I understand you’re tired and anxious, but ice cream and tater tots aren’t going to help. I’ve learned that when you eat poorly, you feel worse. So, you eat poorly again! After half a carton of ice cream, you might as well at the whole thing, right?
Cleaning up your diet may help you feel better physically and emotionally. Healthy foods don’t have to be boring.. And comfort foods don’t have to be junk. Here are my three go-to food categories when I’m stressed.
- Food with fins. There’s been a spike in seafood consumption. But I still hear from people who are afraid to serve fish at home because they don’t know how to prepare it. Really, it’s easy. Just saute it at high heat until it changes color and flakes easily. Total cooking time would be about 8-9 minutes for thick fillets, and 6-7 minutes for thinner filets.
- Use the right oil. Some oils become carcinogenic at high heat. Malaysian palm oil is ideal for fish because it has a neutral, buttery flavor. Plus it’s heart-healthy, nutritious and certified sustainable.
- Choose sustainable fish. Get into the habit of making responsible choices that help protect our food supplies and our planet. The American seafood industry generally has better sustainability practices than those of other countries.
- Food from the soil. We’re still seeing empty supermarket shelves on some aisles but there’s no shortage of fruits and vegetables. Because they are rich in fiber, you’ll feel fuller so you’re less likely to want to snack. Consider serving plant-based proteins a few times each week instead of animal proteins. You may know that beans and legumes have a lot of protein. But I’ll bet you didn’t know that there’s also protein in whole grains, broccoli and sweet potatoes.
- Always eat a variety of foods. Consider what you ate yesterday, and try not to eat it again today.
- Food that’s fun. Teach your kids how to choose and prepare foods on their own that will keep them occupied and sharpen their minds. Plus, helping with meal prep may help them from going stir crazy!
- Encourage them to sample new things. Have your kids research traditional foods and meals in different parts of the world. Then ask them to share what they’ve learned around the dinner table. It’s a wonderful way to take your family on a culinary adventure while you’re all stuck at home. For instance, my kids know that I only cook with palm oil produced in Malaysia because it is certified sustainable; it’s made without harming wildlife or rain forests.
- Have enough measuring spoons and measuring cups so that each child can use their own. That speeds up meal prep time. Kitchen shears are safer for kids to use than knives.
Feed your family junk food and your health will pay the price. But you don’t have to be a slave to your stove. Do what I’ve done and try eating just fresh foods for a couple weeks. Pay attention to how eating different foods makes you feel … not just in the moment but also the next day. Once I cleaned up my diet and realized how great I felt, and how much clearer my thinking was, it became easier to kick my favorite junk foods to the curb, permanently!