For most mothers I know, there don’t seem to be enough hours in the day. So cooking can seem like just one more thing in an unending list of responsibilities and obligations.
A good method to assure that you are getting clean, nutrition dense food is to make a little extra for freezing and also to take some time every few days to cook some things that will keep in the fridge and allow you to put together easy, healthy meals.
Vegetables that are steamed and kept in the fridge in Tupperware can be eaten cold with or without a little salad dressing or added to salads. Cook vegetables so that they still have a slightly firm consistency and retain a deep rich color. Hard vegetables like carrots need a longer cook time, whereas soft vegetables like summer squash cook up quickly. Please use organic wherever possible, but especially with any roots or leafy greens.
Here are some suggestions as to what to keep in the fridge:
Steamed Broccoli: Cook up short stemmed florets in steamer basket for 5 to 7 minutes (don’t let it get soft.) Can be eaten cold with a little dressing or added to salad. Source of vitamin C, fiber, folic acid and calcium.
Baked Roots: Bake garnet yam, yellow fin or purple potato and keep in fridge. The combination of cold broccoli and yellow fins are one of my favorites! The garnet yams contain beta carotene, a good source of vitamin A.
Shredded beets and carrots: Shred beets in a food processor and steam for 5 minutes. Add chopped basil and a little brown rice vinegar. Also good if you want to combine carrots with beets. Both beets and carrots are rich in antioxidants and fiber. Basil is a source of B6 which can help with that queasy feeling when you are pregnant.
Lettuce in a bag: Wash a colorful lettuce like Boston lettuce that has red tips and tear into bite size pieces and store in Tupperware container. This base for salad can come in handy when all you have to do is add some meat and pre-shredded veggies. Warning: lettuce stored like this only lasts for about three days at a time, so don’t plan on storing it a week!
Shredded roots: Shred carrots, beets, dicon radish and keep in separate containers for quick salad makings. Good sources of vitamins A,C and K.
Roasted chicken breasts: bake a couple of boneless, skinless chicken breasts brushed with olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper and keep these in a container with a tight fitting lid. Makes for fast chicken sandwiches or salad topping and is a source of protein.
Here are some other must-haves:
Beans: cans of chickpeas, black eyed peas and kidney beans which provide B-vitamins and fiber and can be used in salads.
Broths: I like and recommend Imagine Foods because the sodium content is reasonable and they do not use MSG or sugar in their broths. Broth can be a tasty lunch to which you can add peas, noodles or chicken for a fast and complete meal. I like to use rice noodles and some sesame oil or soy sauce for an Asian inspired meal.
Frozen veggies: Those frozen vegetables are not my first choice, they are certainly better than no vegetables. There are quite a few companies who make organic, frozen vegetables that have no added chemicals. It’s easy to keep things like, frozen peas, asparagus, broccoli, carrots and corn in the freezer to add to broths or eggs or to just cook on their own for a fast and easy meal.
Simple seasonings: brown rice vinegar, tamari soy sauce, garlic, gomasio (sea salt and sesame seeds), raw seeds and nuts for toppings (sunflower seeds, pepitas, pine nuts), salt and of course pepper.
Stephanie Raffelock is the President and Co-Founder of Sound Formulas, LLC, a company dedicated to educating women about natural health care. She is a frequent guest speaker at colleges and community centers lecturing on the politics of women’s healthcare and women and spirituality. She has published several magazine and newspaper articles and has conducted poetry and writing workshops for special interest groups, senior centers and elementary schools as well as teaching English as a second language.