How to Eat Healthy with a Busy Family

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Question: Our family is made up of my husband and myself, we both work too much, and three kids who are in middle school and elementary school. All three are very active and play both travel sports and school sports. Being on the go we have gotten into the habit of eating out too frequently and need to eat healthier. Do you have any suggestions about how to get started doing this?
Answer: Considering that eating a meal in a restaurant instead of at home will add 50% more calories, it’s an easy way to gain weight without even realizing. Besides that, eating in a restaurant is always more expensive than eating at home. The most difficult phase is getting started. Plan about three meals and stay ahead in your planning. After the first week you can usually get into a groove. On the weekends, you can get a headstart if you cook in bulk. For us, it’s usually chicken and lean beef. We’ll grill 8 to 10 chicken breasts and lean beef or salmon filets. You can use marinades or dressing if you like. Yes, they add a few more calories but it’s not a huge difference. If you were preparing for a competition that required you to be very lean with your body fat in the low single digits they would not be allowed but we’re just trying to eat healthier, getting a bit leaner in the process. Place the cooked meat in a covered dish for about 10 minutes after it comes off the grill. This helps to lock in the juices. What is not eaten can be stored in sealed containers or bags in your fridge for a couple of days. Use the extras as the base of your second or third day’s dinner.
Baked potatoes or baked sweet potatoes can be done in bulk in 20 minutes or less in a microwave. Using covered Tupperware cookware or Pyrex microwave containers pour an inch of water in the bottom of the dish. Place the potatoes in the dish cover and set on high for 12 minutes. At the end of that cooking cycle, turn the potatoes over and cook another 10 minutes. Using a fork spear a couple of potatoes to insure they are soft and cooked thoroughly. If you are only cooking a single potato, wrap it in a paper towel, wet it thoroughly and place in microwave for 3 minutes. Turn it over and cook another 3 minutes. The wet paper towel keeps the potato moist.
Cut up veggies like broccoli, asparagus, squash or salad items on the weekend as well. The broccoli cooks best in a microwave steamer or in a covered with an inch of water. A typical family sized serving when cooked 4 to 5 minutes will remain slightly crisp and bright green. Let it sit covered for an additional few minutes before serving. Fresh cut canned green beans or frozen vegetables are an easy substitute for the broccoli.
A crock pot is ideal for family meals. You can cook a roast with potatoes and low fat cream of mushroom soup to prepare the bulk of your dinner and add canned or frozen vegetables to the meal in minutes. All this feels overwhelming at first but once you get into the habit it begins to have it’s own pattern and gets a whole lot easier. Hope this is helpful.
God bless and keep training,
Daryl

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