What are your go-to foods when you're too tired to cook, or you just don't want to? What are the staple foods in your kitchen that you regularly reach for?
You know the adage (I have it on a plaque actually!) that says "I know how to cook. I just don't". Unfortunately, if you asked my husband and he would say "Yup, that totally describes her!".
I don't like to cook. I feel like it's a necessary evil of life but what I’ve found over the years is that because of the staples I had in my kitchen, slowly but surely the pounds crept on. And not just that, my blood pressure was no longer in the safe range, and I ended up having to take blood pressure medicine.
To be honest, I felt like a total failure as a registered nurse married to a doctor, having allowed myself to get to the point where I had to take blood pressure medicine. But because I wasn’t reaching for the right kinds of foods (foods loaded with carbohydrates), and because I didn't eat enough fruits, veggies, and protein, the pounds came on, and the blood pressure stayed up.
So I finally said, "Ok, I'm gonna do something about this" and with the help of a friend, I did.
What did it take? Changing the staples in my kitchen.
To give you an idea, some of my go-to foods BEFORE were things like:
- Crackers - very processed foods, high in carbohydrates and salt
- Brownies - I never went a day without a brownie mix in my house because if I had a bad day, or if I had a good day or just a day - I wanted to have brownies!
- M&Ms - who can live without M&Ms? These were my favorite go-to food - way too easy to grab and eat repetitively!
- English muffins - now when I was extra good, I’d have English muffins instead of a bagel. However, these are still loaded with carbohydrates, and even though it's only 100 calories, it's not a highly productive food because it doesn't give you the kind of energy that the body needs.
- Last but not least, my crunchy habit was met very nicely with potato chips. Ten years ago my blood pressure was creeping up, and so I started looking for things that were lower in salt, and my new go-to became Mikesell’s No Salt Added Potato Chips- and I loved them! But the problem was that I could eat the whole bag if I wanted to!
So while these are not the only things in my kitchen, they became my staples and the things that I would eat on a regular basis. But the problem is: anything out of balance is not good for you...even ‘no salt added’ potato chips!
Along the way, I had a huge revelation that I could prepare foods that were easy, healthy AND that tasted good! So now my staples when I go to my kitchen are:
- Fresh veggies - I can do all kinds of awesome things with veggies, and I promise you I did not spend hours in the kitchen because I don't like to. But I do like a good meal and when it tastes good, and I prepared it, and I feel good about myself, it's a win-win situation!
- Laughing Cow cheese - the first time somebody told me about Laughing Cow cheese, I said "What?" and I didn't know it existed. They are these cool little cheeses that come in little triangles, are low in calories, low in fat and they provide a lovely little amount of flavor without the guilt.
- Cherry tomatoes - I always have little cherry tomatoes in the house now.
- Low sodium chicken broth - because I still remember I'm watching my sodium intake, so I’m still aware.
- Almonds - because now instead of potato chips, my “crunchy” is almonds. Do I have to manage that? Yes. I can't eat the whole bag! I have to eat a handful, but it's good.
- Cottage cheese
So If we change what is available to us at arm's reach, we're going to slowly but surely get healthier and our bodies are going to like it.
The last thing that I'd like to say is this: many, many years ago our oldest daughter was in college and she said "Mother, do you know what they call donuts?" I said "No, what do they call them?" they call them "Lard balls." And I can honestly tell you, since that moment I have an easier time leaving them alone! Now, do I occasionally still have a “lard ball”? Yes, but the moral of the story is: you can have some of those things, but just once in awhile and it should never become a staple in your kitchen!
Happy eating! Because if I can do it, I know you can do it too!
What are your kitchen staples?
Leave your comment below and let me know what is one thing you could swap out this week for something healthier?
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So there ya go–that's your lesson for today!
Roxy Madsen, Dr. Madsen & Bailey