KISS in the kitchen: it’s hot stuff

After last week’s post about following the KISS principle and taking the simple approach to life and health, today I’m talking about KISSin’ in the kitchen. Not lip-locking with hubby over the kitchen sink (although by all means go ahead if that will make him do the dishes!) but how simplicity is all you need to whip up healthy meals.

When it comes to eating and cooking, we’re surrounded by gourmet and high-end everywhere – on TV with Masterchef and MKR, Nigella and Jamie, and in magazines and even on the supermarket shelves. If you go searching for healthy options, then add in to the mix the latest fads, diets, the raw food movement, superfoods, and supplements. And then there’s must-have equipment – everything from KitchenAid to Thermomix – we’re told a busy mother who wants to feed her family well must aspire to these standards.

Then one of two things happens – we either blow our budget and our mind trying to achieve lofty standards, or we say it’s all too hard and opt for the fast, convenient and typically unhealthy packets from the shelves.

 

But if you just Keep It Simple Stupid, you can do fast, healthy and delicious. Marketing spin doctors with big food industry accounts have cleverly conditioned us to believe we’re too busy to cook so that we’ll buy their instant meal products. And we’re led to believe that healthy and delicious requires oodles of time and effort. But DIY is not just for blokes: cooking and baking your own food from scratch is the number one way to better health for you and your family. Homemade is healthier, tastier and cheaper, and if you’re not on a television cooking show, simple is not only acceptable, but supreme (actually MKR’s Manu and Pete love simple, so there’s the proof in the pudding that simple food is good food).

So some tips for KISSin’ in the kitchen:

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  • Buy ingredients, not products: a plate of fresh produce prepared in even the simplest way (ie cut up and thrown on the plate of a hungry kid) is enough and likely better for you than anything dished up out of a packet or bottle.
  • Encore, encore: doesn’t matter if you have the same dishes week in, week out if they’re fast and healthy. If your family like them, make them. Don’t feel the need or obligation to make something ‘special’ when you don’t have to.
  • Anything goes: on toast (or preferably, brown rice or quinoa), for the days when you really have run out of time. Just make sure your bread is high quality and toppings fresh: eggs, avocado, tomato, mushrooms, spinach. Leftovers on toast is very 1970s, so let’s call it retro rehash for dinner.
  • There’s an S for all seasons: soup for winter, salad for summer. With the addition of some herbs, nuts, yoghurt, seeds, bacon – whatever you have and takes your fancy – you can turn these into a meal, quick sticks. You don’t need a recipe for them, just make them.
  • Less is more: not just with makeup, same goes for dinner time. You don’t need to over-cater to make it a winner. The key is to have mostly plant-based foods on the plate, not in the number of foods on the plate.
  • It’s the little things that count: like real additives. I’m talkin’ herbs, spices and condiments, not chemical poisons.
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The great thing about going simple is that it requires little thought (and hooray for little thought, cos there’s not much thinking left to go around at 5.55pm). If you stick with fresh, quality produce, mostly plants, and prepare it simply, it largely takes away the need to worry about what you and your family are eating. You’ll know exactly what’s in it, because you put it there.

And it takes the pressure off you – you’ll know you’re feeding your family quality, even if you’re no master chef or dietitian.

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