healthy-cookingFew perceived limitations to preparing healthy meals at home stand up to the microscope, so to speak. Busy professionals and harried adults have biased opinions about how difficult and time-consuming preparing nutritious home-cooked meals will be. Our society aids these flawed perceptions with convenient access to quick and easy “fast foods” that offer few health benefits.

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) calls such a society “obesogenic,” one characterized by “increased food intake, nonhealthful foods, and physical inactivity1.” While better choices and access to better information is readily available, such support is largely ignored.

The facts on obesity are disconcerting. The CDC’s latest study for 2005-2006 indicated that over 72 million people in the U.S. (more than one-third of adults) were obese. Most unsettling was the age group at highest risk, with 40% of men and 41.1% of women between 40 and 59 years of age considered obese.

The increased risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension and cancer should be enough to inspire millions to lose weight. By controlling our diets and diminishing our contributions to frightening statistics, we allow ourselves health benefits far beyond the waistlines that bring so many Americans a sense of disappointment on close inspection.

It’s time to break through barriers that make us think eating healthier is something we have neither the time, patience, or energy to manage. Healthy meals don’t have to complicated. Efficient home-cooked health plans involve simple steps for planning and preparation as well as time management.

Buying natural foods and staples in bulk, for instance, saves money and promotes good eating habits. Eating wholesome foods limits the amount of preservatives and chemicals in our diets. Good nutrition, along with regular exercise and medical check-ups, create a triangle of support that helps us live longer, fuller lives.

Family-size meat packages can be divided into single-serving portions and frozen for convenience. Frozen vegetables like baby carrots, broccoli, peas, and green beans can be combined with pasta dishes and soups. Many deli counters now serve rotisserie chickens and prepared meats that are low in fat.

Simple stir-fry dishes using seafood, rice, and olive oil are quick and easy to make. Berries and fruits make great snacks, smoothies, or additions to breakfast foods like all-grain cereals, pancakes, or oatmeal. High-quality blenders and food processors can grind whole grains into cereals or flour that can be stored for months at the proper temperature.

Afraid of cutting your fingers on kitchen knives while peeling or slicing fruits and vegetables? No problem. A wealth of pre-washed, packaged alternatives is available in produce sections of markets and health food stores that cater to busy people. Microwaves can cook raw vegetables and potatoes in a matter of minutes.

Salads are always a good choice, in combination with vegetables, herbs, cheeses, or lean protein sources like salmon, tuna, white-meat chicken, or lean strips of cooked beef. Salads offer a wide range of ingredients to choose from, and can be made into entire meals with a little creativity.

As you can see, planning and preparing home-cooked meals that satisfy your palate, save money, and keep you slim need not be such a daunting task. This month, the professionals at The Specific Chiropractic Center are offering a Healthy Cooking Class to educate patients on how easy better nutrition and better health can be.

To find the dates and times of a Healthy Cooking Class at a clinic near you, please visit http://thespecific.com/events/index.html.