One of your New Year’s resolution for 2020 must have included eating better or adopting a healthy lifestyle. The first quarter of the year is already gone and you might feel as if that goal is becoming a little far-fetched especially since we are all on lockdown. While it may not be the best of times to guarantee a wide array of food items to choose from, for your daily meals, it is definitely a great time to practice meal preparation, a habit you could carry on to the future!
Like you, I am almost always in a dilemma of what to cook, what groceries to buy to avoid monotony and so on and so forth. It can be overwhelming especially if you are preparing the meals for many people. But here are some quick tips to help you prepare that meal whether you perceive yourself to be the best chef or not.
Understand your individual needs and jot down what you would like to eat, keeping in mind your calorie needs depending on your current goals, conditions, prescriptions and so on and so forth. I suggest keeping a food diary of everything you eat for one week and then choosing what you would like to traditionally keep preparing and what you need to do away with. Do this for yourself and/or your family and ensure you make a meal plan. (You can also purchase a general meal plan from my website here https://www.ask-thenutritionist.com/shop/ )
The plan can be for a whole week or even a spreadsheet of your daily food preferences or trials you might have been coveting or thinking about. Decide on a schedule for you or your family to avoid last-minute “cooking whatever is available” scenario.
Go over your kitchen equipment and spot the pots that you might need to help you prepare the meals that you chose. I recommend stocking up on good storage boxes with lids and zip-top bags to ensure that you can refrigerate your food after preparation safely. These would come in handy if you like to cook once or twice within the week and gain control over your indulging habits.
Shop for the Groceries
Having an actual list of your groceries versus trying to keep a track of everything in your head will ensure that you buy only what you will not regret eating. Shopping within the peripheries of the Supermarket ensures that you have healthier options as opposed to picking up items from the store isles. Remember, its never about the quantity, rather the quality of the food you choose that will make the difference. As a rule of the thumb, “If you did not buy it, you won’t consume it”.
Prepare your Meals
For variety sake, it is recommended to prepare the food separately especially if you are a first-time cook. You can separate the proteins, vegetables, and carbohydrates and cook them in different pots to ensure that you can mix and match them within the week especially if you are prepping for individual consumption.
You can then portion out the meals into different containers, labeling them and stocking them up for the week. This can also enable you to avoid having to cook several different pots for any special needs in your household as well as different types of seasoning For food safety, cool the containers before refrigerating.
Of course, this may not always be practical especially during the current times. If you feel you might be consuming larger than normal portions, consciously evaluate the size of your plate.
You can then divide it into three portions. Half of which would have the vegetables, the other quarter carbohydrates, and the other quarter proteins. You can begin a habit of serving your vegetables first, followed by the proteins and then the carbohydrates last. That way you avoid the guilt of mounting up your plate with too much.
While it is easier said than done sometimes, you can slowly begin to enjoy the meal preparation and slowly close into your goal of achieving a better lifestyle! You are what you eat, so do it right.