It’s great to be young at heart but sometimes you need to be responsible for your health and for your family’s health. Being a responsible adult can be tough especially when you have conflicting needs and wants, but sometimes you just have to put in the effort because the reward will be greater than the effort.
In today’s post I’m not here to offend you but simply to remind you that sometimes we need to change and grow so we can do what’s actually best for ourselves – and trust me, I used to do all the wrong things for myself so I have been where you are. I’ve gone through the self doubt and the anguish and in the end decided it wasn’t worth it. So I learnt to cook so I wouldn’t worry about getting sick from foods full of preservatives, or from a lack of nutrition in my life. I had self doubts about my cooking abilities, but as I tried new things I learnt more, got comfortable with new techniques and developed a taste for foods I never thought I’d ever eat.
And now I feel happier and healthier than at any other time in my life. And its not because I feel like an adult on the inside; its because I act like an adult on the outside so the kid inside me can have a long and fun life without the need for hospital visits, preventable diseases or a lack of mobility as I age.
When we leave home for the first time we’re not always equipped with the cooking skills we need. Its been a few generations since we were taught to cook before we left home, and many of us go off to university without a clue about how to feed ourselves good meals that give us the energy we need to survive study and exams. A lot of us turn to fast foods, packaged foods and often too much alcohol. And in our 20s it all seems to somehow work itself out but once you turn 30 things seem to catch up with you. It’s harder to lose the weight we gained from convenience foods that didn’t satisfy us, and we feel less fit and healthy.
My advice to you if you’re in you’re 20s is don’t wait until you’re 30 to take control of your life. Start eating good food now. Don’t worry about what your fellow students say, or what your friends might think about you. Sure, bringing your own lunch to uni isn’t cool, but it will certainly pay you back in the long run when you are fit and sexy at 35 and your friends are struggling with obesity and can’t walk further than from the carpark to their cubicle desk.
It’s never too late to start taking control of your life through the foods you eat, so don’t wait a minute longer. Put down that doughnut, back away from the chips and avoid that late night greasy kebab or pizza slice. I can guarantee you that you won’t like it at first, and will find it difficult when no one else is doing it, but pick yourself back up and get back on that wagon. No one ever changed a habit the first time, but with persistence you can, so don’t worry that you ate a doughnut today and just forget about the chips you’ll probably automatically eat next week, and tell yourself you can do this.
Tell yourself: I am going to eat like a responsible adult!
Now, I know that everyone is busy. I work full time, write 3 blog posts a week, go to the gym and cook healthy meals every night for my husband and myself. Somewhere in there I get to sleep, spend the occasional afternoon with a friend and manage to explore my city every other weekend. So, I know busy, and yet here I am able to eat like an adult.
Do you know what the key to my success has been? It’s so simple and obvious yet so many people don’t do it: its planning! I plan out a month’s meals in advance, I shop for a week’s groceries at once, I am just starting to prepare some parts of my weekly meals on Sunday nights and I make sure I prepare my breakfast the night before. The only way I can eat well and have healthy food is by planning it onto my life.
If you have no idea how you’re going to plan a new eating and cooking regime into your life, read the following posts:
- What does planning ahead actually look like?
- Plan your way to success in 2016 (or any other year).
- 6 tips for menu planning that works
- Your 3 part plan to improving your cooking skills
- Organisation in the kitchen
- Arranging your kitchen for best results
- Basic stock items for your pantry
- Basic stock items for your fridge and freezer
As adult eaters there are some basic things we need to consider to make sure we are giving ourselves the best chance at a healthy life. Below I have listed some of the best responsible adult features you should consider when making better food choices and when learning to cook from scratch (or somewhat from scratch).
- Responsible adults are busy yet can still fit in time for making their own meals each day. They don’t just rely on other people for food and can fend for themselves.
- They consider their food choices and try to eat balanced meals. This means eating a variety of fresh and healthy foods, not just the same food source every night.
- Adults aren’t too hung up on counting proportions of micro nutrients like omega 3s or zinc. Instead they try to balance out their meals across the week so they know they will have consumed a bit of everything and have eaten all the nutrients they’re supposed to be getting. They don’t need to measure it out every day, nor do they need to worry about taking supplements because their diet is insufficient in nutrients.
- Responsible adults plan variety into their meal choices because they know that eating a bit of everything is more satisfying than eating the same things each day, or trying to restrict themselves from eating so called ‘bad’ foods.
- They have learnt to cook, at least to a basic level, so they can make their own meals and know the difference between healthy and unhealthy meals.
- Responsible adults are clever with their cooking and use clever short cuts where they can – such as using tins of vegetables and beans or buying precooked rice to save time or having prepared meals ahead on the weekends to save time during the week.
- They use the ‘clean as you go’ method to make sure the kitchen area is clean for cooking each time they enter the kitchen. Clean as you go means cleaning away mess and wiping up spills as they happen so that bacteria and other nasties don’t invade your kitchen, your cooking or your food.
- Responsible adults work smarter not harder, because they use the cook once and eat twice method – in other words they know that when you expend effort in the kitchen it doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from it more than once.
- They plan meals ahead but are flexible when plans change. They always have something on hand for emergencies or if guests suddenly arrive, and don’t get too hung up about missing a meal on the menu planner (they just shuffle it into the plan later in the week).
- Responsible adults know when to stay on track and when to let loose because they have a general sense of how well they are eating. They know they can have dessert sometimes and aren’t compulsively tracking their calorie or fat or protein intake.
- Responsible adults use fresh ingredients as often as they can and as much as they can fit into their budgets because they know fresher is better for their health and the health of their family. They don’t spend a lot of money on food they won’t eat, and save money for the foods they really want and know will benefit them. They rarely go over their grocery budget because a new chocolate bar or brand new flavour of chips was on special.
- They are also conscious of how much waste they are creating and try to manage it so they are creating less food waste. They freeze leftover foods and eat them later for lunches or dinners, they can take leftovers and create something new with them the next night (like my casserole pie), and they don’t throw away perfectly good food if its rolled on the floor for a second or two (just wash it off – there are pesticides that will do more damage than a little bit of fluff will).
All in all, responsible adults have confidence in the kitchen. They know their limitations, use these as strengths and learn what they don’t know. They try to eat a wide variety of meals and make sure they get a few treats each week (but they don’t go overboard on the chocolate).
So if you’re young and healthy and want to stay that way, start cooking some of your meals from scratch. If you’re not so young and want to stay young at heart, then its not too late to make a few changes now too. Whatever you do, try something new today and you’ll be amazed at the difference you feel. You don’t need to go overboard, just try to do a few more things that you know are good for you and try to act like an adult most of the time.