Today I can say that I’m nourishing myself better than ever, and spend far less time in the kitchen, both with food prep and clean up. We eat a mostly plant-based diet of fresh, whole foods. It’s easy, delicious, and my family loves it too. Because I’m happier, we’re all having more fun together. After dinner is over it’s generally family time, we take a walk or relax together. In addition, I’ve lost about 12 pounds without really trying! And, because there was no dieting, there’s been no challenge in keeping the weight off. It’s incredible as I look back on the last year, but, my relationship with food and my kitchen wasn’t always working this easily!
In the last year I’ve begun to implement a simple approach to making meals called “batch-tasking” that I learned as part of my training as a Yoga Health Coach. “How easy can it be?” has become my mantra with meals and cooking. Step by step, I changed the way I was cooking, eating, and stepped into a much healthier rhythm.
Admitting there was a problem, was my first step toward action. I was fairly healthy, but had started coming down with serious colds and sinus infections, especially around the holidays. I felt tired in the morning, and was using more and more coffee to get started, and I had gained about 10 pounds over the last few years. I thought my diet might have something to do with all of these issues. Most importantly, and I was ready to make changes. As I changed my approach to food prep and my kitchen, I found some days were good, and some days were a challenge, but over time, by taking small steps, big changes for the better happened!
Here’s some of what I learned:
Guidelines for Better Nourishment with Less Kitchen Time:
1) Plan: Make a plan for the week’s meals, and go grocery shopping. If you have some fresh food in the house, everything is easier. (It’s OK to make a really rough plan—at this point mine is usually, buy what’s fresh, what’s in season, and what looks good. You may need a more detailed plan, but grocery shopping is key.)
2) Do as much meal prep. as possible in the early morning, before the work day gets started. You can cover a lot of territory by doing kitchen tasks early.
3) Simple is better: Batch-tasking works by taking care of a few tasks for meals all at once, while you are in the kitchen. Sweet potatoes can be baked in the morning and left out for lunch or dinner, lettuce can be cleaned and left in the spinner, right in the fridge ready for a meal. Morning is the best time to make a kale salad, so it can marinate for the day. Veggies, like beets or brussel sprouts, are roasted in the morning, ready to be put on salads. I spend about a half hour in the morning and get a lot done.
4) Eat your main meal at noon. There are huge benefits to this! And while it takes a little getting used to, you’ll have so much more energy, you won’t look back.
5) Dinner is super simple, and at an earlier hour. Because your lunch was satisfying and delicious, diner can be easier. Dinner for us happens most days around 6pm now, and is often an easily assembled salad with some smoked salmon, or roasted veggies from lunch. Another favorite meal is homemade broth blended with roasted veggies for a delicious soup. Because prep. happened early in the day, there’s hardly any cleanup, which means more fun for everyone.
In the beginning, I found these kitchen practices were challenging to get started, but now they’ve become automatic, and much easier; I’m so grateful I made the shift into more ease and more nourishment this year!