Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Food Prep

Food preparation and planning is vital to healthy eating. My mom could not figure out how and when I managed to create meal after meal while working full time, having two kids and Jason being out of town? The secret is I never cook a meal start to finish all at one time, the meals I make take 2 days to a week of planning and preparation. Here is an example of how it works start to finish:

1. Go to or whatever recipe website you like. Type in a keyword for whatever you have on hand, whatever is in season, on sale or a craving you have. Once you type in the keyword usually you will get a dozen options for the one keyword. Narrow down your results to a healthy choice and of course whatever looks yummy. If its not exactly what you want then change it - duh. A recipe=guideline, cooking does not have to be by the book, I constantly swap out unhealthy ingredients with healthy or RAW ingredients.

2. Get a magnet and slap it on your refrigerator. I usually have 3-4 ideas posted on my refrigerator.

3. Make a grocery list and start gathering ingredients. In Utah because the grocery stores are so lame I have to go to Costco, Sunflower Market, Good Earth, Harmons, Whole Foods, Smiths Marketplace, Chinese and Mexican stores, Honeyville and Albertsons simply because they are all good for specific items. With that said I slowly gather ingredients until the recipe is complete.

4. In the morning before my kids get up or while they are eating breakfast I chop veggies, gather ingredients and simply place them on the counter for later, wash vegetables so they are dry that evening, marinade meats, etc. It sounds silly but just getting the my ingredients next to the Vita Mix for later I am one step closer to completing my recipe. If its as simple as opening a can of coconut milk for later or peeling garlic cloves I do it.

5. I never cook dinner at dinner time. Why you ask? I go to the gym at 4:00, go pick up my kids at 5:00, so by the time I get home my kids and I are starving. If I had to make a meal from start to finish we a)wouldn't eat until 8:00 b)I would pass out from hunger or c)I would be more likely to either eat something quick and unhealthy or god forbid get fast food. So I don't set myself up for failure. I prepare meals after the dinnertime and/or after the kids go to bed! I only ASSEMBLE meals at actual dinner time. So the veggies are chopped, the nuts or cheeses are chopped or shredded, the sauces are made, the meat is ready to go, the pans are out, the cans are opened, the spices and measuring spoons are out. Before I leave to go to the gym I usually get refrigerated items (food will not go rancid in a few hours) out and set them on the counter (even meat) so if I am lightly cooking my veggies they aren't going from cold to hot. Its all sitting out when we get home to make a fresh, healthy meal in 10-15 minutes, this is not microwave cooking people this is smart and efficient cooking.

Use this method and you will start a cycle of painless, fun and healthy meals. You and your family deserve it!

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