Fall is here and we are all gearing up for the holidays. But with what is possibly the best time of year can also bring an unexpected present… the dreaded holiday muffin top . Too many parties, too much take out, dinner out in restaurant all add up. But it’s easy to bypass this weight gain trap with a little home cooking . I’m here to help you enjoy this incredible time of year without worrying about your scale. Instead let’s have you concentrate on enjoying this marvelous life you have created.
Eating, and especially dinner should be fun, not a dreaded chore. Finding the time to cook, play and spend time with friends and family is possible if you plan it ahead . I’m sure you have heard the magic words before, do it in advance. But here’s something more concrete. I’m going to tell you exactly how I do it. Here’s your secret look into a nutritionist’s kitchen routine.
My magic weapon is to make it fun and have an an all out party.
- It’s No Mystery, Dinners Have A Few Basic Ingredients
The rest is bells and whistles. No matter what style of cooking you love, whether it’s Paleo or classic French, all meals break down into simple components: proteins, cooked vegetable, salads and perhaps carbs. The best way to approach cooking for the week is to be prepared and keep the menu simple and delicious and know what works for you and your family.
- Work Out Your Menu For The Week Based On What Everyone Eats
You can easily work out dishes for your vegetarian daughter and your gluten free best friend. All you need is a well stocked pantry and make everyone happy with simple personal touches whether it’s adding sriracha to one person’s dish or a quick rice pilaf or pasta.
- Shopping The Day Before is Key
I do a big shop on Saturday and see what is seasonal, fresh and on sale. I also make sure to pick up a lovely bottle of wine and flowers for my Sunday night cook fest. Here’s an example of what I would buy:
- A whole chicken which will make 4-6 servings and a chicken breast for each additional 2-3 servings per person.
- Buy ground meat of choice, I adore ground lamb, but beef or pork works too!
- Grab some eggs and keep them for a mid week easy dinner frittata.
- Buy chickpeas or beans of choice for a vegetarian night.
- Chop veggies for the week. I highly recommend glass containers with a seal, it keeps vegetables fresh, or breathable Tupperware which allows you to adjust the venting for each vegetable for maximum freshness. Because I lightly steam all of the vegetables Sunday night, it’s easy to saute, roast or steam as needed!
4. Make It Fun and Make It Easy
If you’re not having fun cooking then we need to change this pronto! My secret is telling everyone that Sunday nights is the one night I don’t want anyone helping out! As soon as the sun sets I have my playlist on Spotify blaring, pour myself a hearty glass of wine and start the party. You can make the dinners for Sunday through Friday on Sunday night, Friday and Saturday you use the leftovers for have a great Mexican and Thai night.
Here’s a sample week for you:
On Sunday Night try this recipe for Chicken Parmesan, served with a side of pasta or gluten free “zoodles”
You can also roast a whole chicken and vegetables right in the skillet.
Make it a meatless Monday Night with a warm, hearty Chana Masala and use the leftovers for lunch.
Tuesday change the pace with Burgers & Avocado Fries with Sweet and Sour Dipping Sauce.
Wed night is a quick and easy gluten free night with a Leek and Mushroom Frittata.
Thursday-mix it up and make it spicy with a Sweet and Sour Chicken stir fry !
Friday, you made it through the week! Celebrate with Taco Night!
Saturday I bet you still have some vegetables left and chicken, perfect for making Chicken Pad Thai.
5. Helpful Hint
Sometimes you just don’t want to cook, and you shouldn’t have to! Be flexible
The quickest way to make cooking a chore is to make yourself feel like you have to channel your inner Martha Stewart and grow all of your own vegetables and raise livestock. Give yourself a break when you need to, pick up a rotisserie chicken or order in some plain steamed Chinese food and add some sauces you love. Remember this isn’t about being perfect, it’s about having fun and bonding with those you love. The payoff? Your best weight, health and sanity!
Your friend in health,