Friday, May 22, 2015

Five for Friday - Maximizing Kitchen Time

Eating healthy is often associated with spending more time in the kitchen.  It can be tempting to stop and pick up fast food or packaged foods at the grocery store to reduce the time you spend doing the work.  

Once you develop some new routines, however, this will change.  You will start to notice positive changes in how you feel and you will want to spend time preparing healthy foods at home.   Here are a few strategies than can turn your life around in a healthy way:

1.  Plan to spend a period of uninterrupted time for each meal.  The time you spend on each meal can vary each day and throughout the day.  Decide how long you can realistically spend in the kitchen and commit to it.  Give yourself time to prepare a healthy, tasty meal, but don't feel like you have to spend all day in the kitchen to accomplish this, because you don't.  

Here is what a typical meal preparation day might look like for me:

-15 minutes to make my morning smoothie, about 45 minutes to drink it (usually while I'm doing something else), and about 5 minutes to clean the NutriBullet. 

-15 minutes to prepare a sandwich and a side of veggies for lunch, 30 minutes to eat, and 5 minutes to clean up.

-5 minutes to dish my dinner out (most often it's leftovers), 20 minutes to reheat it in the conventional oven (during this time I often make a salad), 30 minutes to eat, and about 10 minutes to clean up.

The time you spend preparing meals, eating, and cleaning up will vary according to yours and your family's needs and schedules.  The point it to commit to a certain amount of time for each meal and stick to it.

2.  Develop a healthy relationship with your kitchen.  Think about the relationships you have with others.  How do you nurture those relationships?  You probably spend some time with them and you spend some time apart from them.  Both are healthy in a relationship.  The same applies to your kitchen.  You probably don't want to spend all day in the kitchen, but you do want to dedicate a certain amount of time to it. Give your kitchen the gift of time.

3.  Eat hearty servings of raw food.  For example, maybe have a smoothie for breakfast and a salad with dinner.  No cooking involved!  Need I say more?

4.  Eat primarily with the intent to nourish your body, not just satisfy hunger.  You have choices about what to eat.  Ask yourself, "How will this nourish my body?"  If you can't answer that or if the answer is, "It won't," then it may not be worth eating.  Of course, splurging happens once in while.  Just don't make those once in a whiles add up to everyday.

5.  Invest in a few kitchen essentials.  Some of mine are two cutting boards, the NutriBullet, and a quality knife.  Figure out what works for you and invest in them.  Focus on just a few essentials.  This will save you money and clean up time.  Fancy gadgets can be fun, but sometimes they cause more stress than they're worth.  Enjoy a few good quality ones that often have multiple uses.

What works for you when it comes to maximizing your time in the kitchen?  Please share!

2 comments:

  1. I couldn't agree more with this post; in fact, when I began eating healthier I enjoyed my kitchen more. My recent kitchen/healthy eating investments are: a rice cooker (still loving this!!) and a NutriBullet. (I have to hang my head in shame here as I have STILL not unpacked it. For some reason it seems like when I do it's going to take time...or something. In the meantime I discovered a wonderful powdered mix for my smoothies which I am currently making in my trusty Hamilton Beach Personal Blender (http://www.hamiltonbeach.com/single-serve-blenders-single-serve-blender-with-travel-lid-white-51101.html). The powder is vegan and contains protein, greens, vitamins, minerals, and fiber per serving. LOVE it blended, thus far, with frozen bananas, blueberries, or strawberries.

    Kitchen essentials that I've had for awhile are my George Foreman grill (LOVE THAT!!), Crock-Pot, and microwave. I did recently purchase a cute new set of measuring cups that are shaped like scoops and have measurements for tablespoons, teaspoons, and the fractions on the opposite end of each scoop.

    I've been reading/watching videos about "Salads in a jar" and "Overnight Oatmeal in a jar" (which I've prepared and is absolutely yummy) so I'll be purchasing some appropriate-sized Mason Jars soon.

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    1. Lyn, you'll be amazed how easy the NutriBullet is to use and clean. Go for it! :)

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