Food Prep for weight loss success
I've just finished an hour in the kitchen chopping, boiling, whizzing and weighing food for the purpose of being nutritionally organised this week for all my meals.
Now the way I see it, this one single hour out of my 168 hour week amounts to approximately 0.5% of my time (yes that is HALF a percent). But that half a percent will ensure 100% success at sticking to nutritionally supportive foods this week.
Organisation with food is one of the big hurdles we face as 'dieters' (I'm not totally down with the word dieters by the way). An unprepared lunch can have the ability to send us off our food plans for the rest of the day! If we don't prepare, then we're left open to temptation and convenience.
There are 5 things we need to do:
- Know what we're eating. Those of us on weight loss plans pretty much know what we're going to be eating, you might be a wrap person or a salad person, no matter what we eat, as 'dieters' we tend to stick to a similar pattern. The food plans I give my clients are virtually set out like a shopping list - too easy!
- Stock up on the food we need. Make an appointment with yourself to be at the supermarket once a week and get into the habit of sticking to that time. If you know that you're going to have tuna salad at every lunch this week...then make sure you buy 7 tins of tuna (or more if you have a partner who's going to get into your stash)
- Make sure we have the equipment. Containers, freezer bags, salad dressing bottles, measuring spoons, cups and scales. And of course, things to cook with.
- Do a once a week food prep. The hospitality trade does it, and it'll work wonders for you too. Perhaps you've decided that this week you've gotta a hankering to eat chicken stirfry for lunch. Why not prep 5 portions and put them in containers and freeze? As for me this week, I'm having tuna, salad and rice with flaxseed oil dressing for lunch. I've made enough rice for the week which is in a container in the fridge, I have all my tuna for the week and a bag of salad that I don't have to chop #joy. I've also made enough dressing for the week.
- Take advantage of your wonderful organisation. When Monday morning rolls around all I have to do is put my lunchbox on the scale, weigh out my cooked rice, dump in a tin of tuna, grab a handful of salad, and measure 4tsp of my prepared dressing...and do you know how long that takes? Under 60 seconds. #noexcuses.
There's no need to get up extra early to make lunch, and there's no need to get in a flap about preparing food - just a little planning and prep once a week is all it takes. It's not obsessive, in fact once a week planning takes away a lot of the day to day thought about food.
Here are some other things I did this week to prepare and the reasons why....you may get some ideas yourself. But first, a little background about my kitchen. My kitchen is tiny and yes I'll challenge you to a tiny kitchen competition any day. This is a temporary situation, but I still need to work with it and not go and eat whatever. My cooking facilities are also pretty minimal, as is fridge and freezer space. This is what I did today:
- I had a whole heap of nearly expired broccolli and cabbage in the fridge, due to the restrictiveness in my kitchen and the lateness that I get home I often just opt for frozen veg, but today I got the food processor out and in 10 minutes I had a whole bowl of chopped brocc and cabbage, that I can just chuck into stirfries...yay now I don't have to cut it when I get home from work and I don't have to stress about it just sitting there.
- Similarly, I had half a pumpkin in the fridge. I hate cutting pumpkin, but my dad made me a pumpkin guillotine, so today I chopped my whole pumpkin and it too is in a container in the fridge.
- I needed meal and snack sized portions of rice, so I weighed out the rice and boiled it up. Then I weighed it after cooking and divided that by the amount of portions I needed. As you know rice absorbs water, and depending how much water you have in your rice, will determine what the cooked weight portion size will be. So now I know for this coming week, my 25g of uncooked rice will be 60g cooked. I must have been a bit heavy on the water last week, as the cooked portion last week was actually 100g cooked...interesting huh!
- I also weighed, bagged and froze my chicken portions, easy just to pull out of the freezer and into the fridge overnight to be thawed for dinner. Normally I cut my chicken into smaller bits, as again, I really need minimal food prep at nights.
Another idea is to cook up a whole chicken, shred it and keep it in a container in the fridge so that you always have 'deli' meat available.
I always make sure there are eggs in the fridge. Eggs are pretty tasty and so easy to whip up quickly when we really can't bring ourselves to prepare a meal. Throw mixed veg in with a couple of eggs and egg whites, whisk up with some dried herbs and cook into an omelette. I also treat my kitchen scale as an extension of my bench top, if anything needs to be weighed the bowl goes on the scale and not the bench...easy, no extra time used up at all.
As 'they' say: Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance and the same applies for our success in weight loss.