How often do you eat homemade meals made from whole foods?
If you’re anything like me, not often at all! That is, until last week when I participated in a cleanse through Push Fitness which was perfectly complimented by the skills and knowledge of Julie Johnson, a holistic health coach. It was a fantastic experience, and motivated me to prepare whole ingredients in bulk quantities, ahead of time. The ingredients are so versatile that they can mixed and matched, added to most meals and snacks.
Since I’ve been planning ahead, I have experienced a drastic drop in food waste, a smaller weekly food budget from not eating out, and a higher consumption of veggies, fruits, and lean proteins.
You can do it too! The suggestions below are a few of the uncountable ways that a couple of hours of prep can set you up to make healthy eating choices;
- Cook large batches of proteins to add to your meals all week. Combine 3 pounds of raw, ground turkey or chicken meat with 1 (2.2/2.5-ounce) container of no salt added seasoning. My suggested seasonings are Trader Joe’s 21 Salute Seasoning and Penzeys Mural of Flavor Seasoning, but any salt free mix works. Knead these ingredients together until they are combined. Rest this mixture at least at least 2 hours, or overnight, to allow the seasonings to meld with the meat. After resting, heat a medium skillet on your stove over medium heat. Add 1 teaspoon of coconut oil to each one. Working in 2 batches, add the meat to the pan, scooping it out in small quantities with a metal spoon. You are aiming to keep the scoops as even as possible for thorough, even cooking. Let the meat cook for 5 minutes, undisturbed. Flip the meat, add 1/2 cup broth, put a lid on the pan, and continue cooking. Cook until the meat registers 165, or until the meat is opaque with no pink inside. Add 4 ounces of this seasoned ground meat to salads, stir frys, and soups. This recipe creates 12 servings. Once cooked, it should be used within the week.
- Chop your veggies, and shake them into everything. Wash all of your vegetables before proceeding. Chop into very small pieces (smaller than your pinky fingernail) 1/2 head of cabbage, 4 kale leaves, 2 carrots, 4 radishes, and 1 broccoli floret. Store this chop in a gallon container or ziplock bag with a paper towel to absorb the moisture and keep the veggies fresh for longer. Add 1/2 to 1 cup to every savory dish you eat.
- Embrace healthful snacking. Fruits and nuts are a great snack. Processing them by adding salt or removing moisture (roasting or drying) will make them tastier, but can also lead to snack attacks! A portion size is 1 medium fruit or 1/3 of a cup of nuts. To help ebb excessive noshing, raw, unsalted nuts and fresh fruit, I find, are easier to fill up on and be done with. Keep unsalted, raw nuts, pre-portioned in a sandwich baggie in your bag or purse for moments when you feel peckish. Peel oranges and slice apples and keep them in a container or baggie for the same purposes. I always use my senses when purchasing fresh fruit. Here’s an article from The Kitchn about what to look for when choosing the tastiest fruit.
- Bring the spa with you by dressing up your tap water. Fill a reusable bottle with water, then add aromatics to make it a delicious treat. I refrigerate 2 (32 ounce) bottles in the evening to enjoy the next day. 1 (3 inch) slice of cucumber and a wedge of lemon always tastes great, but anything goes. Strawberries, mint leaves, any type of citrus, ginger root… really, you can make this your own. Three things to keep in mind. 1) Cut the ingredients in small enough sizes that they can be easily removed from your bottle, but not so small that you’re going to get a mouthful of them with every swig. Evaluate the mouth of your bottle and determine what size and shape you need to cut your ingredients to. 2) For 32 ounces of water, I normally use 1/4 cup of aromatic ingredients. 3) Drink your water within 1-2 days, to ensure the freshest flavor.
- Have frozen bone broth on hand for instant gratification. Bone broth is a great ingredient to get to know better when embarking on healthy eating initiatives. Its versatility is made apparent by the fact that it can be enjoyed as a savory beverage all on its own, or it can play a supporting role turning pan drippings into amazing sauces, and adding flavorful low-fat/high protein moisture to sautees, casseroles, and stews. The beauty of stocking high quality frozen broth in your home is that it can be added to almost any savory dish with great results. The best part is, you can enjoy it knowing that you’ll feel good after indulging your broth craving. What could be better than that?