Being organised is probably the single most important element for good nutrition and making sure your macronutrient goals are met.
But that doesn't mean you should need to spend hours upon hours in the kitchen, slaving away over your stovetop. Below are some key tips to help you prepare, cook and plan your weekly meals more efficiently and effectively:
- Shop at least once a week if you can and buy ahead for next week's meals. That way you have a clear vision of what recipes you will cook which reduces the chance of ordering a pizza when the fridge shelves become empty or you are lacking creativity in the kitchen.
- Always, always, always, restock the fridge and pantry before shelves get too low! This reduces the chance of you choosing other poorer types of packaged foods if good food is already in sight and ready to cook with!
- Prepare a couple of staple meals on the weekend and freeze them, ready for the nights when the kids footy training runs over or you simply have had an extra-long day and don't feel like cooking. You can hit defrost or throw in the oven and know your nutrition won't be compromised because you are lacking time.
- Keep a whole chicken (or roast) in the fridge every week! This is one of my best tricks! These are so easy to throw in the oven with some veg and you have a tasty roast dinner with minimal effort, or you can make an easy chicken and vegetable soup or even a warm chicken salad. So many recipes you can make with a cooked chicken!
- Choose simple recipes that only require 6 or so ingredients that you will use again! There is nothing worse than cooking a recipe with hard-to-find ingredients that you will only use once!
- Make a double batch of ingredients so you can use the following night in another recipe.
- Make too much of everything so you have leftovers in the fridge for a 'on-the-go' quick snack or even for when you might feel tempted to reach for that packet of biscuits. Some leftover turkey patties are far better for you than a chocolate bar.
- Cook it slowly! For those too busy to cook in the evenings or just want to come home to dinner already made, use a slow cooker and put your dinner on before you leave the house. There is great nutritional value in slow cooing your food as well! Food retains loads of its good nutrition when it is cooked for a long time on a low temperature.
- Invest in a couple of labour-saving gadgets (one of my personal favourites!) You don't need a state-of-the-art kitchen with lots of fancy gadgets but if you can afford it, there are a couple of items that can make life so much easier and quicker in the kitchen for you:
- A Blender or NutriBullet: This is not only fantastic for breakfast smoothies and protein shakes, but you can almost blend anything in them - I make fresh pesto, sweet potato mash, raw slices, purees, everything!
- A Griddle Pan: Not only are these fantastic for anyone who doesn't want to use the BBQ in the rain, they also add excellent flavour to grilled vegetables. Such a diverse piece of equipment.
- A Spiraliser: These are the latest trend when creating "carb-less" pasta, as they turn vegetables into noodles. You can use on zucchini to make a pasta free Bolognese, throw zucchini noodles through a stir fry or you can even use it on sweet potato or even apples. Be as creative as you like!
Good wholesome nutrition coupled with portion control is the main ingredient to your weight loss success, so by adopting a few of these little tricks, the kitchen will have you making "abs" in no time! After all, abs are made in the kitchen, not in the gym!