Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Take the Stress Out of Daily Vegetable and Vegan Cooking

I tell you, I love to talk food, nutrition and health no matter what time of day it is and pretty much wherever I happen to be (which is often somewhere food related). Yesterday I was out walking my dog just before 7 a.m. when I ran into someone that I know, a former cooking class student. She no longer walks because of a bad knee or foot, or something, so she rides her bike. First we discussed the importance of keeping moving and how important exercise is for health. And then the subject turned to eating.

E. told me that she has fallen off the healthy eating wagon and feels as if it takes a lot of time to prep all the vegetables and cook all the brown rice and other things. I told her that when I am home and cook every week night, that we end up with enough food for a week and a half. So I don't actually cook everyday.

In fact, my goal when cooking is to make enough so that it lasts for a number of days (usually 3 or 4) with some to freeze. Right now, I am pressure cooking a pot of brown rice that will easily make 4 to 6 servings, depending upon how hungry I am and if my family wants it.

My husband grew up a "white bread" kind of guy but over the years he has changed his habits some but not completely. Given a choice and without thinking, which is how most people react with food, he will almost always choose the white product over the brown. This doesn't happen much at home because there just aren't always those white options.

But back to the cooking... Literally my timer just beeped to remind me that I was baking sweet potatoes -- 2 pounds of them. You see, I don't just make food for 1 meal since it doesn't make sense. I don't mind eating some of the same foods again in a day or two. I mostly make all the foods that I enjoy eating so whether it's sweet potatoes and brown rice, or quinoa and black beans or blanching vegetables, I almost always make more than I can eat.

And then I just pretend that someone cooked for me when I pull the food out of the refrigerator or defrost it from its hiding place in the freezer. When I shared that with E. I could see the sparkle in her eyes.

"I hope that I inspired you," I said. "Oh, you did," she told me.

And I hope that I can do the same for you. The easiest way to eat more vegetables, whole grains, beans and other whole foods is to make them easy to eat. That means cooking them in advance and enjoying them when you want them.

If you wait until you're hungry and/or tired, it's just too late.

Here's to happy cooking, and a healthy holiday season. Get started cooking now.

I have to go so I can enjoy my first servings of sweet potatoes, brown rice and greens, which I will likely have again, either for Thanksgiving or the following day.


Tracy Reifkind said...


Right now there is literally no room in my freezer because it is, and has been, full of pre cooked soups, stews, grains, roasted veggies, and proteins, all ready to be "mixed and matched" for healthy "home cooked" meals in a matter of minutes.

Even taking that into consideration, right now I've got a wild rice blend in the PC to make some turkey soup for lunch, so I can use some leftover turkey stock (made in the PC!).

Make sure that when you do have the energy and/or desire to cook and prepare foods that you make a few "doggy bags" for another meal(s).

The Veggie Queen said...

Tracy you are so right on with this. How can we get the word out to more people, that healthy eating can easily be done in less time than running to the store or fast food drive through far too often for crappy food?

I also have a packed freezer but it keeps me in line and ready to eat well at a moment's notice.

I guess that people do it when they are ready, with just a little help from their friends -- people like us.

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The Veggie Queen said...


Thanks for visiting. I hope that you'll be coming back to visit.