In today’s busy world, convenience is King, especially when it comes to food. We’re surrounded by fast food restaurants and ready-made meals that only need a couple of minutes on the microwave before they can be eaten.
But what is this ‘easy food’ doing to our health? Well, to put it simply – it’s destroying it. Fast food is one of the leading contributors to obesity. These meals are often very high in calories and laden with saturated fat, sodium, preservatives and artificial flavorings. The low cost of fast food means that cheap ingredients are used; typically these are unhealthier than their high cost alternatives. To get a better understanding about how different nutritions work for our body take a look at one of our previous blogs: New Diet? Do It The Smart Way.
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Home cooking is often thought to be more expensive and time consuming than fast food. However, that’s simply not true. By the time you have driven to a fast food restaurant, ordered your food and brought it home again you could have prepared a healthy and tasty meal yourself.
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5 foods that you should be cooking from scratch:
Porridge / Oatmeal
Porridge is one of the healthiest and most filling breakfast recipes out there. However, it’s important to remember that not ALL porridge is healthy. Those little pre-made packets where you just add water/milk and put it in the microwave are not a healthy porridge option. They’re often full of sugar, sodium and preservatives.
Making porridge from scratch takes the same amount of time as convenience-style porridge and it’s much better for you.
You can use water, different types of milk, flavorings and sweeteners to create the perfect porridge for your taste buds.
How to make oatmeal in three minutes:
Scrambled eggs are a protein-packed meal option that takes less than 5 minutes to prepare. Stick a couple of slices of whole meal bread into the toaster and you’ve got yourself a home-cooked meal in the exact same amount of time it would take you to heat up pre-packaged scrambled egg.
Cooking your own scrambled eggs is much healthier as you know exactly what has gone into it – all you need are eggs, butter and seasoning. If you fancy being adventurous you can experiment with adding other flavors such as chilli flakes, Worcestershire sauce or a small amount of grated cheese.
How to make the perfect scrambled eggs:
When you think of ‘fast food’, hamburgers are probably one of the first things to pop into your head. Most fast food burgers are incredibly unhealthy and contain high levels of calories, sodium, saturated fat and preservatives.
Making your own hamburgers is so simple it literally takes 15 minutes to make your own burger from scratch. You can mix things up by using mince with different fat percentages, or by selecting different types of mince such as lamb, pork or venison.
Check out this simple hamburger recipe:
Salads can be deceptive. Many fast food restaurants now offer salad options as they try to capitalize on ‘healthy eating’. However, in some cases ordering the salad may actually be a more calorific option than choosing a burger. High fat salad dressings, fried chicken and butter-laden rice are some options to watch out for in your fast food salads.
However, if you are trying to lose weight or live a healthier lifestyle then salads absolutely should make up part of your diet – but homemade, fresh and healthy salads as opposed to convenience store alternatives.
It’s so quick and simple to make a delicious salad. It may seem expensive at first when buying all of the ingredients, but remember that they will make up at least three meals. This actually makes homemade salad a cost-effective lunch option.
Easy to prepare salad recipes:
To make salads preparation even quicker you could try ‘meal prepping’. This is where you prepare your meals for several days at once and store them in Tupperware containers in the fridge. All you have to do in the morning on your way to work is remember to pick up the tub as you leave the house.
Smoothies are becoming a popular choice as a healthy breakfast option, yet many ready-made smoothies contain high levels of sugar and preservatives. Making your own smoothies from scratch is therefore a healthier option and you also get the benefit of freshly blended fruit which means it will still contain high levels of nutrients.
Smoothie blenders start at around $15, making them an affordable piece of technology for your kitchen.
One of the big benefits of making your own smoothies is that you have full control over what goes in them. Don’t like bananas? Leave them out. Love almond milk? Throw it in! You can increase the ‘filling power’ of smoothies by adding protein such as nuts, seeds or even protein powder.
A top tip for saving money on fruit for your smoothies is to visit the store just before it closes. You may be able to pick up some discounted items. As you are blending the fruit, it doesn’t matter if it’s a little bit ‘past it’s prime’ – it will taste exactly the same once it’s liquidized.
Here are six healthy smoothie recipes you get you started:
Take the home cooking challenge!
Still not convinced about how easy it is to cook from scratch? Why not watch some of the videos above for some inspiration and make a list of ingredients to purchase next time you are in the store. Try a whole day of home cooking – you may be pleasantly surprised at just how easy (and delicious!) it is.
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