Cook Once, Eat Twice & Prep for Success!

by kellylavieri on March 25, 2015

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Success, in any form, especially in creating a successful habit change, really has very little to do with luck and everything to do with planning, organization, and execution. For example, in order to be a successful in business there is planning, prep, and follow through that needs to be done. We are the entrepreneurs of our lives we have to take the day to day steps in order to achieve long term goals. We must understand that the planning is part of the process and make it part of their week.

Eating well really isn’t any different. In order to be successful in your health management, you have to plan and prep for success. You can set your health up for success by prepping in advance.

Planning to Cook Once and Eat Twice is one of the key ways to organize yourself, create consistent good habits, and a smooth, easy path for success in the kitchen. With 7 days in a week, you can save yourself time, money, stress, and most importantly keep yourself on the path to health with minimal time in the kitchen. Consider that you could enjoy 7 dinners in 3.5 preps. There are 14 lunches and dinners in a week that you can prepare in 7 (or fewer) prep periods.

The keys are:

1. Prepare double the ingredients (like chopped veggies) to use for other compatible meals. You can think of this as grouping meals.

2. Cook double portions and eat half tomorrow or freeze for another day.

3. Embrace leftovers or repurpose leftovers to create a new meal.

In the case of prepping double ingredients, and particularly chopping vegetables, it’s all about optimizing your ingredient lists. Pick meals that have a lot of common ingredients. For example, when you plan ahead to have soup, chilli, stir fry, or stew throughout the week and all of those recipes will use chopped onions, you can chop a whole bunch of onions once at the beginning of the week and store it in an air tight containers so that it’s ready to use when you need it.

You can think the same way about all sorts of vegetables. You can wash, chop and store just about any type of vegetable in advance and store them in an air tight container to use throughout the week. Most will keep all week in the fridge; if you have trouble with your vegetables perishing it’s because there’s too much moisture in the container. Try picking up some special containers that are specifically designed for produce or fold a paper towel and keep it in the container to soak up any extra moisture.

One of my favorite tricks for quick veggie prep is to use my food processor’s shredding attachment to shred a big pile of carrots to use throughout the week. I wash, peel and then shred several carrots and store the shredded carrot in a container in the fridge which I can throw in to all sorts of things, from cooked items to delicious raw salads. It takes no time at all. The shredded carrot adds great color and texture to a green tossed salad, and in a pinch, I love to use the shredded carrot as the primary ingredient in a carrot salad with a few dried cranberries or raisins for a perky lunchtime side. Shredded carrot can also be a delicious secret ingredient in a morning smoothie as well, much the same way as frozen spinach or kale disappears in to a green smoothie without any trace of flavor. You can also use the slicing attachment to chop celery, etc. and use in a similar way.

Most meals also taste great the next day, and are sometimes even better. Chilli, soups, curries, and stews often taste particularly good after the ingredients have had some extra time to meddle together. These meals make a great lunch the next day and are also great for freezing to add variety to your meals for next week.

Have you ever repurposed leftovers to make something new? Leftover quinoa, for example, is great sprinkled on a salad. When making a hot quinoa recipe, make extra that you can use to top a salad the next day. Or you can turn a lot of soups and stews to create a casserole. For inspiration, you can see what an experienced chef might do in the Leftovers Rescue Mission on the Food Network’s show, Chopped.

There are so many ways to plan ahead to make healthy eating a breeze throughout the week. The key is not to leave meals to the last minute. Plan your meals in advance, shop for groceries according to the plan, and prepare the key ingredients right after you pick up the groceries, before you get busy.

Happy chopping!

Helping you live your life better, daily!

Kelly

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