Here’s A Thought: Healthy Meals, Happy Life

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 I found an interesting infographic, from Cooks Smart, that talks about meal planning and the ways in which it can help a family live a better life.

It struck a chord with me because I’ve cooked more this winter than in the past three years combined.  For reasons related to good health, boredom and a husband who’ll eat [without complaint] whatever I dream up, I’ve gone back into the kitchen.

And I’m loving it.  Screen Shot 2015-03-04 at 4.15.39 PM

I grew up around parents and aunts who enjoyed making meals.  Healthy meals.  Fancy meals.  Fast meals.  Exotic meals.  But meals created by using real ingredients and following recipes, written or oral, passed down through the family.

There was a sense of history associated with those shared recipes.  Back then we connected through food.

• • •

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 However today I hesitate to even mention that I like to cook, here or in real life.  Many women who I know see it as passé or pointless.

Most of the women really.

Better to eat a Lean Cuisine “like a normal person” one of them told me.  Why waste time cooking?

Another told me she cooks on holidays only.  That way she can use her fancy plates and silverware and glassware.  Everyday [thankless] cooking is not for her, she said.  Screen Shot 2015-03-04 at 4.14.11 PM

But I like the stress free everyday sort of cooking that I do.  I follow some recipes [more or less].  Or I wing it to see what happens when I throw some ingredients together.

Either way, I believe, that with the right attitude cooking is creative fun that leads to healthy meals– and, maybe even, a happier life.

 [Image sources here and here.]

Published by

Ally Bean

Observant. Creative. Humorous. Adaptable. Happy enough. Looking for the crumb of truth in the cookie of life.

36 thoughts on “Here’s A Thought: Healthy Meals, Happy Life”

  1. Whenever Tim is out of town, I tend to cook for myself. And most meals are healthy. I love vegetables, which he doesn’t, so I tend to cook a lot of those. I don’t really enjoy eating out, unless it’s breakfast food. I’ve never made a great pancake. Whenever we eat out I feel like I’ve done something wrong–eaten the wrong thing, eaten too much, eaten something I don’t really like, spent too much money. It’s better to cook at home most of the time…and cheaper! I bet you have some great recipes.

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    1. Beth, I’m not much for eating out anymore. At one time it seemed special, but now it seems expensive or tedious– especially those interminably long business dinners. Oy vey!

      I have more recipes than you can possibly imagine! Sometimes deciding which one to make takes more time than making it!

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  2. I completely agree with you – the daily simple meal is a small but important joy of life. Do not understand why those people would say what they did, other than to guess they lack even that much self-esteem. Thanks for cooking, it is great, and I promise to do more dish washing.

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    1. Zen-Den, my guess is that the people who don’t approve of cooking are also the ones who can’t enjoy the process of it. Or are neat freaks. Whatever, I say.

      And as for the “slogans” you see on the photos, they’re Shakespearean insults! Cute, huh?

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  3. Lean Cuisines for a family meal? Yikes. Maybe for an occasional lunch, but that’s about it.

    I love to cook, but I don’t like having to cook. In other words, sometimes having to prepare something every night for the family gets old. But I still love trying new recipes, and although I’m probably biased (okay, I am biased), I like a lot of my dishes better than restaurant meals. Well, except for pizza…

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    1. Carrie, yes, that’s what this woman does: buys stacks of Lean Cuisines, a product I cannot stand, and serves them for dinners.

      I understand what you’re saying about wanting to cook vs needing to cook. Happily I’m at a point where it’s all about wanting to cook. Like you, I prefer my cooking [or Zen-Den’s] to most restaurants.

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  4. I don’t cook much(for one person) but I do enjoy it when I do. I used to do quite a bit of it when there were 4 of us and got burned out. I think it would be better now when I’m not trying to please different tastes at different times and all in a rush since one kid had to get to gymnastics, the other to ballet, etc.

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    1. Margaret, I can see why you’d cook less often. I imagine that you’d enjoy it more for the exact reasons you mentioned above. If you do go back to cooking, would your parents eat any of it? Save them from making a meal for themselves?

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      1. They do love coming up here for special occasions; Ashley, her boyfriend and I did Thanksgiving dinner and then we had a Christmas morning brunch for them. My mom is a terrific cook and so is Ashley. Like you said, why eat out when the home cooked stuff is so much better?

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        1. Margaret, I agree. Or at least I agree on the days when what I make is tasty. I like to experiment with recipes, so sometimes what I make is… less than good. 😉

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  5. Thanks for this entry – Because of your support, and based on the comments you’ve received – I feel like I’m part of a (disconnected) community! Stay in the kitchen and have fun!!

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    1. Joan, now you’re a woman who knows her way around a kitchen! I’ll never be as brave as you are about having dinner for 40, but for the two of us my cooking adventures work out just fine. Thanks for stopping by. Always good to hear from you.

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    1. Andra, not everyone is meant to cook– and that’s ok. I’ve gone through periods of time when I didn’t cook at all, but having gotten back into the habit I’m finding it a good creative outlet. Plus yummy!

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  6. I mostly enjoy cooking, but sometimes figuring out WHAT to cook is a challenge. I am good about coming up with well rounded meals for the three of us, but if it were just me, I think I’d end up making a box of mac and cheese or baking a potato. Not as good. I’m glad I don’t cook just for me.

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    1. J, I know what you mean about deciding what to make. I try to use ingredients that are seasonal, but what I’m hungry for doesn’t always jive with the season. When I’m alone while Z-D travels, I eat more carbs with a salad, than meat + veggies. But I’m working on eating better when it’s only me. Seems like I should do that.

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  7. Some women/people view cooking as a chore. I am not that way unless I have run out of ideas or am going through an ambivalent-about-food period. My husband is like yours, and the downside of that is that he rarely contributes an idea or preference for the dinner menu. But to simply buy a stack of frozen food and reheat something each night sounds horrific to me. That would never, ever happen here.

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    1. nance, I go through ambivalent-about-food periods, too. I think that’s why my renewed interest in cooking amazes me. I agree that cooking can be a chore, especially when you’re the only one dreaming up the menus. But I keep on, keeping on… because Lean Cuisines aren’t the way to go around here. *meh*

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  8. My working mom hated cooking and had a series of meals – and they were repeated over and over. We knew what day it was by the food on the table: meat, 2 vegetables (home grown during season), bread, starch (potato with gravy, corn…) and a small iceberg salad with orange French dressing.
    I learned to cook in college and created some “signature dishes” But for a bit between traveling with work, a kid who from age 3 or so only wanted chef salads, and a husband who was too busy to eat and was happy eating what ever was in the ice box, I slowed down after so many meals gone uneaten. It was never a hobby or great fun for me.
    With concerns about clean kitchens/cooks, where the food comes from, and the prices of eating out for such poor quality, now we prefer to grill or make a light meals (and there’s a lot that don’t take much time at all….we just keep stuff on hand and throw together what ever we feel like eating – being on the coast helps with fresh seafood always available.

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    1. pmouse–I agree about keeping things on hand for light meals that can be tossed together, sometimes literally, like fresh salads with steak or chicken or shrimp added for the protein, or pastas with a few light ingredients. It’s rare that I find a restaurant meal that is worth what I pay for it since I can cook quite ably at home. And since my husband and I are now empty nesters, we can even have the occasional “pick around” dinner that might be PBJ’s or even a bowl of ice cream. Sometimes, it’s nice to be GrownUps.

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    2. philmouse, my mother loved to cook. Majored in Home Ec in college and could make anything she set her mind to. I think that part of my decision to return to cooking stems from her example.

      I can understand why you decided to back down from cooking. Makes sense under the circumstances you describe.

      I’ll admit that I envy your fresh seafood available. That I’d love, love, love to have on hand. Grilling would be more of a given in that situation.

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      1. nance, I agree with you 100%. I try to have the light ingredients around, but am not adverse to a meal of whatever odds-n-ends plucked from the pantry. Like you said, it’s good to be “GrownUps.”

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  9. Because I live in my daughter’s home, she and my son-in-law are the cooks and I am free to do what I like most — bake! Thank you for following me at Trigger’s Horse…I am sorry I was so slow to welcome you. – Fawn

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    1. momfawn, baking is fun. I rarely do any of it, but when I do I feel like I’ve accomplished something worthwhile. Thanks for stopping by to say “hi.”

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  10. Jeopardy Answer: Better to eat a Lean Cuisine like a normal person.
    Question: What is a Philistine?
    And I feel sorry for her. She is missing out on so much with that outlook.

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