Not everyone loves cooking, and that’s okay.
However, when you prepare your own food, you know exactly what is in it when it comes to quantity and quality of ingredients.
Cooking your own food is also a very important reoccurring theme amongst some of my most successful clients when it comes to weight loss. When you look at how many calories are packed into most restaurant foods and fast food chains, it is easy to see how one could easily shoot past their calorie goals.
When you prepare your own food at home, you add the sauces, you add the fats, you add the sugars, all in whatever amount you want. If you are into tracking your intakes, this is one of the easiest ways to make your food fit your goals.
So why don’t more of us prepare food at home?
It’s too hard.
It takes too much time.
It never tastes good.
I get it, it CAN be all of those things – but it doesn’t have to be. Just like anything else in life, it takes practice to be cook at cooking. It takes practice to learn what flavors taste good together, and how long it takes to prepare certain meals.
The following are some of my favorite things to use in the kitchen – to make healthy meals, quick meals, and of course delicious meals.
1. When You Have No Clue Where to Start…
Get a good cookbook. Collect a few. I have nothing against cookbooks, even ones from certain diet followings (Adkins, ZONE, etc.). You can learn from these cookbooks, and with cookbooks from Adkins which promote low-carb diets, these can be helpful if at the end of the day you want to make a low-carb dinner, because you already reached your allotted carb goal for the day.
The best cookbooks for those of us trying to be health conscious are the ones that list calories and macros. My latest favorite has been Eat What You Love – Quick and Easy.
I have made many recipes from this book, and every single one has been amazing. Do yourself a favor, buy it now!
2. When You Have No Clue What 4 oz. of Chicken Looks Like…
You don’t need to be a slave to the scale…in the bathroom or in the kitchen. However, the scale is a great tool to teach us what different portions look like. I highly recommend getting a food scale and learning from it.
Here is the scale I use, and recommend: #1 Digital Kitchen Scale
*** One thing to remember about the scale: a high protein food (chicken for example) that weighs 200 grams DOES not mean that it has 200 grams of protein (it actually has 62 grams of protein). The rest of the weight is form a little fat, and mostly water***
When using a scale, make sure you tare out, or cancel out the weight of the object you are weighing the food on.
3. When You Are Trying to Keep Carbs Lower, But Still Want Pasta…
When I first saw this tool, I thought it was a funny name with a lame gimmick.
I was wrong. The Veggetti is a super easy tool, that can make “pasta” out of zucchini or other vegetables. (it’s only $9.99 – so why not?)
One of our favorite meals at home is Zucchini Spaghetti. It is a great option for anyone looking to cut back on starchy carbs, or for anyone who just wants to try to get more delicious vegetables in their diet.
Recipe: 4 Servings
- 2 medium zucchini
- 1 lb. ground chicken
- 2 cups favorite pasta sauce
- Italian Seasoning, and other spices (I like oregano, and a little fennel seed for the “Italian sausage”.
- Any other vegetables you want to put in the sauce (we usually do a full pack of mushrooms)
- Cook the ground chicken in a pan, add spices towards the end. Set aside.
- Sautè any other veggies you want in the pasta, add in pasta sauce to pan – simmer until warm.
- Use the Veggetti to spiralize 2 zucchinis, and chop into 3rds (the spiralized ‘noodles’ will be one long noodle, so you want to chop it into a few sections)
- Add ‘noodles’ and cooked chicken to the sauce, heat for 3-4 minutes on low-medium, or until warm and noodles are a little soft.
Nutrition (per serving): 270 calories, 25 grams protein, 19 grams carbs, 12 grams fat – (3 grams fiber, 4 grams saturated fat)
With one serving only being 270 calories, you can easily fill up on more (1.5 servings for women, 2 servings for men)
You could also pair this meal up with a nice glass of red wine, and still be under your calorie goals 🙂
4. When You Are So Short on Time, but Need a Nutritious Meal…
I get it, sometimes there is just no way we can make a full meal. This still doesn’t mean that you need to rush to the drive through, or skip a meal entirely. This is where “super shakes” come in!
These are “higher” calorie shakes, that fulfill all the requirements of a meal, but in liquid form:
- Healthy fats
- Whole food carbs (fruit)
Your protein can come from protein powder, or something like Greek Yogurt, or a higher protein milk source – such as Fairlife Milk (13 grams of protein per cup).
Veggies can be ‘hidden’ behind any fruit (I like bananas or berries) – as long as you use veggies like spinach, or even kale – you can hide the taste with a sweeter fruit.
Healthy fats can be natural nut butters, coconut oil, flax or chia seeds.
Lastly, some whole food carbs from fruit are great for energy, or even toss in some dry oats and pulverize them.
Here was my Super Shake that I had yesterday for breakfast:
- 1 cup Fairlife Skim Milk
- 1 scoop of Muscle Pharm Combat Powder – Chocolate Peanut Butter
- 1 Tbsp. PB2 Powder
- 1 medium banana (115 grams)
- 1 Tbsp. Organic Coconut Oil
- 2 cups spinach
Nutrition: 497 calories, 46 grams carbs, 18 grams fat, 47 grams protein – 100% delicious
So what did I make it in? Simple – a blender (shocker?)
This is the blender I recommend, as it is very simple to use, easy to clean, and a great quality product. The Ninja Master Prep Professional ($39.88)
All of these products will be super helpful, convenient, and are all very affordable – not just as items, but as investments in your health.
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Stay healthy my friends,