Cook Your Way Healthy

You CAN cook

Everyone knows one of the secrets to great nutrition means you will have to cook more.  Every week I meet with clients I hear the same thing “I want, quick and easy, healthy meal ideas.”

I get it.  As a busy mom of 3, quick and easy is nice when kids’ blood sugar is dipping, they are past the stage of whining, and hanging and pulling on my leg while I personally am beyond hungry myself.  Unfortunately quick and easy can only go so far, and it often includes boxes, cartons and containers full of ingredients our bodies were not designed to love.  As a health coach, I too, can relate to the struggle.

This week I let other things get in the way of my planning and prepping so am now finding myself dreading the cooking and cleaning I need to do NOW in the kitchen, but it’s never too late.  The consequence of not doing it is a horrendous state of stress, frustrations and meltdowns I am not willing to endure.  We need good food. I just need to get it done.  Now.

I look at my recipes and get out the ingredients I bought earlier in the week for each one.  I start with a snack the kids will want the moment they plop their school bags on the floor.  I have two favorite candles to light, strap on my apron (a cute one, gifted to me by a dear friend) and turn on Pandora radio to a station that brings me joy.  If it’s late in the day I’ll sip on a bold glass of red wine; if it’s light out I’ll steep my favorite peppermint herbal tea.  Then I get to work.

A few years ago I purged all kitchen tools and utensils I could not stand to use and screened all items for “dishwasher safe” before they found a spot in my cupboards.  I make my kitchen the heart of my home, as it was designed to be.

Carving out time to cook is the most important step you can take to eating and getting healthier.  It’s a lifestyle.  Sometimes I have to ask myself “Audrey, what do you have to let go of to make room for this right now?  What is most important just for today?”  Many times I have to let go of a perfectly cleaned house, folded laundry, an organized garage, a detailed mini van or returning an email immediately after it’s read.  I make my kids play in the backyard instead of the front or set a book down on a Sunday afternoon an hour early.  The outcome is less than perfect most of the time, but our bodies are properly fueled, we get to spend time around the table, making life just seem brighter after it all.

You too can figure out what works for you.  All busy lives are different so time in the kitchen will not look the same for each one.  Go through your kitchen, set time to plan, shop with all your meals in mind and set your stage for success.  Make it positive, be open to learning new things and invite someone along if that’s what you need.  Set an expectation that is realistic and forgive yourself when the outcome is different than the plan.

Author: Audrey Byker, Health Coach

Audrey Byker specializes in health coaching and has a background in education, whole food cooking, and supporting busy people on their healthy lifestyle journey. She received her education degree from Hope College and is a Certified Health Coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Audrey believes the human body knows what it needs to thrive and is constantly sending messages about what is missing. There are many forms of nourishment and each individual has different needs. Helping clients discover their potential in all aspects of health is Audrey’s passion. She offers free 30 minute consults to interested clients.

* Audrey Byker, Health Coach is an independent practitioner within the Grand Rapids Natural Health office.

To see a list of Audrey’s services, please click here.