If you’re like me, spending a lot of time in the kitchen isn’t a top priority. But that can really be especially bad when we’re trying to lose weight or eat healthier.
One thing that I struggle with is being tired at the end of the day and just grabbing whatever there is to eat. Or ordering a pizza or going through a drive through for dinner. I may even have chicken breasts and fresh broccoli in the refrigerator, but I ignore them, plop on the sofa and open my Domino’s app.
Many weight loss plans are billed as easy and fast. And I’m sure some are. But for the most part, eating healthy is something that requires planning, shopping, prep and cooking. It’s something that we just need to expect as we change our dietary habits.
But there’s hope for culinary laziness. One thing I do if I have time is to prep my food in the morning before work or earlier in the day. I have more energy at that time, and the fact that I don’t “have” to do it right then is really freeing. If you have the time, that may be a good option for you too.
When dinner rolls around it’s pretty easy to assemble it all together.
A few more tips for making this task a little easier are:
- Keep track of recipes in a way that works for you. (You can read about how I organize my recipes on Pinterest here.)
- Have some easy meals that you can whip up easily without going to the store, such as spaghetti and sauce.
- Keep meals simple. Instead of a complicated recipe that calls for 15 ingredients, have an easy meal such as turkey burgers on buns and frozen veggies.
- Prepare in advance (at least a little). This week I bought BOGO chicken breasts and when I trimmed the first package to cook, I took a little extra time to trim the second package. Next time it will be much easier to cook that chicken.
- Cook in advance (at least a little). Making a double recipe of chili is just as easy as making a single recipe. Throw half of it in a freezer ziplock bag for one of those lazy evenings.
- Rely on semi-ready mades. When I do make a casserole, I often buy rotisserie chicken and dice it. Then I put 2 cups in a ziplock bag and use the other 2 cups for the current recipe I’m making. (Any extra goes to Bella!) Ready made bagged salads and diced veggies from the produce section are great time-savers too. My favorite is diced butternut squash; I hate cutting that hard stuff up!
- Label things for future ideas. As I mentioned in #6 above, I have a bag of diced chicken waiting in the freezer, but this one has a label reading “Lemon Bowtie Pasta with Chicken” on it. It’s a quick reminder of what I plan on doing with it so it will be easier to shop and cook that night.
- Keep a list of a few favorite recipes and the needed ingredients in your purse or in the notes on your phone so you can easily stop by the store to pick up something after work.
- Keep a post it on the outside of your refrigerator with meals (or components of meals) you have in the fridge and freezer. It’s so easy to forget about that bag of frozen ravioli that made it’s way to the back of the freezer.
- Like I said earlier in this post, find a time that you actually enjoy cooking. Maybe the morning is good for prepping. There are even times that I prep dinner the night before just before going to bed. As strange as it sounds, it really works for me.
Losing weight, or just eating healthier, takes a fair amount of work. If we neglect that part of our healthy lifestyle we’re headed for frustration. But if we face this situation head on we’ll be better prepared for a successful evening meal.