What are some appliances you use to make food preparation quick and healthy?
I use these all the time:
- Steamer basket — this can be put into almost any pot with a lid to quickly steam vegetables. My No. 1 suggestion!
- Instant Pot — to quickly pressure cook things that usually take a long time, like dried beans, lentils, and brown rice
- Blender/food processor
Bottom line: You don’t need all of these, but if you find the time and effort the most limiting parts of cooking (as I do), these appliances can be game-changing.
What healthy foods do you keep on hand to satisfy a craving for something sweet and salty?
Personally, I favor salty foods. Here’s what I snack on when I need to satisfy a craving:
- Veggies and hummus
- Multigrain chips and salsa
- Cheese and crackers (I have to pay attention to portion size on this one!)
If you favor sweet foods, here are some healthy options:
- Yogurt and berries
- Dark chocolate
- Apple or celery (or another vegetable or fruit) with almond butter or peanut butter
If someone was trying to do a “food re-haul” of their kitchen, what foods would you advise to always have on hand?
During any re-haul — whether it’s your closet or your fridge — the first step is removal. Remove anything expired and anything with unwanted or unnecessary ingredients. For example, breads or other foods with many grams of added sugars, nut butters with added sugars, and packaged or frozen foods with lots of preservatives. Make sure there’s a system to how your pantry and fridge are organized and that you can see everything in your pantry.
Here’s what I advise to have on hand: Anything that will make it easier for you to eat healthy. For instance, for those who don’t cook very often, keep frozen vegetables and fruit on hand. Frozen food retains its high nutritional value, allowing you to cook less frequently while still benefiting from healthy ingredients.
For those who are vegetarian or vegan or don’t go to the grocery store that often (like me), you may want to stock your pantry with proteins that are nutrient-rich and last a really long time, like dried beans, lentils, and chickpeas. If you’re using canned beans, just rinse them a few times with water before adding them to your dish. This gets rid of most of the preservatives.
I always suggest having one or two healthy snacks on hand that you actually enjoy. It’s difficult to make good food and drink choices if you’re famished. So, if you’re waiting on your spouse or partner to get home before cooking or waiting to go out to eat, I suggest a small snack to avoid that situation. Have a handful of almonds or a piece of fruit with a nut butter to hold you over.
What advice do you have for those trying to eat healthier in general?
We develop our relationship with food at a very young age, and it’s a huge part of our culture. This makes it hard to change! For that reason, I suggest making slow changes in a deliberate and sustainable way, rather than drastic changes that won’t last. You don’t have to overhaul everything at once. I usually work with my patients to identify what those one or two highest-impact changes will be, to make realistic goals, and guide them to long-lasting change.