Get in the Kitchen

By , SparkPeople Blogger
It seems that one of the biggest obstacles folks have to maintaining a healthy lifestyle is the kitchen. 

Cooking healthy and fresh food isn’t as daunting as it seems. You just have to approach it like you approach exercising. Plan your time.Be proactive. 

Here’s the deal: the Spark rule is to start with 10 minutes of fitness a day, right? This way you aren’t overwhelmed, but you still receive the benefit.  Shouldn’t this same rule be applied to the kitchen? I know it can be overwhelming to attempt to plan your week ahead of time in this fast and furious time that we live in.

Here are a few pieces of advice to help you GET IN THE KITCHEN:

The first thing I want you to think about is this: Be intentional. We don’t exercise mindlessly; we shouldn’t eat that way either. Should we really fly by the seat of our pants when it comes to our nutrition, or should we be intentional about it? Shouldn't we know WHAT/HOW much we are eating? If we are ‘off the cuff’, we aren’t being intentional at all. 

Secondly, I hope you aren’t still buying your meals through a drive thru window, but if you are, wouldn’t it be wonderful if the meals could be brought home and eaten at your kitchen table and not in the car or in front of the TV? How intentional is that? 

In order to start moving in the right direction, start by planning your meals.  Write out a menu for the week.  Take the time and plan the menu according to your schedule for the next week.  Take everything into account.  Know your family's schedule and commitments for the week.  Everything on your family calendar is a part of this planning process. Then, when you go to the grocery store, shop with a purpose for the week. This will help prevent the unnecessary purchases we always make.  I think that you may be surprised that this task alone will help you make better choices for the week ahead.

But wait, you aren’t a cook? You need some help? Did you realize that SparkRecipes is full of great ideas?  Did you know that many of these are simple to prepare?  PERFECT for the beginner!  Of course there is also the SparkPeople cookbook that is FULL of great stuff.  I received a copy for Christmas and we have tried several items that were delicious.  Don’t be scared; be courageous about this new adventure in the kitchen.

Now that you have made your menu and purchased exactly what you need for the week, it’s time to get in the kitchen.  You have all the tools you need; it’s time to do it.
At first, this step can be time-consuming, but it does get easier with practice.

Once you have a routine established, I would invite you to get the family involved.
If you’ve followed any of my blogs, you may know that my family is involved with everything. That’s our lifestyle and we enjoy it. Some of our best laughs are when the four of us are all in the kitchen preparing a meal together.  
The really cool thing about cooking fresh food for yourself is that, just like exercising, this is a part of taking your life back. It puts you in control of exactly what you are choosing to fuel your body with.  When you order food that someone else prepares, whether it is in a fast food or sit down restaurant, or even a prepackaged meal from the freezer section of your grocery store, you are giving someone else the control over what you are putting in your body.

You say you can’t plan an entire week ahead? Ok, start by planning for next day.  Be intentional about that day.  Follow your meal plan, bringing your meals with you from YOUR kitchen.  Be intentional about making this ONE DAY a success.  Small successes like this will add up and eventually this will become your lifestyle.

Get in the kitchen, first with your pen and paper to plan your week. Plan your menu. Be INTENTIONAL about the entire process. Then get cooking.

It’s time to get in the kitchen and put yourself in control of what you fuel your body with.

Do you cook as a family? Do you plan your meals ahead of time? What are some of your favorite meals to prepare?