Staging your kitchen for success is essential when it comes to eating clean or eating foods in their natural and unprocessed state. One of the most common obstacles preventing us from achieving our goals is a lack of proper planning and preparation for clean eating. Proper kitchen prep will be a huge asset in achieving the goal of living a healthier life.
- Plan your week. Plan your meals for the week ahead. Don’t do this mindlessly. Rather, take a moment. What are you craving? Always take your schedule into consideration. Do you have late meetings or appointments this week? Then select a dinner you can heat up in a Crock-Pot, or plan to double a recipe from the previous evening to allow for easy leftovers.
- Create a list. After you’ve chosen your meals for the week, taking into consideration your schedule and food preferences, review the needed ingredients and create your shopping list. When you go to the store, only shop from your list. As the weeks go by, this step will help you to discover and track the foods that are easiest for you to prepare and also keep you feeling satisfied, nourished and fueled for every day. You’ll also find that only shopping from your list decreases your grocery bill and also decreases food waste. Now you know you’ll use the chicken or the spinach that you purchased by week’s end, because it’s on your weekly menu. No more tossing out that healthy food you bought with good intentions but never got around to eating. Select your menu. Create a shopping list. You have a plan!
- Chop vegetables, make dips and dressings for the week. Prepare these so they’re in your fridge and ready for you when you’re hungry. Prepare, then store in the refrigerator in BPA-free containers or glass Mason jars. This small accomplishment will put you farther along the path of preparation. You’ll feel the calm and control begin to set in!
- Precook. Take the time to precook your proteins for the week, then store in the refrigerator or freezer. Grill, broil or bake your protein, slice it up, then store in the correct portion amount for easy access. If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, make sure you always have plant-based proteins available. Make your decision to eat healthy as fast, easy and fun as you can!
- Cook once, eat twice (or more!). Go big or go home. Make double, triple or even quadruple portions of your dishes for easy leftovers and freezer storage. No one ever said that every dinner for seven days has to be different. I like repeats! If you find one meal that really works for you and keeps you satiated, happy and really looking forwarding to sitting down at the table again, allow yourself to enjoy it! If your day looks beyond busy, then plan for a second helping of yesterday’s lunch for tonight’s dinner. Just pop that portion out of the freezer and warm it in a Crock-Pot. This will also help when an unplanned event pops up in your week. If a day becomes one of “those days”, at least you know you have an equally healthy and delicious backup in the freezer!
Dustin Bogle is a personal trainer at Kokomo Fitness in Hesperia. Contact him at KokomoFitness.com or (760) 995-3366