One of the most important keys to succeeding at healthy eating - Batch cooking - Aspire Natural Health

One of the most important keys to succeeding at healthy eating – Batch cooking

Today, I started the Whole30. A strict 30 day Paleo challenge, which means no grains, no legumes (beans), no dairy (ghee okay), no sugar, and no processed foods. Which means meats and fats, lots of vegetables, and some fruit.

In our series on New Years resolutions, we’ve been talking about how you only have so much willpower, and that once it is depleted you will always want to take the path of least resistance.

In this article, I talked about how the key to success with healthy eating is preparation because without it, the path of least resistance is fast food and junk food.

And for my $.02, I think the most effective way to prepare your food is batch cooking.

 

An example

Since I started a strict meal plan today, and I don’t want to have to rely on willpower to get it done, it’s important for me to have food readily available for when I’m hungry.

The scene: Today, my house.

The goal: Get as much food for the week ready as possible.

After going shopping, I brought all the groceries in and sorted them. Some went in the fridge, some the pantry, and some were left out to prepare for the coming week.

I started by seasoning and then putting two chicken breasts and four thighs in the oven for just under an hour.

While that was cooking I made:

  1. A big batch of steamed kale
  2. A big batch of steamed cabbage
  3. Chopped an onion and stored it in the fridge for later use
  4. Hard boiled a dozen eggs
  5. Cooked 3 lbs of ground beef
  6. Steamed cauliflower and then pureed it to make cauliflower “mashed potatoes”
  7. Cut up bell peppers and stored in the fridge for later use

This gives me most of the food I’ll be eating over the next week. Along with a big box of washed, chopped mixed salad greens and a tub of fresh guacamole. Now I can grab a protein, add a vegetable, some fat, spice however I want and be ready to eat in 10 minutes or less.

Path of least resistance = healthy food choices. Good to go.

So, time invested just over an hour, plus a few more minutes to wash pots and pans.

For those of us that don’t like, or don’t have the time to be in the kitchen daily, batch cooking, where you make up most of your meals for the week in one concentrated cooking session is the way to go.

How to get started

  1. Plan – pick your meals out for the week (or at least for a few days). Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks. Simpler is better. If you can make one ingredient do multiple work, even better. For example, you cook some chicken, which you cut up for a salad, have in a dinner meal, and put in an omelet for breakfast.
  2. Figure out how much you need. If you’re going to have chicken at 4 meals, how much do you need to get?
  3. Buy, then at the appointed time, start cooking. Have storage containers and room in the fridge to store.

Yes it does take some upfront planning and effort, but personally, I find having to put effort in once a week to get things done, is easier than having to put effort in 7 days a week to have to resist temptation and eat right when I don’t have food prepared and temptations are beckoning.

Remember, our goal is to save that willpower for when we really need it

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Photo attribution – https://www.flickr.com/photos/seoulfully/3799011105/

Another Interesting post:

The Most Important Key to Succeeding with Healthy Food