Wellness For The Family: Ice Cube Tray Hacks, Self care

The best cooks constantly try new things—and the rest of us take their advice.

No matter which person you are when it comes to the kitchen, the teacher or the learner, Registered Dietician Grace Derocha, with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, has a few tips to help.

And she also has a few tips on self-care for a loaded plate, coming from experience in her own busy life.

Ice Cube Tray Hacks

Nowadays, fewer families have time to prepare dinner at home. In fact, most American families report they eat a single meal together less than five days a week. This is often due to lack of time, as working parents may opt for easier options such as fast food, eating out or frozen TV dinners.

But eating homemade meals as a family saves money, and can help prepare children for a lifetime of better health. Research shows children who eat a meal with their family at least five days a week or more will be at a lower risk for drug and alcohol addiction, maintain a healthier diet, perform better academically and form a closer relationship with their parents.

One way to help busy families eat together is to cut down on meal preparation time. To do this, try using ice cube trays to make weekday preparation less stressful and time-consuming.

Save homemade soups and stews

Make a large pot of soup or stew for dinner one night, then pour the leftovers into ice trays.

When you want to make the soup again, you can control the portions for kids and only re-heat the amount you know your family will eat that night.

Remember to wait until your soup is cool before storing it in the freezer.

Save fruit that’s about to go bad

If you have fruit that’s a few days from spoiling – especially small fruits like strawberries or blueberries – consider saving them in ice trays. You’ll be able to use them as infused ice cubes in iced tea or water pitchers.

Re-purpose your saucesRepurposing sauces can help spice up a new dish or recreate the original meal.

After letting the original sauce you’ve made cool, separate it into large bags or freezer-safe containers.

If you’re working with different kinds of sauces, be sure to label them so you aren’t repurposing for the wrong dish.

Frozen chocolate-covered strawberries

Instead of devoting hours to baking a dessert, place chocolate at the bottom of ice cube compartments then place a strawberry in each one. Freeze, remove and enjoy!

Pour leftover drinks into ice trays rather than down the drain

Not only does this hack cut down on waste, but it also keeps future drinks cool without diluting them.

This works especially well with coffee or wine.

Self Care Tips

For those living fast-paced, busy lifestyles, it’s important to take a step back and simplify our lives.

We can start by slowing down, tuning into nature, enjoying the simple things in life, cluttering and striving for balance.

Mindfulness is a state of intentional focus on the present moment; it involves observing, acknowledging and accepting the feelings, thoughts and sensations around you. Studies show that mindfulness has the ability to improve mood, reduce stress, improve brain function and help cope with pain. According to the American Psychological Association, it can also:

  • Decrease symptoms of depression
  • Boost memory
  • Increase focus
  • Enhance reflexes
  • Boost relationship satisfaction.

There are many ways to practice mindfulness throughout the day – even one minute a day can health benefits. Some examples of self-care include:

Meditating

Meditation has been shown to reduce stress, control anxiety, promote emotional health, enhance self-awareness, lengthen attention span, improve sleep, help control pain and decrease blood pressure.

Meditation and mindfulness can be practiced anywhere, so if you have five spare minutes at work or before bed, close your eyes and take a few moments for yourself.

Break screen-time

Take time to focus on what’s around you

Spend time in nature

Take short walks in the morning, at work or after dinner time

Create something

Whether it’s through crafting, gardening or cooking, take time to be creative.

Journal

Capture your reflections on your life’s purpose and mission.

Practice gratitude

Take time to either write or say the things you are thankful for.

Stretch and move

Being active will help your physical, mental and spiritual health.

Practice random acts of kindness

This helps promote peace and well-being.

Practice mindful eating

Take time to be more conscious of what food you eat (the taste, texture, smell) and enjoy every single bite.

Listen generously

Make it your goal to fully listen to what others say to you, without getting lost in your thoughts or responding quickly.

For more recipes and health and wellness tips, visit AHealthierMichigan.org.

Categories: the four, Wellness for the Family, Wellness Wednesday – the four