When our mind and body feels healthy, we feel happier overall.
For me - as a new mom juggling a career, blogging and managing what's left of my social life, I find that there are days when I almost forget to eat! So at the start of this month, I made a commitment to start planning out my meals and really try to cook more.
To keep me on track, I met up with Shannon Richter, the Dietician at my local Loblaws to chat about nutrition, how to save time in the kitchen without sacrificing health and the newly launched Guiding Stars program - that helps you sort through your nutritional confusion! We also have a contest to win a $50 grocery card so read on!
W: Let's talk about cooking for one or two. Hubbie and I are always throwing out food because it goes bad before we can finish it or we've simply had way too much. Seriously who can eat kale salad for 5 days in a row?!
S: I highly recommend batch cooking. Find 3 recipes using the same ingredients to avoid wastage. That way you have 3 different dishes to enjoy that week or freeze and store it away for next week. If you suddenly find you have a plentiful supply of fruit, juice it. If it's vegetables, throw it in a pot with a few bouillon cubes and make "bottom of the fridge" soup. For leftover kale, you can make kale chips or blend some in a green smoothie. Got too many beans or chickpeas on the go? Whip up some hummus!
W: What are must-have pantry staple spices?
S: Basil, garlic powder, chilli flakes, dill, oregano, turmeric, paprika, vanilla extract, ground cinnamon and of course, salt and black pepper.
W: I honestly would cook way more if I didn't have to worry about the prep work. How can I save time prepping for meals or at least make it more fun?
S: Grocery stores are the busiest on weekends so if you can, do your shopping on a weekday. Perhaps even on your lunch break and consider it a mini workout (win/win)! Always plan ahead by making a list - not only of what you need to buy but also what meals you plan to cook (both lunch and dinner) and on which day. A grocery list is so cliché but it works in helping you save time and money! And of course, the Guiding Stars are there to help you make quick nutritional choices.
Invest in a good crock pot - they will be your BFF! Throw in whatever you have leftover and voila, dinner is ready when you get home!
Meals don't have to be elaborate to be healthy and good. For a healthy but simple breakfast or mid-day snack, you can make this Strawberry Chia Pudding by soaking the seeds overnight and then taking 5 mins in the morning to make this treat!
W: You mentioned that the Guiding Stars program sorts through all the "nutritional confusion"... how does that work?
Guiding Stars is our new impartial, patented food rating system that rates food based on nutrient density. It is great if you don't have time to read every label. There is a scientific algorithm behind it but essentially it's based on a balance of minerals, dietary fibre, whole grains, and Omega-3 fatty acids, and debited for saturated fats, trans fats, added sodium and added sugar.
You can find the blue and white stars on the shelf tags. 1 star pretty much means there are better alternatives, 2 stars is average and 3 stars (the highest rating) indicates a quality nutritional product.
Most items have them. If you don't see a star, it means the food doesn't meet the nutritional criteria or it's not yet rated.
W: Thank you Shannon. This was very informative, now please excuse me while I do some grocery shopping and hunt for these 3 stars.
S: You are most welcome. For more information and healthy eating tips, check out the Guiding Stars website.
We're giving away a $50 President's Choice gift card to help you kick-start your healthy eating habits!
For your chance to win, share with us your tips on how you save time on grocery shopping, prep work and/or cooking. One winner will be selected on Tuesday, February 24 at 11pm EST. Don't forget to leave your email and/or Twitter handle so we can contact you. Good luck!
Wendy is a New Mom to a curious and rambunctious little boy. Plugged in she is the Co-Founder of HUG and the Director of Marketing at Adfluent Media - an Ad Agency that specializes in Online Marketing, Google Adwords and Affiliate Marketing. She also teaches the Business of Blogging and Content Marketing workshops at Camp Tech.