I recently was asked for advice to get started on eating healthy. Both people who wanted help had no experience cooking, but each had a desire to improve their diet. Although there are lots of resources on learning how to cook, I have a problem with most as they often assume too much from their audience or have too much complexity.
For the past week, I have thought about how I would get someone started down the path of cooking healthy meals with the least chance of failure. To be successful, the advice would have met the following criteria:
- Don’t assume the person already has skills in the kitchen. Years ago when I would flip through recipe books, I’d skip to the next page as soon I ran across a concept that was critical to the recipe that I didn’t understand.
- Don’t assume the person has a lot of kitchen gear.
- Don’t assume the person has a lot of time. Mastering a great recipe that takes an hour is only helpful if you often have a free hour.
The Laziest Way To Eat Healthily is to get a slow cooker (aka The Crock-Pot). It is the single best tool for the lazy cooker to get healthy meals.
- Chop meat and veggies. Put in cooker.
- Add spices.
- Add stock/broth.
- Turn on and walk away.
- Come back hours later and your food is done.
That is it. You can’t screw it up. There are countless recipes out there to provide ideas. My favorite slow cooker meal is a lamb stew with onions, carrots, garlic, and a few Thai peppers. If you get a large enough slow cooker, you will not only have made one great meal but have enough leftovers for a few servings. You can even freeze your leftovers.
The slow cooker works while you sleep or while you’re at work. Your only time commitment is chopping up the ingredients. If every non-cooker in America started eating 3 slow cooker meals a week, they would not only be on a healthier path, but they would save money as well.
Apr 23, 2010 — 12:01 pm
My wife likes these kind of ideas. She often talks about simple recipes from a fictitious website lazymama.com when things are easy to make and usually healthy. Most days, I walk home for lunch: often it’s chicken with vegetables, or fish. Does save more than you’d think.
May 6, 2010 — 10:05 am
Having recently read in different articles that carrots and vitamin E are not “brain food” as long suspected. I am beginning to think it is not what you eat that makes you healthy but what you don’t eat (sugars, sat. fats, high-glycemic indexed foods, etc).
I had mentioned previously that sugar is detrimental to one’s long-term health. I also think that most foods contain only incrementally beneficial nutrients; the only way to gain benefits are to unmanageably large portions over the long term – unsustainable. They are also marketed well as panaceas “apple a day…et al”one apple ain’t gonna help much.
What do you recommend aside from your varied personal diet that is nutritious, accessible, and sustainable for a person who only eats one meal a day.
thanks for your reply, thomas
p.s. not unlike dog food for a person without the need for a pressure cooker.
May 6, 2010 — 5:03 pm
If you only eat one meal a day that meal needs to be calorie dense. Thai curries use coconut milk. Add in some protein and a mess of veggies and your done. No need for rice.