What’s for dinner? Should we go out? Will you pick up take out? Most nights it seems SOOOO much easier to let someone else do the cooking. However, one of the surest ways to lose weight and be healthy is to prepare the majority of your meals at home. By doing so you avoid the plentiful fat, sugar, and calories of prepared and restaurant foods, you know where the ingredients are coming from, and you can control portion sizes. Plus it’s a heck of a lot cheaper.
Here’s the hardest part for most of us: in order to cook at home you have to plan ahead. Your best results yield from a full pantry, fresh produce, well-stocked spices and condiments, confidence and an occasional spark of creativity.
Most of the time I buy plenty of fresh produce, make sure my supplies beans, grains, pastas, and nuts are topped off, and stock up on favorites from Trader Joe’s. However, lately I’m flying by the seat of my pants. If I’m being kind, I like to think of it as stretching my creativity. I might challenge myself to come up with a meal for four using the last bag of pasta, ¼ cup of feta cheese and some blueberries (just kidding!). So this post is a reminder to you, and me, to do ourselves a favor and make time to plan a few meals and shop for the ingredients. Going to the store every afternoon around 5 p.m. to pick up a few things for dinner (guilty!) is a time suck.
Have a few go-to recipes that are tried and true. One of my favorites is Mexican Black Bean and Veggie Tortillas. Rotate several others seasonally (chilis and soups in the winter, cold salads and grilled favorites in the summer). With a basic plan, you’ll know what to have on hand and can fairly quickly create something scrumptious. With good, fresh ingredients, it doesn’t have to be complicated!