2 October 2014 Be Your Own Sous Chef, Increase Fruit and Veggie Intake

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if after a busy day at work or school, there would be healthy food in the refrigerator, freezer or pantry ready for you to eat? Become your own “sous chef” and make eating five fruits and vegetables each day easier!

A “sous chef” is a French word that means “under chef” or the person in the kitchen who peels, cuts and prepares ingredients so that the head chef is more efficient when cooking. Click on this video for tips on how to chop vegetables like a pro and find your “inner chef.”

Follow these three tips to prevent unhealthy grazing by having healthy foods cut up and ready to eat!

When should I prepare the fruits and vegetables? Choose a time that works best for you!

v Immediately after grocery shopping

Advantage: It’s one less step to prep and then put away your fruits and vegetables. Wash apples immediately and put them in a bowl on the table in sight!

v While cooking another meal

Advantage: As long as the kitchen is messy, why not make it messier?

This morning while I was making a vegetable soup, I decided that as long as I had the cutting board, knife and garbage can out for biodegradable foods, that I would cut more carrots, celery and red peppers to pair with hummus for an afternoon snack.

v While cleaning up after a meal

Advantage: Great time to put leftovers into containers to be heated for the next day at work or freeze in individual containers for busy days.

I asked one of my clients who lost 60 pounds over a period of a year what small change made the biggest difference. He told me, “It was rather simple. I just washed and prepared vegetables and fruits the night before work so that in the mornings I brought a prepared bag of vegetables or fruit to eat at work. This prevented me from being tempted and buying potato chips at the vending machine.”

v Weekends

Advantage: Especially if you work full time during the week, you will have more time on weekends to prepare healthy fruits and vegetables for snacks or for quicker meal preparation after work.

What fruits and vegetables should I prepare?

v Fresh

  1. Peel carrots. Cut slices ready to eat with hummus after a busy day at work!
  2. Slice and wash peppers. Green, red, and yellow peppers for are a delight to the eye for stir fry.
  3. Cut honeydew, cantaloupe, and watermelon into cubes for a perfect cold treat in the fridge.
  4. Peel oranges or cut into wheel shapes for a refreshing quick snack full of vitamin C.
  5. Cut stems of grapes into small bunches of 4 to 6 grapes for a morning snack.

v Dried

a. Especially for larger dried fruits, such as apricots, cut into small pieces with a kitchen scissor so they can quickly be added to oatmeal or your own breakfast granola.

b. Make your trail mix bags – one bag for each day of the week. In my trail mix bags, I mix 60% carbohydrates and 40% protein in order to have lasting energy. Thus, I put 60% dried fruit or cereal or pretzels and 40% of nuts (not more than 1/4 cup of nuts because 1/4 cup of nuts contains about 200 calories!).

How can I optimize my fruit and vegetable preparation time? Pause and enjoy it!

v Listen to a podcast on nutrition from a dietitian. Try this podcast from another MyNetDiary guest writer, Donna Feldman, MS, RD.

v Learn a new language using a free podcast. While living in Seville, Spain this year, I am thoroughly enjoying listening to this lively young couple, Ben and Marina, teach me Spanish while I am cooking.

v Listen to some peppy music or the news. My husband loves to stream “beautiful classical music” from Italy with no commercials while slicing and dicing.

v Spend quality time with your children and teach them kitchen skills that will last a lifetime.

Become your own “sous chef” to help prevent unhealthy grazing, increase your fruit and vegetable intake and create a kitchen full of easy to eat foods for healthy snacking. Well, time to cut up some watermelon and cantaloupe so I can have a “toothpick snack” with my children when they come home from school to hold them over until the late 9:30.p.m. Spanish suppertime!

Martha Henze

MS, RD, Traveling Taste Buds, LLC

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Disclaimer: The information provided here does not constitute medical advice. If you are seeking medical advice, please visit your healthcare provider or medical professional.

Tags:

Foods & Recipes/Fruit & Vegetables Meal Planning & Diets/Healthy Eating

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