If you want to get serious about changing your eating habits, you must accept the fact that healthy eating requires more cooking and prep time in your kitchen, and less eating out. So let’s start down the path of making this happen!
So let's get started!
1. Create a kitchen environment that supports your success.
Is your kitchen clean and organized? This is a great time to de-clutter the corners, cabinets and junk drawers in your kitchen. Make sure to have your favorite cooking tools in clear site, and easy to get to. Are there tools you could add to make your kitchen more inviting or user friendly? For example, I love my 16 slice apple cutter, it's a MUST in our kitchen. I also keep my mixer in a handy place so that I have it ready to mix up my sugar free Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse when I need to make more.
Do you need to reorganize your refrigerator? Are the healthy foods easy to find and at your fingertips, in the pantry and refrigerator? Have you pretty much eliminated the processed foods from your world? I make sure that my blueberries, hummus and veggies are on the shelf that I see when I open the door.
2. Create a grocery list that supports your success.
I am all about efficiency. It drives me crazy when I buy something at the grocery store that I already have in my kitchen - a waste of time, energy and money. So, I do spend a few minutes taking inventory of my freezer, the vegetable and meat drawers in my refrigerator, and my food pantry (although, honestly I don't use that area as much, since I have been "eating clean.")
Next, I think through the week to determine what foods I already have, what food items need to go on my grocery list, and how I can prepare ahead of time.
For breakfast, I am making eggs cooked in coconut oil (since I am looking for ways to add coconut oil to my diet) pretty much every day, sometimes with fruit, no-nitrate bacon or "clean" sausage. I still have blueberries, apples and fresh pears, so I probably don't need to buy fruit right now. I am getting low on eggs, so I'll pick up 18-count Eggland's Best.
In my lunch pictured here (which has been my go-to lunch this week), I know that I am getting low on my favorite hummus, so I will need to add that to my shopping list.
For dinner, I bought a large pack of chicken breasts at Sam's that I re-packaged into two-packs, and froze. I have marinated turkey cutlets, and chuck roast (for crockpot nights) also in the freezer. We are good on potatoes to go with the roasts. I also have a cauliflower, but very low on salad fixings.
Snacks: For a salty snack, I like cheese sticks or mixed nuts.
For a sweet snack, I like my Mascarpone Mousse. I'm stocked for both.
- no-nitrate bacon, romaine lettuce, green beans, carrots
- other vegetables as desired
- maybe avocados depending on price
3. Create grab-n-go foods that support your success.
In the beginning, it will be difficult to carve out “food prep” time. But, as you will see, the rewards later in the week are huge. Schedule 60 minutes to spend in your kitchen making your foods “grab-n-go” for later in the week. Preheat your oven to 450. Wrap 3 to 6 small baked potatoes in foil wrap and place in your preheated oven for 1 hour. While those are cooking, pull out the fresh vegetables that you purchased, chop them up the way that you like them, and pack them in sandwich baggies. Also, put together your “rainbow’ salad for the week, named for all of the colorful vegetables you will add, like romaine lettuce, spinach, cherry tomatoes, orange and yellow peppers, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, and other favorites. You can also add 1 chopped apple, 1 cup pecans or almonds (preferably toasted) and 1 cup feta cheese or shredded cheddar. Vegetables done!
Next, it’s time to prepare some of your meat for the week. You may want to put a pork roast in the oven, while you grill or pan fry a chicken breasts and hamburgers. Once those are cooked, place immediately in covered containers in the refrigerator for cooling to less than 40 degrees.
You may also want to prepare your crockpot meal at this time. A beef chuck roast, carrots, potatoes and onions are a good choice. After salt and peppering the roast, sear in olive oil over medium heat and place in your ceramic crockpot insert. Cover with 2-inch cut potatoes, carrots and onions. Season as desired. Again, place in refrigerator to cool to less than 40 degrees. When you wake up Monday morning, put ceramic insert into your crockpot and set for 8 hours.
Healthy eating is a lifestyle. Set yourself up for success by organizing your kitchen, making shopping lists, and taking time to organize your meals and cook for the whole week.
By Donna Webb, RD, CDE