If you haven’t seen Food Inc. I strongly recommend that you do.
The film explores the relationship between the food we eat and how we grow and buy that food.
As someone who reads this blog you are obviously concerned about what goes into your food and into your body. It’s obvious from watching this film that our governments are not interested in helping us out when it comes to nutrition or creating healthy, low fat, or low carb meal plans. They’re much more interested in money and keeping the big food companies happy more so than the average consumer. How else can we explain the lack of oversight and continuous changing of the rules to help these large food conglomerates reap profits?
The shocking and deplorable state of large scale farming is exposed for what it is; a money making machine with little regard for the health or wellbeing of either their products or their customers.
It all seems a bit overwhelming. How can we as individuals even begin to change things when even our governments seem powerless in the face of these Goliaths? The answer is simple. We must start to cook more at home and end our reliance on convenience foods and fast foods. If you really truly saw what goes into a lot of the “products” in the grocery store and fast food joints out there you’d be appalled. Many of these “foods” are “created” with the goal of filling you up and then leaving you hungry again in no time when, hopefully, you’ll go back and have another of their “products”.
People need to become more aware of the food they eat, where it comes from and how it is prepared or farmed. It’s up to us to make the effort and make choices that are both healthy for us and for future generations. We can’t wait for the government and food lobbies to make changes…it has to begin at home. We can help you create low carb meal plans, gluten free plans and other alternatives to include in your healthy meal planning.
In 2007, Canada’s Food Guide upped their recommended amounts for servings of vegetables and fruits to between 7 to 10 daily…don’t worry, that’s a combined total.
It still seems like a lot.
When you consider that a serving is equal to one medium sized fruit, ½ grapefruit, 1 cup of fruit salad, ¼ cup dried fruit, ½ cup 100% fruit juice, ½ cup of cooked or raw vegetables, 1 cup salad greens, and ½ cup 100% vegetable juice, it can be difficult to get that many fruits or vegetables into your diet; difficult, but not impossible.
The key is, again, to plan ahead. If you plan to have a least two portions of fruit with your breakfast, say a banana and maybe some berries with your cereal; and then make sure to bring a green salad, a side vegetable or some carrot sticks for a snack and at least 1 whole fruit for lunch, you’re already at 5 servings of fruits and vegetables.
With dinner, serve at least two side vegetables or one side and a salad and voila! You’ve reached your target of 7 servings…of course this is your minimum target. Have some fruit for dessert or as in between meal snacks and you easily attain the recommended amounts, even if included in low fat meal plans.
We North Americans have a diet which consists primarily of meat and potatoes. Now I LOVE me some meat and potatoes but I do know that eating my full share of fruits and veggies helps me maintain my health and gives me plenty of energy to deal with my youngster…and trust me, you NEED energy for that. As I sit here at my desk, I’ve got 2 oranges and a banana in front of me…okay, make that 1 orange (it was just sweet and tart enough) and one banana. In our staff fridge, I’ve got my yogourt (local organic) and wild blueberries (also local), my spinach salad (local organic) and some arugula (also… yeah, you get the idea) that will find its way into my gnocchi. I purposely packed myself a vegetarian lunch today because I planned on burgers for dinner…and usually we have fries (baked potato wedges) with our burgers and we don’t have salad, though we probably should. (I think I just guilted myself into making a side salad now)
For breakfast, I had steel cut oats and an apple (along with OJ, toast and a coffee). Therefore, adding up my totals for today, I have 8 servings of mostly fruit with some veggies…not bad.
Once you get into the habit of healthy meal planning, achieving the recommended amounts isn’t really that hard. Just like every other meal plan out there, like low fat meal plans or weight loss meal plans, you just have to plan.
“It is soooooo convenient.”
That was the answer when we posed the question: “How often do you eat fast food and why?” on our Facebook page.
And it’s true. There’s no denying it. Fast food is exactly that…FAST. And, you don’t have to cook it. How much more convenient can you get?
Yet no one, not one person, replied: “Because it tastes good” or “I like it” or “It’s good for me”. We eat “fast food”, and by fast food we mean your typical “burger and fries”, purely because it is convenient…not because of taste, not because of nutrition but just because it’s easy. Someone did bring up a great point: “It depends on how you define fast food”. Sure the local Asian food shop with its pho or pad thai is much better than the fast food chain. Same goes for the mom and pop pizza joint with their homemade lasagna and slices.
But there is a cost to all this fast food eating, not just monetary but a health cost as well.
That’s why we developed MealEasy. We created MealEasy with the goal of helping people get away from the fast food trap and into their kitchen to create healthful and nutritious low carb meals. Healthy meal plans that are quick, tasty and good for you.
Yes, it takes time to make healthy meal plans from scratch. Yes, it’s much easier just to pick up a burger and fries special. And yes, you can do without fast foods if you make the commitment!
Most people eat their fast food meals at lunch time because they “don’t have the time” to make a lunch every morning. I say, why not make a casserole on Sunday for dinner and freeze the leftovers and take those for lunch? Add a green salad and you’ve got affordable and healthy low carb meals as an alternative to the pizza slice and pop. And there’s a keyword…LEFTOVERS! Is there anything more convenient than a fully cooked meal simply reheated for lunch? Making dinner tonight? Make some extra and you’ve got lunch.
The key is planning…and that’s where MealEasy comes in. We’re all about planning; planning nutritious, healthy and quick meals for everyone in the family. Give it a try.
I like sleep. I find I need to sleep every night. I just feel better if I’ve slept. But, like I’m sure most of you out there, I feel I never get enough sleep. I try to sleep at least 7 hours a night but sometimes that’s just not possible. Not sure why it’s not possible but sometimes it’s not.
I’ve always known that a minimum of 7 hours is what’s recommended but many nights I just can’t put the book I’m reading down and next thing you know, its past midnight and I have to get up in 6 hours.
Now, neurologist Dr. Nathaniel Watson of the University of Washington Medicine Sleep Center in Seattle has linked lack of sleep with obesity. Yep, the doc says get more sleep! Now, he doesn’t say sleeping 12 hours will make you lose 20 pounds or anything like that, but along with a healthy meal plan of low carb meals and physical exercise, a good night’s sleep is essential in maintaining a healthy body. So tonight, put down that book, turn off the TV and do yourself a favor…get lots of sleep.
It’s no joke – food costs are rising and we’re all feeling the strain.
There’s a lot of debate over how we can lower the cost of groceries. One tried and tested solution is to take part in healthy meal planning.
Whether you require a diabetic, heart healthy, balanced, gluten free, vegetarian or low carb meal plans, healthy meal planning will take you one step closer to better health, with more money left at the end of the month. Why? Well, when you plan your meals you’ll know exactly what you’ll be eating each day and will therefore only buy what you need.
A recent study in the United States concluded that, on average, 38% of a grocery store cart is made up of impulse purchases, such as potato chips, carbonated drinks and candy. Anyone will tell you that these do nothing for our health – so why waste money on something that could one day kill you?
Let’s give another example of how you can lower food costs. Take your average restaurant lasagna portion – it will retail for around $11-14. Here you’re paying for someone else to buy the ingredients, prepare it, serve it to you and clear up afterwards – and you don’t even know what they’re putting in it, or if it’s fit for human consumption!
If you make that meal at home, using the recipe from MealEasy.com, a healthy meal planning website – you’ll pay around $1.70 per portion. This is a huge saving! The benefits don’t stop there; by making this meal as part of your low carb meal plans you’ll know exactly what it contains and how it was prepared.
Research from MealEasy has shown that the average family of 4 can save up to $5500 each year, simply by making home cooked meals. This is enough extra cash for a luxury vacation, car upgrade or retirement savings!
It all depends if you’re willing to give it a try. Try for yourself: http://www.mealeasy.com
A new study confirms what some of us already know; if you want to lose weight, eat fewer calories. Of course, it’s not that simple, you must eat healthy calories and not “empty calories” that come from junk food or sugary sweets.
The study found that test subject who reduced their caloric intake were able to shed pounds whether they were following a “high protein”, “low carb” or “low fat” diet. The key is finding a plan that works for you and sticking to it. This article suggests that a diet low in saturated fats, low in cholesterol and high in fibre offers the best solution for weight control.
The MealEasy system allows the user to set their own calorie intake on a per meal basis and with all the meals being low fat, low cholesterol and delicious, this is a simple way to plan low carb meals and stick to it. The article goes on to say that the biggest stumbling block for most people is “not being organized. On the weekend, spend a few minutes thinking about the week ahead. Map out your meals, healthy snacks and even your workouts.”
Here’s where MealEasy can help. By choosing a healthy meal plan that’s right for you, MealEasy makes it incredibly easy to plan a selection of meals. If the planning is easy then sticking to the plan is just as simple when you try the wonderful dishes on offer. And as the system keeps track of all your low carb meals, it’s easy to chart your progress.
Remember the key to weight loss is following a healthy meal plan and sticking to it.
Sundays around our house are what I call “production days”. What I mean by that is that I go into “production mode” and make a bunch of foods I can use at a later date, be it for lunches or quick low carb meals. This can be a big batch of spaghetti meat sauce (or Bolognese), more tourtieres (did I mention I love tourtiere?) or a large scale pasta casserole I can portion and freeze for later.
This Sunday was a low carb recipe for roasted chicken. I cooked up a BIG 9lbs bird in hopes of having lots of leftovers…and seeing as how there are only three of us (and one of us is only 2 ½) there will be lots left over. That means sandwiches for lunch, meat already cooked for a quick rice or pasta dinner or even a batch of soup that can go in the freezer.
This way I can stay ahead of the game. I love to cook. It’s what I do, but some nights I can be a little pressed for time, therefore I have a whole bunch of quick and easy low carb meals ready to go.
I know a lot of people, with kids especially, never seem to have the time to make homemade meals, but I really don’t think a trip to the local burger joint is the answer. I’ll gladly spend 30 minutes in the kitchen after a busy work day because I think family meal time is important. It’s our time to all sit together, relax and talk about our day. We’ll often linger for an hour or more at the dinner table talking, playing or enjoying a glass of wine…well not the little one, she prefers beer (I tell her its beer but it’s really apple juice).
So I say, raise a glass to the family meal!
March is nutrition month across Canada. http://www.nutrition2011.ca/en/about-nutrition-month/mission-and-theme
While I fully support this initiative I would suggest that we make every month nutrition month! Being aware of what you eat and keeping tabs on your nutrition is an ongoing concern. While no one is saying that Nutrition Month is a bad thing, we need to be aware all the time and not just for a month. And the best way to be aware of what we are eating and what we need to eat is by cooking low carb meal plans or otherwise at home.
While most of us have a family doctor, how many of us consult a nutritionist? If “we are what we eat”, should we not pay closer attention to what goes into our stomachs? Yet most of us buy more prepackaged and processed foods than we do fruits and vegetables. We can’t wait for our governments to help us individuals fight obesity and diabetes; we need to step up and make a commitment to a healthier and more nutritious life for ourselves. The “system” is rigged towards these low cost, sugar laden “convenience foods” ; our governments have subsidized these industries to such an extent that it’s cheaper to buy a package of cookies than it is to buy a bunch of broccoli…cheaper in the short term that is.
If we considered the cost of health care and medication that will be necessary when it is estimated that there will be whopping 54% increase in people diagnosed with diabetes worldwide within the next 15 years, then the few extra dollars we spend seem somewhat trivial.
The “cost” of eating healthy meal plans cannot be solely measured in dollars and cents. The effects on our current and future generations is what is at stake here. I firmly believe that what we eat is one of if not THE most important decision we make on a daily basis yet many of us will spend more time deciding what to wear than we will on what’s for lunch. We’ve become complacent; we strive for convenience over health; we look for the easy way out but we need to become more aware of what we put into our bodies…no one is going to do it for us.
Thus endeth my rant…sometimes I get a little carried away when it comes to healthy meal plans.
With the Holiday season on our doorstep there’s plenty to worry about – second-cousins to shop for, holiday meals to plan, and what the scales will show during the inevitable New Year’s ‘weigh in’.
For those attempting to maintain their weight or lose a few pounds, the holidays can be a minefield of high-fat meals and caloric desserts. However, Chef Paul comes to the rescue and shares his top five tips for surviving the season with simple low carb meal plans….over to you Paul!:
- Replace traditional mashed potatoes with mashed sweet potatoes. Chock full of nutrients, sweet potatoes are a great source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, fibre and complex carbohydrates. I recommend boiling the sweet potatoes until soft and and mashing with cinnamon and a touch of real maple syrup.
- Rest easy – the turkey is safe to eat! But white meat only, and nix the gravy. Turkey meat has long been a staple of those on a low-fat diet, and it’s easy to see why. A source of Vitamin B6 and folic acid, turkey meat contains only 1 gram of fat per ounce. Baste with a little olive oil and vegetable broth, and use herbs liberally to really enhance the taste.
- Though picky eaters may scoff at vegetables, there are many ways to make the standard peas n’ corn just as interesting as the next side dish! Roast vegetables in the oven with olive oil, dress up green beans with vinegar and steam asparagus with lemon and sea salt for a tasty treat. This will be a great addition to low carb meals during the holidays.
- Those interested in avoiding excess calories may want to avoid boozy sauces, after-dinner liqueurs and sugary white wines. For anyone wishing to drink during the holidays, I recommend a small glass of heart-healthy red wine, reputed to be a rich source of antioxidants. Moderation is best, maintaining a 5 oz glass is the perfect amount and is in accordance with low carb meal plans.
- For many, dessert is the reason for the meal in the first place! My tip for avoiding a sugar crash after a holiday meal is to enjoy a cup of coffee, a piece of dark chocolate and an innovative dessert, such as pears poached in spiced wine, or fresh raspberries with a sprinkling of icing sugar. Indulge a bit, but keep portions small. You’ll thank me later for that advice!
Everyone here at the MealEasy office is already licking their lips, and we hope you’re doing the same too! Contact us with your favorite ‘Season Survival’ tips or low carb meals for the holidays, and we’ll post the best here: email@example.com
Our garden is coming along. The tomato plants are a good 8cm tall at this point and the Swiss chard and kale have both sprouted. Some of the tomato plants have been transferred to larger pots. Soon they will be transported outside to become acclimatized to our damp and cold spring. They’ll spend days outside in the sunshine (we hope) and then be returned to the house or placed in the shed overnight until the weather is warmer. Then we can whip up some low carb meals once they’re grown.
I spent part of the last weekend building a new cedar container to plant more veggies in. This one is up against our house and should get pretty good sunlight. I plan on adding a trellis to the back so that we can plant vegetables that can climb such as beans or cucumbers. The space was occupied by our heating oil tank which we’ve since moved inside. It still needs a bit of work. We had planned on repainting the house foundation last summer but ran out of time. That’s kind of a good thing seeing as how now we must scrape and paint where the tank used to be. I’ll do it before we add any soil to the area some none of the soil is contaminated with paint chips.
I built our boxes out of cedar because cedar weathers well and is non toxic. It is not recommended that you build planter boxes out of pressure treated lumber as the chemical used in treating the lumber will leach into the soil. It’s a bit more expensive but looks really good.
By the end of May, we should have our first seedling in the ground and soon after that actual food to add to our low carb meals! Healthy meal planning is made easier with home grown, fresh food.