How can we upgrade our eating habits for a healthier 2017? Not with superfood powders or eliminating entire food groups (unless junk counts as a food group) – but by buying more minutes in the kitchen to make meals where you control the ingredients.
More time spent prepping food at home is linked to a better-quality diet with more vegetables and fruit, according to 2014 research published in The American Journal of Preventive Medicine – but there are ways of making this time shorter.
Choose low-prep veg. Anyone who says vegetables take too long to prepare is stuck somewhere back in the Mad Men era when we still peeled carrots. Not peeling vegetables does more than save time – it helps conserve important nutrients in the skin.
And how long does it take to wash salad leaves and toss them in a bowl with snipped shallots, whole cherry tomatoes, olives and salad dressing, or add Asian greens to a stirfry? Where’s the sweat involved in tossing baby carrots or sliced cauliflower with olive oil and dukkah and letting them roast in the oven while you do something else? (Slicing cauliflower is faster than breaking it into flowerettes: strip away the outer leaves, put the cauliflower base down on the chopping board and cut into thick slices as you would a loaf of bread).
Learn to cook with plant protein. We’re slowly getting the message that it’s not just animal food that delivers protein but also plant foods like beans, lentils, tofu and nuts which have the added benefit of fibre to encourage good gut microbes – and which new Danish research suggests may be more satiating than meat. More meals based on plant protein are a win for your health, your waistline, your budget – and planet Earth.