Mindful Cooking Equals Healthy Meals

BlogHer Original Post

Eating well takes planning, and by eating well, I mean eating foods that fuel your body.  There are plenty of blog posts out there telling you how to be a foodie; creating gorgeous meals that taste amazing too.  But buried under all of those pretty pictures and cool culinary tricks is an important question: is it healthy?

I'm not talking about low-calorie or low-fat.  I'm not talking about homemade over processed.  I'm talking simply about the concept of mindful eating; of being intentional in the balance of foods being placed in the body.  Is there enough protein, a balance of vitamins, a variety of nutrients?  Some people may want to alter their diet in order to test how they feel without certain foods in their body, such as trying a vegan diet or gluten-free meals. 

Because while many find eating a pleasurable activity and cooking a stage on which to test their creativity, we can't forget the main point of food: to provide fuel for the body.  Things that taste good may not actually help us to live the best life or be at the optimum of health.  This doesn't mean that we shouldn't make room for the occasional treat, but the bulk of our cooking should be mindfully balancing everything our body needs to run well.

So... uh... how do you do that?


Image: Eunice via Flickr

The Mom Diggity has a great post about being intentional in the kitchen that can serve as a starting point to rethinking how you shop, cook, and eat.  She admits that she sometimes loses track of time and they end up with peanut butter and jam for dinner.  But she also has plenty of tricks on how to eat well by planning ahead.

Because eating well doesn't happen by accident.  It takes meal planning so you can see the scope of your week.  It takes budgeting so you make sure that you're using your money smartly on healthful products (since the unhealthy ones tend to be cheaper).  And it takes setting aside time or cooking in bulk so you have meals ready to go when you need them.

The Mom Diggity recommends getting a calendar or blackboard in the kitchen so you can write out the meals for the week and make sure you're keeping balanced.  She also brilliantly gives the reminder to pick a few meals that contain a lot of ingredients you can keep in stock so you have the items on hand at a moment's notice.  Our go-to healthful meals are Cook's Illustrated's pasta with cannellini beans and potatoes or Mary McCartney's English pea soup.

So now it's your turn: let's crowdsource your best tips for cooking healthful meals.  How do you make sure your meals not only taste great but provide a wide range of vitamins and nutrients?

Melissa writes Stirrup Queens and Lost and Found. Her novel about blogging is Life from Scratch.

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