Pathways to Wellness

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Enjoy home-cooked meals

A convenience food is any food which is commercially prepared and is easy to serve or eat. Fast foods, take-away and home-delivery, frozen meals, and canned soups are examples of convenience foods. Given our busy schedules, these foods seem to make sense. The problem is that convenience foods are often high in salt, fat and/or sugar which, in turn, are associated with the rising rates of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and overweight. Making more home cooked meals and cutting down on convenience foods can make a real difference to our health.

But where can we find the time to cook?  Canadians spend a lot of their leisure time in front of a television or computer. Try cutting back on screen time, and using the “savings” to prepare home cooked meals. Read more about finding the time at Lack of time.

Here are some more tips adapted from the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada to help you get the most out of the time you spend in the kitchen.

  1. Prepare foods ahead of time. While you are making one meal, start preparing for tomorrow’s meals (like chopping vegetables, boiling eggs).
  2. Make double batches of your favourite recipes on the weekends and freeze them. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight, heat and serve for a healthy “convenience” food on a busy night.
  3. Once you have the oven on for one meal, throw in some other vegetables to roast for tomorrow’s meal.
  4. Cook stews, soups and casseroles in a crock pot while you are at work or school. It’s a safe way to cook food and it will be ready to eat when you get home.
  5. Have breakfast for dinner – scrambled eggs with some vegetables on the side, or an omelette, is a healthy meal any time of day.
  6. Share cooking (and cleaning up the kitchen!) with your kids and spouse – even young children can play a role in helping to prepare meals. Kids who help make a meal are more likely to eat it, even if it is healthy!  Our cookbook for children is a great resource for kids – it’s pretty good for their parents too!

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