We’ve all heard that question, but whose responsibility is it?
For hundreds of years, women were always the ones who took on the role as “housekeeper”. Cooking and cleaning took up the majority of their day. Most were awake before dawn to prepare a home cooked breakfast along with sending their working husbands off with a full lunch. After laundry, cleaning, and shopping were complete they were back in the kitchen to begin the task of dinner. Meals generally took several hours to make, and fresh bread was often prepared daily as it was a staple and the “food of life”.
Today, with women in the work force, times certainly have changed; there has been a decrease in home cooked meals. We just aren’t doing it as much as we were 100 years ago, we are busier, we attend more activities, and cooking isn’t being passed down to the new generations. Not only do we feel like we don’t have the time to cook, but we are also being told by advertisements that we don’t have the time to cook. Many commercials suggest you “Give Mom a break tonight and order out” or “Why not skip the dishes and chores?” These ads have helped manufacture a sense of panic in regards to our time management. They have painted the average family as too busy or too hectic to make a proper home cooked breakfast in the morning, or even just pour milk into a bowl. They only hope that you have enough time to wolf down a highly processed, covered in sugar, oat bar in the car or on the bus.
A lot of children don’t have any interest in cooking or have no idea how to make themselves a breakfast or lunch. Many of them gravitate towards sugar-filled pastries they can just throw into the toaster. Cooking should be a core, mandatory subject in schools to teach children how to take care of themselves and to educate them before they venture off on their own. It is no wonder that some people eat poorly, because they just don’t know how not to. They may have never been taught how to read labels or what to shop for. We need to eat, every single day, for the rest of our lives, so why do some education systems believe this is not an important subject? This is why cooking at home is so crucial!
Cooking at home gives us an appreciation for the food we eat; it can be exciting and fun! It can bring the family together, and inspire us to try new things. Cooking our own meals puts us in control, we know what goes into our food and we can customize it to our likings and nutritional needs. Often (not always) but often, when we cook we pay more attention to the quality of our food and it triggers us to question where it comes from. If we cook our own chicken breast, for example, and we notice it is poor quality, we will then seek out better sources and care about what it tastes like.
As I am sure many of you already know, processed foods are not living foods. At some point, many of the ingredients were living and nutritious, but after a product has been processed and refined it is dead. It has no enzymes, they are often loaded or sprayed with chemicals, full of sugars, and little to no vitamins and nutrients are present. These products are high in calories and have absolutely contributed to the rise in obesity and health issues over the past several decades. Whole, natural foods need to make a come-back into our lives! Lean proteins, fresh fruits and vegetables, and whole grains and seeds can be essential to a healthy diet.
So what can we do? The responsibility is yours! Meal prep is a huge help when it comes to ensuring that we eat well if we have a busy lifestyle. You can spend a couple hours on a Sunday getting your week prepped, you could do a Sunday and Wednesday ritual to split it up, or you could do nightly meal prep for the next day, whatever your schedule permits. If you have fitness goals, whether it is to lose weight, gain muscle, keep up with your kids, or simply maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle, meal prep will help tremendously.
If you have a family or partner, then sharing the responsibility not only helps stress levels, but it also will educate your children and show them what it means to take care of themselves.
Understandably there will be times when ordering takeout is needed, but it should be a treat and not relied on frequently. Fast food is not good for us, and in no way will it benefit you besides shaving off some time from your evening. Is that really worth it? Don’t let today’s convenience rob you of tomorrow’s health.
Looking for a place to start? You can make a few batches of overnight oats and leave them in the fridge for a few days until you’re ready to eat them. Just grab a jar in the morning and you’re on your way.
- ½ cup quick oats
- ½ cup water or almond milk
- 1 small mason jar
Optional Additions (choose 1-3):
- Drizzle of 100% maple syrup
- Dash of unsweetened coconut
- ½ cup pomegranate seeds
- ½ tsp cacao nibs
- ½ banana, sliced
- 1 tsp peanut butter
- 1 scoop whey
- 1 Tbsp Greek yogurt
Place oats into your mason jar and add water or milk, stir. Add desired toppings and seal. Place in fridge and enjoy in the morning or a few hours later. Microwave if desired.
Recipe by Frankie Monhay, nutrition coach and personal trainer. For more meal ideas, check out these healthy recipes.