The best way to get slender and healthy is to break the fast-food habit and start cooking from scratch. This means spending more time in your kitchen—so today, I want to share four “hacks” for creating a kitchen that’s totally in tune with your new slim lifestyle.
#1: Get rid of temptation.
If you’re new to healthy eating, I know it can be hard to break old habits. I also know from experience that the best way to do it is to start with a clean slate. So be firm. Toss out flour and sugar. Food colorings. Products that contain soy. Dairy products. All of it. Stay strong!
Next, get rid of cookbooks that call for the foods you’re cutting out. I know they’re like old friends, but they can also be serious triggers. (If they have sentimental value, keep them, but box them up.) Replace them with brand-new cookbooks loaded with fun and healthy recipes.
Finally, pack up kitchen tools that you don’t need anymore. For instance, that pasta maker or bread machine can go—and that’ll make more room for the fun tools you’ll want to add (more on this shortly).
#2: Bring in the good stuff.
It’s easier to make healthy food if you have all the ingredients you need right at your fingertips. So stock up on basics like these:
- Healthy fats: Get a good supply of coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, and pastured butter or ghee.
- Herbs and spices: Buy a variety of spices and a spice rack to hold them. Purchase your spices in small quantities or keep bulk quantities in the freezer so they’ll stay fresh.
- Pantry items: Pick up basics including coconut milk, canned tomatoes, canned tuna and salmon, seaweed snacks, and plenty of high-quality collagen protein.
- Freezer foods: Fill your freezer with healthy proteins, frozen berries, nuts and seeds (these stay fresh longer if you keep them in the freezer), and a good supply of bone broth.
- Eggs: Get several cartons—or, If you don’t have time to cook eggs, buy them pre-boiled at the store.
- Fresh vegetables, berries, and grapefruit: Go for lots and lots of these! In particular, grab a cauliflower or two; you can use this versatile veggie to make mashed cauliflower, cauliflower “rice”, or even a killer pizza crust.
#3: Get all the gadgets and goodies you need.
Now that you’ve loaded your kitchen with healthy food, treat yourself to some great tools that will make preparing that food a cinch. Here are some things that will make your kitchen fun and super-efficient.
- A pressure cooker. One of the main reasons why people fall off the wagon when it comes to dieting is that cooking healthy food can take a lot of time. With a pressure cooker, you won’t have this problem. In just minutes, you can cook meat or poultry—even if it starts out frozen. And BTW, if pressure cookers scare you, relax. Modern pressure cookers have tons of safety features to guarantee that you’ll be totally safe.
- Containers. Load up on glass storage bowls and Mason jars in every size. When you batch cook (more on this below), you’ll have plenty of containers for your bone broth, chili, soups, and stews.
- A vacuum sealer. For thirty or forty dollars, plus about ten dollars for bags, you can pick up one of these incredibly handy kitchen appliances. When you batch cook, use it to package cooked veggies, chicken, or ground meat.
- Ice cube trays. These are great for freezing small quantities of lemon juice, bone broth, tomato sauce, or tomato paste. You can also freeze leftover herbs in olive oil.
- Good pots and pans. You’ll want to have at least one humongous pan for batch cooking (more on this below), plus various sizes of saucepans. Also, make sure you have both large and small skillets. Avoid nonstick pans, unless they’re ceramic.
- A slow cooker. This can save you tons of time in the kitchen, and it’s great for making bone broth.
- A cookie sheet. Get a nice, sturdy sheet, because you’ll use it for everything from baking no-flour cookies to roasting winter veggies. And while you’re at it, stock up on parchment paper to line your cookie sheet. It’ll make clean-up way easier.
- A zoodler or Vegetti. You’ve gotta have one of these—no question. I use mine all the time to make “noodles” from zucchini, sweet potatoes, and even beets.
- Fresh herbs. If you have enough sunlight, I recommend putting little pots of basil, thyme, cilantro, sage, and parsley on your windowsill. Nothing’s healthier than fresh herbs picked right before you use them, and they also give your kitchen a homey feeling.
#4: Prep your kitchen for batch cooking.
Once you’re done with step #3, it’s time to start using your kitchen more efficiently—and that means batch cooking.
Let’s face it: Some days you feel like cooking, and some days it’s a drag. The best way to avoid temptation on those days when you can’t face the kitchen is to set aside one or two days a month to prep and package up lots of meals ahead of time. For instance, you can make a big pot of bone broth, roast a couple of chickens, boil a dozen eggs, and cook up a big pot of chili, all in one afternoon.
To prep your kitchen for a batch cooking session, make sure you have all the kitchen tools you need, plenty of those storage containers and Mason jars I talked about earlier, and lots of freezer bags. Also, have labels handy so you can label and date each container. Clear off your counters—you’ll need lots of space—and have essentials such as cutting boards, strainers, and mixing bowls ready to go. In addition, make sure there’s room in your freezer for everything you’ll cook.
Also, take stock of your cooking options and plan your recipes accordingly. Get the biggest payoff from your batch cooking session by having as many gadgets and appliances as possible—slow cooker, pressure cooker, stovetop, oven—all working for you at the same time.
It only takes a little effort and money to set up a kitchen that’s tailor-made for making healthy meals and doing efficient batch cooking. Once you do this, I think you’ll find that cooking is much less work and far more fun. And think about the amazing reward: a lifetime of fabulous meals that will keep you slim, young, and healthy!
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