We might have lost some Saturday morning cartoons, but one show not to miss on Saturday mornings is Recipe Rehab on CBS. Above is the promotional clip from today’s Chicken Pot Pie episode. The basic synopsis revolves around transforming an enjoyed but unhealthy family recipe (high amounts of fat, salt, using prepackaged goods, preservatives, and/or lack of fresh vegetables, etc.) The half hour show pits two chefs against each other in a friendly, yet competitive game to create an improved version of the dish utilizing the essence of the original. The new meals are prepared by the family, and rated in several categories like ease of preparation and taste. A nutritionist also provides one of the scores. Often, the chefs will re-imagine the presentation of the dish along with finding ways to impart flavor through additional ingredients, spices, and fresh vegetables. If the show is not on your station, or you can’t otherwise watch, episodes and recipes are available online. It’s difficult to not get hungry much too early in the morning, even after breakfast! I’d highly recommend checking it out as a way to think about eating healthy. Whether you are cooking for yourself or for your family, it exhibits some excellent ideas about swapping ingredients for the better and encouraging all members of the family to participate in meal making and cooking.
UW Health had recently posted an article on meal planning which got me thinking about the benefits behind our own meal planning. My wife and I had made the decision to focus more on meal planning (which subsequently led to us eating increasingly healthier) sometime less than a year ago. How noticeable has the change been?
We’ve noticed several benefits- not the least of which is some weight loss (my usually accumulated semi-substantial winter pounds have vanished this long winter). Granted, we had been eating somewhat healthier/with more vegetables for a long while before this. Occasionally, our pre-meal-planning conversations would go something like this around dinnertime, though…
Me: “What are you hungry for?”
Her: “I don’t know. You?”
Me: “I could go for anything.”
(Cue trip to selected nearby fast food restaurant.) And… scene.
Now repeat this on a somewhat-weekly basis, and we’ve added weekly fast food runs to our meal planning. The aforementioned UW Health article refers unspecifically to a survey about increased fast food consumption. While we weren’t at the 5 meals threshold they reference, the fast food adds up (but that’s not to imply that I have completely sworn off fast food, though…)
We have found that we don’t need to plan beyond the upcoming week, but planning, cooking a meal, and eating associated leftovers has helped our budget also. We are not paying extra (with calories or $) for convenience and are still saving time. Freezable foods are simple to store in our chest freezer for later, as well. Give it a try- what do you have to lose?
A pantry staples reference/recommendation to get you started: http://www.uwhealth.org/files/uwhealth/docs/pdf4/GRFW_Prepare_Pantry_flier.pdf