cook and eat for your health - photo of Melissa

Cooking and Eating for Your Health, It’s Easier than You Think!

Dr. B and I share information through our writing about the 5 “S”s that epitomize the Power of 5  formula. Its elements identify the importance of getting MORE Sleep, Sweat (exercise) and Socialization (connections) and LESS stress and FEWER Sweets (the realm of healthy eating). 

My mantra continues to be “Food is Medicine.” What we eat and how we cook are essential to nurture our body for wellness and good health. 

I understand how making changes, especially around eating, can be challenging. It takes a desire, intention, focus, a plan, and consistency.

Taking small measured steps is the key to success. Changes can be subtle and slow to an intended end result…that is ok, as the outcome is to maintain good health or attain better health.

Here are some tips to cook and eat for your health.

Power of 5 Basic Guidelines:

  • Eat as clean as possible
    • Green vegetables (2 cups for lunch and 2 cups for dinner) 
    • Fresh fruits, especially berries (1-2 cups/day)  
    • Whole grains: whole wheat, oatmeal, bulgar wheat, quinoa … (1/4 cup per day)
    • Beans & legumes (1 cup/day)
    • Healthy fats such as olive oil, nuts, avocado … (5-8 tsp/day)
    • Lean proteins such as tofu, chicken, and fish (5-7 oz/day which is approximately the palm of your hand)
  • Eliminate additives, preservatives, added salt, extra sugar, and processed foods. 
  • Manage/reduce sugar in your diet.

Cooking Tips to Support Your Health

  • Cook at home. This way you can be guaranteed that you are using fresh ingredients, controlling serving size, and saving money!
  • Plan your meals! We plan our meals on Sunday for the week ahead. We do bulk cooking to reduce the burden during the week. Planning ahead also reduces trips to the grocery store. In the long run, we save time and money!
  • Consider the following changes when cooking:
    • Use olive oil rather than butter.
    • Saute in vegetable broth rather than oil; it reduces calories and lightens the meal.
    • Grill vs fry your proteins. No explanation necessary! Use an air fryer if available.
    • Replace refined grains with whole grains. Whole grains include wheat flour, barley, oatmeal, brown rice, and my favorite quinoa.
    • Flavor with herbs, spices, onions, garlic, and citrus to liven up your meals.

Eating Tips in and out of Your Home

  1. Take it slow and be mindful about eating.
  2. Pay attention to what you are eating and how much.
  3. Use small plates and a salad fork to reduce food intake.
  4. Choose one or two foods to eliminate for a week, then choose another, until your diet is as clean as possible.
  5. Plan your meals for the week, keeping with the Power of 5 healthy eating guidelines.
  6. Choose one night to eat a plant-based meal.
  7. Avoid going out to restaurants whenever possible. If you do go out, choose wisely and skip the bread, have a salad with light oil and vinegar, extra vegetables, and grilled protein.
  8. Understand portions vs serving size.
    PORTION SIZE = what you choose to eat at one time.
    SERVING SIZE = the recommended size per the recipe.

Takeaways to Cook & Eat for Your Health

  1. Take an honest look at your cooking and eating habits. Set realistic goals for yourself.  
  2. Remember, any change takes thought, intention, and a desire to make a change.  
  3. Go slowly. Set a cooking and an eating goal, taking one step at a time. 
  4. Have fun with the process. Engage your family, friends, and support system. 
  5. Applaud your efforts each day, you deserve it!👏👏  

Additional Power of 5 Tips

  • Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day.
  • Get regular exercise.
  • Manage stress levels.
  • Get enough sleep.

To Healthy Cooking and Eating, 

Melissa

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