I love Anderson Cooper. Let’s be serious, when it comes to silver foxes, he’s the leader of the pack. LOVE. HIM.
Today he posted a story on his blog and twitter feed about the link between healthy children and families who cook.
This is what I’m talking about, people. While the story is about children in particular, the message can easily apply to us all. As a society, about half of our monthly food budgets are spent eating out. The second we acquiesce control over what goes into our mouths by eating processed or prepared foods is the moment at which the problems can start. Trans-fats, hidden calories and high-fructose corn syrup are not ingredients that we use in home-prepared foods, but they often appear in commercial food products.
I certainly do not wish to demonize restaurant eating or disparage the choices that others make. It’s just time to really think more carefully about how to modify our approach to meals and reconcile our health and fitness needs with our ever-demanding lifestyles. Living in New York City, it is all too easy to rely upon the myriad of options to eat anything and everything that is available all the time. But doing this leads to a life of muffin tops, back fat and underwear that gradually starts to cut off your circulation–this is the side of New York we don’t see on Gossip Girl.
So what can one do when burdened by choice and constrained by too few hours in the day? Here are some ideas:
Restaurant Rules: My fiance and I try to stick to a one-night out policy for dinner and I do the same for lunches at work. That makes dining out more of an experience, a social event even, as opposed to the status quo. It also cuts down on our food expenses and I think we enjoy it more because it’s special.
Cook in quantity: Make large batches of things that keep well and have it for dinner, then individually package it for the fridge/freezer. You already have the mess of cooking, so why not just double the batch? By cooking in larger quantities when you can, you will probably make better use of ingredients and fewer leftovers will go to waste. I like to make a big pot of soup on Sunday evenings. It’s easy to make a lot of it, and when it cools, I put it in individual containers so they are lunch-ready for the week. Also, having leftovers ready to heat n’ eat is a good way to avoid the takeout trap on busy days.
Pack travel-ready snacks: Rare is the time when I don’t have a bag of raw almonds, granola bar or dried fruit with me. Snack attacks can happen at any time and thanks to that guy Murphy, they will inevitably happen when your only options are cornsyrup and cornnuts. So make like a boy scout and be prepared. Besides, if you’re ever trapped in an elevator, you will automatically have some barganing leverage when your fellow prisoners decide who to sacrifice first.
Those are just a few common sense ideas to help avoid those excess calories, unhealthy ingredients and eventual pounds. It is really all about making small adjustments and setting reasonable boundaries. There is so much in life we cannot control. Our diets shouldn’t be one of them.