Monday, November 2, 2009

Ready for the Challenge?

Obesity is our current day epidemic....those of us who are overweight or obese outnumber (by a long shot) those of you who are normal weight. We win! (Although we lose in the long run)

Ready for change? Take a look at these 2 links.

The reality.

The solution ? The 50 Million Pound Challenge.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Back to Basics

I think this economy is making all of us reevaluate how we spend our money. Do you eat out less ? We do. And its OK because we're still having fun - dinner parties at home, pizza night, and even an evening of 'small bites' (appetizers only). But this change is making me take stock....

The Paleolithic diet was a nutritional plan that was largely based on what food was readily available to our ancestors. Today we don't even have to physically move our bodies to get food -- apart from pushing a button to lower the window in our cars and using our vocal cords to request our "Double whopper, larger fries and large soda, please". Or logging onto Peapod to order our groceries. Its way too easy.

Now, I know we are not 'hunter-gatherers' (well I'm a slight hunter at Marshall's or TJ's) but I like the idea of going back to the, nuts, whole-grains fruits and vegetables. Real food, not processed food. Eating in, not out. And I'm not opposed to meat - in fact I really enjoy meat. But I can't help wonder, if I don't chase and kill it, do I need to eat it more than a couple of times a month? So I'm thinking more of a plant-based diet.

Back to basics - its a nice concept. I'd like to prepare real food at every meal but it requires time and the trouble is, that despite my best intentions, I don't have the same amount of time as my caveman ancestors. There's work, game practices, meetings, school events, birthday parties and the list goes on and on....but here's the cliché "change is hard".

So here are some tips for preparing real foods....
1. Prepare for the week
Sit down on Saturday and look at your weeks schedule. Figure out the nights you can't prepare something from scratch and then ask yourself "What can I prepare in advance?". Figure out the days you'll only have time to prepare a salad or vegetable side dish. What will you have for lunch this week? What will the children have for lunch this week? Really take the time to plan upfront.

2. Go grocery shopping Saturday or Sunday morning
Why ? Because Sunday afternoon or evening you are the 'gatherer' in your family. You will gather and prepare the vegetables and fruit. Be prepared to chop, slice, mince, peal and bag your vegetables. Stir fry is so easy but only if you've chopped everything in advance. Chop and throw all the ingredients in a freezer bag and keep in the fridge, then all you have to do is heat the oil and stir fry! Cook up a batch of brown rice and let it cool, then put it in freezer bags and freeze it. This takes time plan to spend an hour in the kitchen.

3. Get lunches out of the way
Every evening take 15 minutes to get your lunch ready. If you are planning for the family, give yourself extra time. Fruit is easy as long as you have it in your house. So that is why planning on Saturday is so important. Fruit will keep if stored correctly. Need some creative lunches - go to this link - weight watchers always has handy healthy tips!

4. Host a cooking party for busy parents
If you have a friend who has the perfect kitchen, multiple ovens and lots of space, choose their house. Let the hostess know she doesn't have to purchase the food - she'll be psyched and only too eager to host this cooking fest. Then invited a small group of busy Mums (or Dads) to participate, brainstorm on what you'd like to cook, and then assign each friend a shopping list. Spend a Saturday afternoon cooking with friends and then freeze the food in batches! Soups, casseroles, lasagnas, meatballs, curry sauces (Thai/Indian), chicken cutlets and other bite size treats ! Real food prepared with real friends.

Lets see if this Mum can make this 'back to basics' concept work ! Tips welcome.