A few comments I have heard lately from family and friends got me thinking about what makes it so hard to stick to a healthy eating plan.. apart from the obvious: cravings for comfort and convenience foods.
The main thing about healthy eating is to dump the junk and for me that is most or anything that comes in a package. If it needs a label to tell me what's in it and the ingredient list sounds like a science project - forget it!
The biggest change from processed food to whole foods is that you now have to do the processing yourself - washing, chopping, cooking and packaging and then there is the clean up ~sigh~ that sounds like hard work!! But, is it really??
In the time it takes to heat up a frozen dinner full of chemicals and preservatives you can saute a piece of chicken, cook some broccoli and assemble a salad, make stir fried veggies with chicken or any other protein: 10-15 mins max. Yes, there will be dishes but not a lot of plastic going in the trash :)
This isn't my first go-round on the Plan, or any plan for that matter.. I have found that planning and prepping is important - do a little work up front and then you can be lazy afterwards.
I love to cook in batches and have plenty of leftovers for the fridge or freezer - I make my own "convenience foods"
Here are few tips:
- always have a big bowl of the chopped salad on hand, leave out the items that go mushy (like the avocado and tomatoes)
- have roasted or stir fried veggies in individual portions in fridge or freezer
- soup frozen in portions
- cooked chicken in 3-4 oz portions
- broccoli cooks in 3-4 mins in the microwave or 5-8 mins on the stove
- cook a pot of rice, cool and freeze in 3/4 cup portions - ziplock sandwich bags work great for that
This way you always have a meal handy!
Here are a couple of the meals I have had in the last few days
Chicken and chopped salad
Salad topped with roasted veggies (out of the freezer) topped with manchego cheese
Now I can hear some of you say: "well.. it's easy for you, you don't have kids to feed"
True, not anymore but I used to and I used a similar principle - batch cooking and freezing, crockpot meals (dump it in the pot in morning and have dinner at night) We lived in the boonies - no no easy take out or pizza delivery! Once a week or 10 days grocery shopping only.
I used to have meals like chili, stew, enchiladas, curry, lasagna and spaghetti sauce in my freezer for a quick meal when we were busy and didn't have a lot of time to cook. Still, cooking a meal of meat, potatoes and veggies doesn't take all that long - even at high altitude (where everything takes longer to cook) a meal can be ready in about half an hour.
Ok - I did have a dishwasher in those days... the last 5 years that's been me :)