3 Simple Kitchen Hacks that Make Cooking Easier

By: Stacy Kennedy, MPH, RD, CSO, LDN; Reboot Nutritionist

At this year’s Camp Reboot, I’ll be tackling ways to help you stay healthy while also cooking for your family. That can be a lot to take on and a huge responsibility — I know because I have two young boys who I want to make sure are eating healthy while also finding time for myself and my husband. To help you out, I’ve pulled together my simple tricks and being efficient when it comes to a healthy family.

  1. Pack lunch while cleaning up dinner.
    Busy life calls for multitasking, and also mindfulness. One way to get ahead for the morning rush and ensure that everyone has healthy lunch options is to organize and pack up lunches for tomorrow while cleaning up tonight’s dinner.  I aim for having leftovers to support this process.  Rather than placing your leftovers, including salad, into a large glass container, portion out remaining salad and main dish into individual portions and add to each lunch bag.  Then add fresh fruit, cut up veggies, granola bars, water, and all your other favorites and store in the fridge overnight.  When morning comes, you’re ready to go!  Here are more ideas that go beyond your Average School Lunch, Reboot Your Lunchbox, Home Cooked Meals, and Recipe Makeovers.
  1. Customize family dishes by cooking in stages.
    When cooking family meals there are usually numerous preferences and needs including not having time to cook four different main course options.  To accommodate everyone and make the process quicker, I like to pull out items in stages.  For example, my youngest has food allergies including dairy, and he’s sworn off beans lately (urgh) while my oldest is a vegetarian and loves beans of any kind. Let’s take one of our favorite weeknight meals, baked pasta with veggies.  Start with cooking whole grain pasta (we use quinoa) and figure out the protein you’d like to add.Once the pasta’s cooked and drained, add to a large bowl and mix in all your veggies, herbs and seasoning.  Then, spoon some pasta out into a separate bowl; I sometimes add grass-fed beef that I’ve already cooked for my youngest, place into a baking dish and pop into the oven. Next, add beans to the remaining pasta top with a bit of our favorite local, raw-milk cheese and bake in a larger container.  This way one meal can now be enjoyed in 2 different ways, but the overall process, prep and cook time is much simpler.

    Looking for a lighter spin on pasta, try these awesome recipes.

    Low-Carb Spinach Pesto Pasta Salad
    Vegan, Noodle-Free Alfredo Zucchini Pasta
    Sweet Lime Quinoa Pasta Salad

  1. Sunday is “Everything in the Fridge” Juice Day.
    Sunday mornings we love making our favorite cinnamon gluten-free waffles with a glass of fresh juice.  Since Sunday is my prep day for the week, I like to clean out the fridge.  Rather than compost or toss leftovers or about-to-expire produce…juice it.  During the week, I collect uneaten apple slices, carrots, berries or any other produce that finds its way back home in my kids’ lunch boxes.   I add in bits and pieces not used in creating salads, like the ends of carrots, kale stalks and strawberry stems.  Come Sunday morning, I’ve got a bag full of fruits and veggies ready to juice along with fresh produce I’ve picked up at Saturday’s Farmers Market.   The juicer provides an opportunity to ingest the parts that you may not typically eat.  I like knowing that we’re being mindful to use the whole fruit or vegetable in terms of waste, cost savings and nutrition.

 If you want to learn more, join me and Joe Cross at Camp Reboot this year on July 26th – 31st. There’s still time to sign up so register today. 

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Stacy Kennedy, MPH, RD, CSO, LDN; Reboot Nutritionist

Stacy is a Board Certified Specialist in Oncology Nutrition and an Integrative Nutritionist. She consults for various companies, focusing on health, wellness and innovative strategies to help increase individual’s fruit and vegetable intake. Stacy is an American College of Sports Medicine Certified Health Fitness Specialist; she holds a BS degree in Dietetics from Indiana University, completed her dietetic internship at Massachusetts General Hospital, and earned a Masters in Public Health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is a Senior Clinical Nutritionist at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute/Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School teaching affiliates, in Boston, MA, with more than 20 years of experience. Stacy created and now serves as project manager and lead writer for nutrition services content on the Dana Farber website and the affiliated, nationally recognized nutrition app. Stacy is regularly featured on TV, radio, print and social media on behalf of Dana Farber and other organizations. Together with her husband, Dr. Russell Kennedy PsyD, they have a private practice, Wellness Guides, LLC. Stacy is an adjunct professor in Wellness and Health Coaching at William James College, currently teaching a graduate course in Health Coaching. Stacy is featured in the award winning documentary films, “Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead” and “Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead 2,” and serves on the Reboot with Joe Medical Advisory Board. Stacy lives in Wellesley with her husband, two sons and three dogs. She enjoys cooking, yoga, hiking and spending time with friends and family. Stacy is also one of the nutritionists who runs our Guided Reboot programs.

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