Trying to keep everything straight and managing a home can be overwhelming at times. Unless you happen to be the lovely, Joanna Gaines! Just kidding. We’ve all been there! You know, those days that you are so exhausted that preparing one more meal is the last thing on your mind? Well, here are some simple ways that I have found that helps to lighten the load, while you strive to help keep your sanity and your family well nourished at the same time. (smile)
Tip #1: INVEST IN THE RIGHT TOOLS
You don’t have to have all the latest and greatest kitchen gadgets or the perfect magazine-worthy farmhouse kitchen to create healthy and delicious meals for your family’s needs. Basic tools and appliances work just fine. Along with my basic cooking utensils and cookware, slow cookers are this mama’s best friend, especially on the weekends. With so many models to choose from, the possibilities are endless. Plus they have models that will fit any budget. It’s a helpful tool that allows you to multi-task on those super busy days. You can’t beat, adding your ingredients, putting the lid on and letting the crock pot do the rest. No stirring or close monitoring necessary! That’s a win-win in my book.
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Tip #2: INVEST IN QUALITY INGREDIENTS
We all know that organic and natural foods can get expensive. Which we may want to ask ourselves, “Why is healthier food more expensive, while junk “food” is so cheap?” Just food for thought.
Our family saves a lot by buying the store brand organic products & by referencing the Dirty Dozen & Clean 15 list for picking our produce. We save even more during the summer months when we have our own garden and orchard to shop from.
Shop locally if possible & get to know your farmer and his growing and harvesting practices. Just because he doesn’t have the fancy organic labeling, doesn’t mean he uses chemicals or pesticides. Conversely, just because something claims to be “organic,” doesn’t always mean that it’s as pure as they lead us to believe. Some organic farmers still use herbicides and pesticides. So again, knowing where your food is grown and how it’s grown is a wise practice. Read your labels and get to know the ingredients you want to stay clear of. If there is any doubt, I just put it back on the shelf. I’ll be sharing more on that in a future post.
When you intentionally add nutrient-dense and nourishing whole foods to your daily diet, you feel and taste the difference and it is worth the investment in the long run. Think of it this way. Aging for everyone is inevitable and we will not be little people for long, but when we choose to feed our bodies with things that cause damage which then causes the aging process to speed up, we need to push the pause button and rethink how we do business. When you see healthy and vibrant older people, you will see that they probably have certain things in common and more often than not, it begins with what they fuel their bodies with. When you choose a healthier lifestyle, you are giving your body the right tools so that it can perform in its’ optimal state, no matter what age you are. Not to mention that when you are healthier, you save money on hospital and doctor visits.
Tip #3: SAVE TIME WITH FOOD PREPARATION
Living out in the country, we have a 45 min to an hour drive to the closest grocery store that offers a better selection of organic food. So prior to a grocery run, I like to clean the refrigerator and do a quick rearranging or mini organizing of our pantry shelves and freezers. They typically are bare and so it is easy to take a swipe of the surfaces before restocking again. Since I’m already in those areas, I make sure to do an inventory and finish up any last minute grocery list items that I may have missed during the week. This not only prevents excess waste, but also saves time and money because you are not buying items that you don’t need.
Once home, I have the littles help with restocking the pantry and toiletries while I get to work washing, peeling, & chopping some of our veggies & placing them on the counter for easy healthy snacking or in the fridge and freezer for making a fast, but healthy dinner on those busy days.
In my Integrative Nutrition course, we are assigned challenges each week within the new module lesson and taking a picture of our refrigerator was one of them. This exercise helps to give you a picture into what you choose to feed you and your family. I would love for you to take the Fridge Challenge and then ask yourself which areas you need to work on and which areas you feel like you did well on. Then add one new healthy item and see how you feel. Simple right? Choosing to live a healthier lifestyle (in my humble opinion) doesn’t happen over night and it certainly doesn’t happen by counting calories, starving yourself, or completely restricting full categories of food from your diet. You would be surprised at what just small initial changes towards healthier habits can do.
I also like to bake large amounts of chicken for cubing & slow cook chicken for shredding. Then place both in the freezer for easy burritos, soups, or homemade pot pies. Preparing our grass-fed beef meatballs & freezing on a cookie sheet, then placing the balls in a freezer bag is super easy to serve w/ an easy side, w/ veggie spaghetti or easy stroganoff.
SIDE NOTE: We purchase our grass-fed beef (a whole cow) locally in bulk. That has helped cut our grocery bill down. You can ask around and see if you have local friends that might want to half the price of some local grass-fed beef with you.
My family’s healthy lifestyle choices have been a natural progression over the years and it is a continual learning and growing process worth doing. An overwhelming amount of stress, years of sleep deprivation, excessive toxins (from internal and external environment), poor gut health & imbalanced blood sugar levels all worked against my body from absorbing the good healthy nutrients I was eating & left me deficient, in more ways than one. That’s why I am so thankful for natural ways to get back on track & start LIVING again!