Making Healthy Food Convenient
Making Healthy Food Convenient; Part I
(c) by Emily Boller
I raised five children in the fast lane of soccer games, dance practices and performances, and a myriad of activities that required this mother to spend more time behind the steering wheel of a van than in a kitchen.
I got sucked into the insanity vortex of overcommitment and “soccer momming” at the expense of my health, my husband’s health, our children’s health, and our quality of life. (And guess what, today, none of my adult children even play soccer or dance professionally!)
Unfortunately, when my older children hit the preteen years, I succumbed to the drive thru lanes of fast food several nights a week. Sit down meals were replaced with passing sacks of food to hungry mouths like throwing bread crumbs to ducklings.
Had I known back then what I know today, I would have made eating healthy the top priority. However, I incorrectly assumed that it would be too expensive, too labor intensive, and too time consuming. In addition, I thought one had to be a gourmet chef in order to make great tasting, healthy foods.
I want to bust two myths:
1.) Healthy food can be convenient to make–one does not need to spend hours in the kitchen. (However, one does have to spend some time in the kitchen. It is just as much of a myth to assume that food can appear out of nowhere. If travel soccer, social media, or entertainment is preventing your family from eating healthy, it’s time to seriously evaluate priorities.)
2.) Healthy food does not need to break the budget–one can eat for $200/week or $50/week and reap the same health benefits.
Let’s start this series with no salt, no oil, bean dips and bean spreads:
Dried beans can be purchased in twenty-five and fifty pound bags for just a little more than a dollar per pound. We store our dried beans in fifty-gallon, airtight, storage containers. (Beans and storage containers can be purchased online.)
In a crock pot or an Instant pot, one can cook them while sleeping at night or working during the day. I usually cook four cups of dried beans covered in a little more than eight cups of water at a time. This amount makes a generous amount of unsalted, cooked beans to have on hand in the refrigerator. (If making hummus, use chickpeas or garbanzo beans.)
4 cups of cooked garbanzo beans, drained
1/2 cup of liquid from the beans (add more later, if desired)
2 lemons juiced without seeds
4 cloves of garlic minced
1 teaspoon of onion powder
1 teaspoon of sage
1 teaspoon of black pepper
Directions: Place all ingredients in a food processor or VitaMix and blend until smooth. Add more liquid if you prefer the consistency of a dip for veggies instead of a spread. Spread on lettuce leaves, collard leaves, or whole wheat wraps. Add thinly sliced onions and roll up. Secure each wrap with wax paper or foil. This is an excellent way to make meals on-the-go.
Quick Black Bean Dip or Spread
4 cups of cooked black beans, liquid drained
1/2 cup of liquid
1/4 cup of low sodium salsa
1 lime juiced without seeds
Directions: Place all ingredients in a food processor or VitaMix and blend until smooth. Add more liquid if you prefer the consistency of a dip instead of a spread. Spread on lettuce leaves, collard leaves, or whole wheat wraps. Roll up and enjoy!
Most grocery stores now sell these nifty, divided containers with lids. They are perfect for packing quick meals on-the-go!
chickpea (garbanzo beans) hummus dip and garbanzo bean wrap
Beans are a “resistant starch.” That means they don’t get totally broken down in the digestive system. You may consume 200 calories worth of beans, but your body may only assimilate 100 of those calories. Their soluble fiber acts like a sponge in the intestines and binds cholesterol in the digestive tract for removal. In addition, they consist of short chain fatty acids that are good for gut health . . . and they are highly satiating (they fill you up) and actually lower blood sugars after the next meal! Due to all of these benefits, Dr. Fuhrman says they are the preferred carb to eat. Try to include them in your diet every day.