Home cooking

How to Turn Cooking at Home Into a Habit

Ok, it’s time to talk about it. Yes, that excuse that often pushes many of us who are cooking for one or two, away from reaching our nutrition goals. In many of our posts we mention that a successful healthy meal plan involves planning, and is often much easier to maintain when eating home cooked meals. No matter what, you can’t compare a home cooked meal to that found in a restaurant simply because when eating out you can’t have full control over the ingredients and the amounts of them used in your meal We understand that it’s challenging to cook for one or two. Follow our tips and you too, will learn the secrets to making it possible and enjoyable.

Getting successfully “on track” when cooking for yourself or you and another individual
Begins with early planning of your weekly meals. It is important to decide in advance what you will be having for your meals, or to have a general idea. Knowing what you will be cooking allows you to buy the proper ingredients and amounts that will not go to waste, and will make following a recipe easier since you can make sure you have all the ingredients you need on hand.

Shop according to your needs.
If you are new to cooking for just yourself or for a small number of people, altering your shopping habits may require some getting used to. This can happen when you and your partner first become empty nesters, when you move away from a large family, or if you are just starting out on your own. Try shopping with another individual- such as a family member, friend or close neighbor to share those items that come bulk quantities. Generally, small size, or individually packed items tend to cost more, so this is a way to save money.

Don’t over-visit the store
The fact that you are cooking for yourself, or for you and one more, doesn’t mean you have to hit the store every single day. Instead, aim to shop once or twice a week at the most. Not only will this save you money and time, but will alleviate the likelihood of buying unhealthy little snacks.

Plan to store
Sometimes modifying the number of servings a recipe yields is easy, but sometimes it can be tricky. If you come across a recipe you are interested in trying, or are cooking a dish of your own that is hard to cook in small portions, after cooking, divide the dish into desired and appropriate portions and store the remainder for use later in the freezer. You can easily use Ziploc bags or Tupperware containers by writing the name of the food cooked and dating it.

Make healthy foods easily accessible
Aim to make healthy food items easily accessible for a meal or as a “grab and go”. For instance, cut up a few vegetables or make a salad without dressing that you can easily access for several meals. Another idea is to combine different kinds of berries into a large bowl and take out of the refrigerator as needed.

It isn’t as difficult as it may seem and is well worth the effort. Enjoy!

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How to Survive Thanksgiving When on a Diet

It’s that time of year again and the holidays are right around the corner. When on a weight loss diet, this can be a time when we feel anxious about maintaining our eating habits and not gaining weight. Here are 5 big tips on how to enjoy a wonderful and healthy Thanksgiving with family and friends instead of thinking about the numbers on the scale the next day:

Feel good and confident about your body
Whether you are hosting, or being hosted for the festive dinner, take time before the meal to feel good about yourself. Wear an outfit that you feel good and comfortable in, and look your best. Feeling good about your body will serve as a reminder of the hard work you put in to be as beautiful as you are and will help you stay in control of your plate.

 Stuff the turkey, not your face! by maintaining your daily eating routine
Many people “save the calories for later” when they know a large holiday meal such as Thanksgiving dinner is coming their way. However, starving yourself throughout the day while fantasizing about that delicious sweet potato dish is not your best bet. It is important to maintain your daily eating schedule and not to skip meals in order to prevent you from stuffing yourself and overeating at dinner.

The “I’m just tasting” syndrome while cooking
You might be surprised but those little nibbles throughout the cooking process can add up to a good deal of unnecessary calories that you don’t count on as being part of your weight loss diet on Thanksgiving. One of the problems with these calories is that we tend not to think of them as much because we don’t consider them as a full meal or snack. The solution is quite simple: Avoid cooking while hungry and take the time to eat a proper and healthy meal.

Set clear guidelines for yourself for that holiday dinner
Most of us do well when setting clear guidelines, rules, and know what to expect from certain situations. As the smell of that delicious turkey is being spread around your home, take a few moments to set guidelines for your holiday dinner. It is important that while doing this you keep in mind setting guidelines that don’t over-restrict you, but allow you to feel good about yourself and remain in control of yourself and your diet. One example is deciding you are only sticking to one serving of sweet potato mash while allowing yourself to eat as many servings of salad as you wish. Another example is waiting 15 minutes after you finish your plate to consider whether you are really hungry for seconds. The sky is the limit, and the more honest you are with yourself, the more successful this tool will be for you.

 Avoid the “What the heck” syndrome
One of the hardest parts when on a weight loss diet, and even when just eating mindfully is forgiving yourself when things get a bit out of control. Truth of the matter is it happens to most dieters. The trick is acknowledging that moment, forgiving yourself, and continuing with your diet plan in order to avoid a downward spiral. Holiday dinners are prone to become one of these moments when you say to yourself: “Oh, what the heck!” If you do end up eating more than you planned during Thanksgiving dinner, acknowledge your behavior, forgive yourself and remember you still have a chance to save the calories and avoid overeating leftovers the next day.

 You are all set! Keep the “Big-5” in mind and have a happy and healthy Thanksgiving!

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Survive Happy Hour With These 4 Tips!

It’s definitely 5 o’clock somewhere and as the cocktails are flowing and rich indulgent snacking foods are being passed around, you may be wondering how you’re suppose to stick to your diet without sabotaging a great evening. So, what can you do to make sure you can resist the temptation? Well for starters, don’t let the peer pressure force you to blow your diet. There are plenty of options on the drink and dining menu that are healthy and allow you to partake in the fun. Hey, we’ve got you covered for these kinds of occasions. Keep these guidelines in mind and come to happy hour prepared.

Ready?

  • Don’t arrive hungry. Eat a healthy light meal or snack before arriving so you feel full and won’t be tempted to make unhealthy decisions.
  • When it comes to drinking, stick to a glass of red or white wine. Red wine especially contains antioxidants and can help protect the heart from artery damage.
  • Want something salty? Eat edamame instead. They’re packed with protein and they taste delicious.
  • Go back and forth between water and your drink so you stay hydrated and won’t overindulge.