I try and eat healthfully, although god knows I’m not always successful at it. It’s awfully tempting to dive face-first into my favorite junk foods at the end of a long, stressful day, especially when the kids have been performing Tantrum Relay Races for hours on end. (The preschooler is screaming because the toddler touched his blankie! Now the toddler is screaming because the preschooler ripped the blanket out of his hand! Now they’re shoving each other! Who will drive Mommy up the wall first? This is going to be a photo finish, folks!)
Despite that oh-so-confident blog title up there, I don’t actually believe in “must-haves” when it comes to diet and exercise. Like most things, what works for me may not work for you. However, here are a few of MY must-haves for staving off that daily desire to strap on a Frito feedbag, in case you find them useful:
A nonstick electric skillet. The most heavily used appliance in our kitchen is a Circulon Electric Skilley, and I cannot sing its praises enough. It heats up in an instant (actually, so fast you’ve got to watch those edges—and keep little fingers well out of reach) (we call it The Cornballer, a la Arrested Development) and cooks everything quickly and evenly, with absolutely no sticking and minimal cleanup. I use it for eggs, stir fries, chicken, tofu . . . you name it. It’s so much easier and fast than cooking on a stove, I can’t even tell you. If I need to throw together a healthy dinner in about ten minutes (and most nights, that’s exactly what I need to do), I put some lean protein and frozen veggies in this pan, add some spices, and kerblam, we’re basically good to go. Also, it makes perfect pancakes for the kids. To clean it, you just wipe it with a wet paper towel. HELLO, AWESOME.
A good knife. I don’t know much about knives but I do know having a non-crappy one makes cutting up vegetables a lot less tedious. This chef’s knife on Amazon has a great price, and a ton of glowing reviews.
A well-stocked pantry. Despite my ongoing efforts to improve, I am consistently horrible at doing the kind of strategic grocery shopping that actually lasts for more than a few days at a time. I do, however, usually manage to keep a number of staples on hand as go-to foods for when I’m starving and thinking about attacking the peanut butter jar with a spoon: raw almonds, turkey jerky, nonfat plain Greek yogurt (I add Splenda to this), lowfat string cheese, baby carrots, hummus, sugar free popsicles.
A pantry devoid of crap. If it’s there, I will eat it. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but eventually, those cookies will be IN MY MOUTH. So, for the most part, I don’t buy junk food. My kids don’t need it, I don’t need it, it doesn’t need to be in my kitchen. Now, there are definitely exceptions to this rule, such as last weekend when all of us, even the 17-month-old, ate our own weight in Tostitos, but I’m saying in GENERAL.
What about you? What do you rely on in your kitchen to help you and your family eat well?