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Healthy Eating Takes Preparation

Posted Dec 26 2012 12:58pm
It is easy to say I am going to eat healthy. It isn't always as easy to do it. Why? Because all the easy-to-grab foods tend to be the least healthy....if you forget how easy it is to grab an orange.

I want to have healthy foods in the house for me and my family. And to achieve that, I need to buy healthy foods. I will confess, I do buy some indulgences at time as dear hubby does love cookies and chips, but I keep it at a minimum...Christmastime excluded.

We all know, healthy eating starts with healthy grocery shopping. But for me, I need to take it one step further with healthy planning and preparation. And that begins with first, making a dinner menu for the week. This guides my grocery shopping and makes sure I do integrate the vegetarian days I love.

Next, I need to be prepared by having what I need/want on hand and ready to go. And one of my favorite things to sneak into foods is veggie purees. It allows the meal to have more of the veggies I love and the family doesn't always realize what I am up to. Although, darling daughter has an idea.

On a day I have time, I pull out the food processor and puree like crazy. I love to puree carrots, zucchini, and broccoli but have always done pumpkin, squash, and spinach. Whatever you like, just puree. To puree the vegetable I just clean as usual, cut into chucks, and darling daughter hits on. I don't have a fancy food processor so any kind will do. And I aim to puree without adding any water that just dilutes the nutritional value; however, I have found that most times I do need to add some water to the broccoli to keep it going. I then "measure" the veggie purees in quart sized freezer bags labeled with the veggie and date. I say "measure" because each baggie roughly has 1/2 to 3/4 cup of puree. Since I am cooking with it, exactness isn't important. However, if I plan to use the puree in a baking recipe where exactness does count, I measure accurately and label as such. Example, chickpea puree for a cookie recipe I have.  Then I load up the top shelf of my freezer and grab when the need/desire arises.

So how do I use the purees? Just about anyway I want. Making enchiladas? Why not add a bean, pumpkin, or squash puree to the filling or some broccoli or spinach to the sauce? Making a soup? You can add almost anything to it. I made lentil soup just the other day and added a bag of broccoli and a bag of carrot puree. If you have a finicky family, perhaps send them on an outing at the start of cooking time. I started my soup in my crock pot and for the first few hours you could really smell the broccoli. Once the lentils softened up more, their smell took over and when you ate the soup, you didn't see or taste the added vegetables....but they were there. I have also been known to add a puree into the taco meat and nope, the family and teenaged boys never knew it.

The hardest part is staying committed to having an assortment of purees on hand because if they are not there, I won't be adding in extra nutritional value. It is kinda like that dehydrator I have in the cupboard....it isn't going to make fruit chips on its own. I better get shopping, slicing, and dehydrating soon!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for good customer service.
Daily Affirmation: I am a healthy, happy, loving mom.
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