Three Tools to Make Healthy Eating Easier
Remove the friction from dietary success by using tools, being prepared, and having fun.
HEALTHY EATING OR STICKING WITH A STRICT THERAPEUTIC DIET CAN BE TOUGH. Right now, forty-five per cent of people globally are trying to lose weight. But the world’s population is getting fatter every year, so we must be failing.
Removing friction from the road to success means improving your chances of achieving your goals. It’s up to you whether that’s a healthy weight or improving some other markers. As a registered nutritionist, I try to make dietary compliance simple and easy for people because complexities counter consistency. Being consistent is critical for success. Here are some tips that have worked well.
‘All of a sudden, the hassle of slicing and dicing became me time.’
Make food prepping fun by listening to audiobooks
I have tinnitus loud enough to block external sounds. On bad days, the phantom noise leaves me staring into space. One way I manage this deranged referee squatting in my ears is to listen to audiobooks. The Great Library of Alexandria looks like a newspaper stand compared to my Audible collection. [Affiliate link].
Soon after I developed this diversionary habit, a surprising benefit revealed itself. I started looking for jobs to do around the flat, mainly in the kitchen. All of a sudden, the hassle of slicing and dicing became Me-time. Listening to books, from adventure novels to heavy subjects and everything in between, means I spend hours happily beavering away in the kitchen. Even washing up becomes fun. So, what should you prepare to make life easier?
Chopping onions and garlic, and storing them in Tupperware in the freezer is an excellent way to add quick flavours and nutrients to the simplest of dishes. Lightly frying something meaty, then cooking the two foundational vegetables whilst it rests on the side, can be a game-changer. A splash of white-white wine to deglaze the pan creates a sauce in less time that it takes to write this sentence.
I started fermenting things because I enjoy prep time. As I type this, there are six jars fizzy away in my cellar. Friendly bacteria are predigesting cabbage into a probiotic more powerful than anything you can buy in a capsule. Standing to attention, opened jars of sauerkraut and kimchi flank kefir and homemade yoghurt in my fridge. All these things are easy peasy to make at home but expensive to buy in the shops. A spoonful here and there makes meals tasty and nutrient dense.
Get Some Gadgets
I’m a rare case, using my kitchen gadgets often. My air fryer—a powerful mini convection oven after a marketing makeover—is the perfect tool for roasting things with minimal fuss. It’s not pretty. The thing looks a little like Darth Vader became trapped trying to climb through a hole in my worktop, but I use this thing multiple times daily so don’t begrudge the space it takes up or the seventies styling.
I love roasting and recommend it as a healthy way to cook. Using an air fryer rather than a conventional oven means you save on utilities because it’s a fraction of the size and doesn’t need pre-warming. It’s also easier to clean and simpler to use than its bigger brother.
The machine heats up in seconds and can roast a frozen burger patty in twelve to fifteen minutes. Add some frozen veg at the same time and you have a complete meal ready for your mush before you’ve caught up on Instagram. That kind of combination straight from the freezer is an easy way to cook healthy meals quickly and works brilliantly as an emergency backup plan. I always have frozen veg and herbs in the freezer. Fresh stuff works too.
Put a turkey leg and half a butternut squash into the draw, season, drizzle with some olive oil, then programme between forty-five minutes to an hour* (depending on size). Ping, supper!
I have a five-litre Cosori air fryer which means a normal size chicken will nestle in there like it’s trying to start a family. One hour at 180°C (~350°F) should take care of it, although it may need a fifteen minute top up. [Affiliate link].
You can cook fresh or frozen veg alongside almost any cut of meat in an air fryer, except those tougher bits. For those, a slow cooker or pressure cooker is ideal.
Make the healthiest fast food with a slow cooker combo
I have a gadget called an Instant Pot. It does about a hundred different things but I use it mainly as a slow cooker, pressure cooker, yoghurt maker, and rice cooker.
Slow cooking truly is the healthiest fast food. Buying at the local butcher or farm shop, I come home loaded down with the bits no one else wants. Quality food without the price tag. I plonk about a kilo of meat, or a whole bird, into the pot. Add a choice of vegetables, herbs, spices, and seasoning, then hit play. From about five hours onwards, you and your family can dip into this anytime they like until it’s finished. But five hours!
Those hours are going by regardless; you may as well be cooking. Bear in mind, you could be asleep or at work whilst this machine simmers away to mingle flavours and textures into a piping hot dish that’s ready the very second you awaken, come home, or finish work. It doesn’t get more hands off than slow cooking.
If you get caught out but fancy a stew, you can pressure cook the same ingredients and have it done in an hour, maybe less. I recommend an Instant Pot which is a slow cooker, rice cooker, pressure cooker and more. [Affiliate link]
Cook at home
So many people today resent the time it takes to create healthy meals at home. This is a shame because it derails our dietary efforts pushing us towards convenience foods which, if we’re honest, are so often junk. The simple act of preparing food and cooking from scratch can be enough to propel a diet from unhealthy to healthy and a person from flabby to fit.
Cooking healthy food doesn’t need to be complex; just look at my examples. From a nutritious standpoint, simple blends of animal, plants and fats for flavour will kick most people’s diets into touch.
Spending time in the kitchen is necessary to some extent. Listening to something that you find engaging can make that time doubly worthwhile and fun.
Getting a few tools to take the friction out of cooking is a worthwhile investment, especially if they help you create home-cooked meals for your loved ones.