein while reducing your risk for heart disease and diabetes.

Finally, my family and I go through about 2 dozen eggs per week, so we make sure to stay stocked up on eggs. There are plenty of ways you can enjoy them, and recent research suggests that you can enjoy them without worrying about them affecting your cholesterol levels. 

By Joy Bauer, MS, RDN, CDN, Health and Nutrition Expert for NBC’s Today Show and founder of Nourish SnacksJoy’s latest book is From Junk Food to Joy Food

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