Tips to Healthy Cooking for your Baby...
to help our budget, but it was going to be a healthier choice for our entire family.
As I have written about before, I read the book Super Baby Food, which guided me about what and how much to feed. But on this new journey I realized that if I just changed a few things about the way I cook, it would actually be healthier for the entire family, more cost effective, and I would only have to cook one time.
The biggest misconception from people is that they don't have time to cook meals, or that healthier eating is expensive. This couldn't be further from the truth! It actually takes more time and definitely more money to not cook your own meals. And this doesn't even even factor in the health aspect.
That is why I originally created my blog. It is my hope that it has not only eased your cooking time in the kitchen, but helped your budget, and helped you to start eating healthier without even realizing it.
I try to focus my recipes on helping you see that you don't always need tons of fancy ingredients to have a healthy and delicious meal.
Here is a list that I have created to help the way you look at cooking. This list should not only help your budget, but also help you to start eating healthier and cut down the time you spend in the kitchen.
- Think Spices and Herbs instead of salt, spice packets, or mixes. The latter are very high in sodium content, cost more, and usually have unhealthy ingredients like MSG.
- When you cook, cook enough for lunch tomorrow, or know how to use the leftovers the next night in a different way such as yummy Healthy Leftover Quesadillas. This makes one cooking session last for 3-4 meals.
- Buy fresh vegetables when you can, or frozen, but never canned (except for tomatoes). Frozen vegetables can be steamed or roasted, and loose no nutritional value. Sometimes they are even better then fresh because they have been cleaned and less handling. Look for frozen that say no preservatives added.
- Buy low sodium when the option is available.
- Think of fresh fruit first instead of fruit juice.
- Drink more water and less soda.
- Start using ground turkey breast or chicken breast. Switch to turkey sausage. Most people can never can tell the difference.
- Red potatoes or sweet potatoes instead of white.
- Don't think you have to put butter or oil on whatever you are cooking. With vegetables you can add a little water and herbs, meats try using spray Pam, olive oil, or canola oil.
- When you bake, substitute applesauce for oil.
- To sweeten, think cinnamon and/or honey instead of sugar.
- Buy fresh or frozen fruits with no added syrups or sweeteners. Stay away from canned.
- Try and buy hormone-free or natural items. Now there are more options then just organic. And they are usually the same price. Buy organic when you can but watch the cost.
- Think brown instead of white! Usually if it is available in white you can get wheat! By changing this one thing you now are including in your meals some nutritional value and usually the cost is the same.
- Start adding flax seed meal into different things you cook. You will never know it is there and it is packed full of nutritional substance. One little bag lasts a long time.
- Don't buy meats that are pre-cooked or have marinades on them. They are packed full of sodium, preservatives, and nitrates.
- Stay away from frozen meals or vegetables that have sauces already in them. These too are usually packed full of sodium and preservatives.
- When you have leftover veggies puree them and freeze in ice cube tray's makes a perfect one serving for your baby.
- Meal Planning - I use to hate those words! I thought, "How in the world can I plan for 2 weeks of meals?". I soon realized that usually it is the same ingredients that I would buy, but just creating different things. Some people swear by a list. If it helps then make one. Try to make your trip to the store as painless and quick as possible. Think about meals that you can make 2 meals out of. Buy enough that when you make it you can make a different meal the next day out of it without cooking again. Like salads, wraps, soups, etc... .
- Shop According to Pay Period - This takes just a little extra planning, but the pay off is big! The first couple times will be hard then you will realize for the next time what not to forget. By doing this you will save a lot of money by not going to the store again and again through the week to pick up this or that. For us it is every 2 weeks. You might find sometimes down to the last couple of days you are down to the bare minimum, but it will cause you to get creative, substitute items in recipes, and also not to be wasteful. How better to use everything you buy?! Sometimes it is hard when you see a sale not on your shopping week, but just realize there will be more sales when you do shop.
- Go to One Store - Some people go store to store for the best deals. I take a quick look online at the ads for the local stores, see who has most of what I buy on sale and go there. Also, try and plan meals around "Buy One Get One" items. But beware, sometimes you are not really getting a deal. Look at the price of one first. You will find that going store to store you usually spend more money in the long run. Not including the cost of the little time you have.
- Use Coupons - Knowing what you need, it only take a few minutes with the Internet, to print coupons before you leave. Coupons alone will not save you that much money though. Pair up your coupons with buy 1 get one free items and items on sale. Don't buy something though just because on sale or you have coupon, only buy it if you need it or will use it. Try this great sites: Coupons.com.
- Stay away from pre cut vegetables and meats. They usually cost twice as much for half the amount of product. It only takes a few minutes to cut them yourself.