Everyday obligations often prevent people from caring about their nutrition. It’s true that grabbing a slice of pizza or a “small” snack packed with fats and sugars can save time, but in the long run you end up spending more money than you’d spend cooking at home, and you probably gain weight.
Cooking and eating at home sounds good, but in practice, it’s very difficult to pull off.
Just to be clear, we’re still talking about cooking at home, but this is an easier, modified version of it. We’re talking about cooking once a week and having home-cooked meal ready for every day of the working week.
This requires shopping in bulk on weekends and spending a few hours cooking.
Here are a few rules for shopping for food:
– Make a list of things to buy and don’t stray away from it.
– Don’t buy things that you’re not 100% sure you’ll eat.
– Don’t buy frozen ready-made meals because, whatever their labels says, they are usually unhealthy.
– Try to focus on vegetables and fruits.
– Go to stores that offer discounts, coupons, etc.
And now a few pieces of advice on cooking and freezing food:
- Wash all vegetables and fruits. Vegetables should be blanched (boiled in hot water for a minute or two, then poured into cold water to cool) to stop the enzymes from spoiling them.
- Cut vegetables into smaller pieces, the way you will be using them when you decide to cook (chop up onions, dice tomatoes, cut up carrots, separate the cauliflower into florets, etc.)
- Put cut up vegetables, fruits and meat into one-serving-size freezer bags.
- Prepare a meal for the day, but make large quantities, so that you can freeze some of it for the days to come.
- Label all freezer bags with the name of the food and the date you froze it.
Every night decide what you will eat the next day when you come home from work, and put it in the refrigerator to defrost. Defrosting in the refrigerator for a day or two is the safest way to thaw. If you forget to do it, thawing under cold water is also an option.
Knowing that you have a defrosted healthy cooked meal waiting for you at home when you get home from work will most probably dissuade you form buying junk food. Or, knowing that you have nicely chopped onions, tomatoes, carrots, and pieces of white meat ready to cook up a great meal in 15 minutes, will certainly help your budget.
Cooking and freezing food sounds like a little bit more work than eating out, but it saves you money, good waistline, and most important of all, you know you are eating healthy.