We’re in our first week of the New Year and it’s already time to talk about those New Year’s resolutions. I’d be disappointed if you didn’t include at least one that has to do with healthier eating or cooking more. We know it’s sometimes hard to live by our lofty goals, but we can make a difference to our health and that of our families by applying even small changes in the food choices we make. There are plenty of opportunities to put on our plates what’s right for our health – at least three meals per day, 365 days in the year, throw in a snack or two per day and you’re up to 1,500 eats per year. Just think what a difference your choices can make! Come and cook with us!
We are all creatures of habit. And often more so when it comes to food. Which is why making small changes to your every day diet is more realistic than implementing a big earth-shattering diet that has practically no chance of seeing the light of next month or week? In fact, most of us probably already work on trying to cook healthier, so take our list as inspiration on how and why we can all eat a little better in 2014:
Subscribe to a CSA box. If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, Brooklyn, Los Angeles or New Orleans, you can check www.goodeggs.com which will put you in touch with many local farmers in your area. I find that sourcing my produce straight from the land around me help ensure that I stick to eating what’s in season, sourced locally.
Plant a garden. Even if you only have a small plot, or are limited to growing your tomatoes and herbs in pots on the balcony or window sill, every bit of food you grow yourself will feel empowering.
Buy staples in bulk. If you’re like me, you’ll cook a batch of beans, or grains like brown rice, cornmeal, quinoa or oats, at least once a week. Get in the habit of buying it in bulk which will reduce the price and also avoid additional packaging.
Buy meat in bulk. Admittedly, I haven’t done this, but Jessica has. She bought a quarter of a cow straight from a farmer and, while she will pay slightly more for the lesser cuts, she will save a lot on the better quality cuts. And she knows exactly where her meat grazed.
Balance your protein consumption. Include lower priced options such as beans, farm-fresh eggs, nuts and other organic diary products. Not only does it change up the variety of what you eat, it also helps you to bring more creativity into what you cook.
Cut back on eating out. We all love to sit down for a nice meal in a restaurant, but it rarely pays off both for your health and your wealth. As the saying goes, if it is good for your wallet and your time, it’s probably not good for your body. Just think what quality ingredients you can buy and what a great meal you can whip up with a share of what it cost to eat out.
Don’t buy anything with an ingredient list greater than five items. This might sound simplistic, but chances are that the longer the list, the higher the chances that what you’re eating has been developed in a food scientist’s lab and not in someone’s kitchen.
Cook from scratch. It doesn’t have to be hard, time-consuming and overwhelming. A lot of foods that you can buy ready-made are easy and so much cheaper when you make them at home: homemade tortillas, pizzas, cookies and even trail mix or granola bars.
Stick to organic, when you can and follow the EWG’s Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen. Some fruits and vegetables are bigger offenders than others and we all want to get the most out of our money spent in the grocery store.
Eat left-overs. Or make enough for two meals and freeze one. Having a stack of bolognese sauce, stews, chunky soups or vegetables sauces in the freezer provides for a short-cut to many a meal, particularly when you don’t have much time.
Drink water. And if you like variety, have some home-made tea or coffee. It’s not hard to prepare, and it’s much better and less expensive than the store-bought soda and energy drinks that are loaded with sugar and chemicals. Yes, their marketing campaigns are quite witty, but the prices are exorbitant and none of it is better than good quality water.
The list could go on, and if you stick with us throughout the year, we’ll share with you what else we do to make healthier food choices. In addition to our blog, we have started to offer our posts along with other useful tidbits and links on our Facebook page and Twitter. Visit and Like us and you will be rewarded with daily pearls of nutritional wisdom, delivered to you straight from Come and Cook with Us. Happy 2014!
PS: Featured on the picture is my newest favorite restaurant in the Dolomites: the Friedrich August Hut. Beet dumplings, fig ravioli and much more. And that served at 7,300 feet of altitude.