Setting Yourself Up for Success in the Kitchen

The path to good health starts in your kitchen, and without setting yourself up properly you could be sabotaging your best intentions toward a healthier you before you even get started. I am going to share with you my four biggest tips to stocking your kitchen in a manner that will get you closer to your physique or health goals.

These tips are universal, applicable to any diet you may be following.  I don’t advocate a single diet as the “correct” method to follow.  In fact I hate the word diet because it conjures up images of deprivation and unhappiness.  Diets don’t have to be that way. You can eat a lot of good, quality, nutrient dense food and stay satiated and lose weight at the same time. For some examples of what I eat daily and how I stock my kitchen check out this video

The problem is, all the healthy food in the world isn’t going to do you any good if you balance it out with an equal amount of poor choices.  This leads up to tip Number One:

Eliminate all processed foods

This can be a daunting step for anyone that’s been consuming the Standard American Diet so I don’t advocate eliminating all of them in one fell swoop.  Drastic dietary overhaul can be a recipe for disaster in terms of adherence for most people. My suggestion is to eliminate one or two of the processed foods you normally consume for a week or two or however long it takes for that temptation to subside, then try and clean things up a little more.

How do you know if something is processed? Well, the biggest indicator is the ingredient list. A longer list likely means that it’s been processed, especially if there is a bunch of chemicals you can’t pronounce. Be aware that many foods that are marketed as healthy are processed or contain additives that you should strive to stay away from.  Things like whole grain bread, yogurt, and any frozen “healthy” meal like a lean cuisine. The main problem with marketing is that they tend to only highlight the one healthy ingredient and neglect to inform you how the food as a whole is impacting your physiology.

A good rule of thumb for picking out foods is:

Choose single ingredient foods when possible

Fruits, veggies, nuts, eggs and meat. These are obvious choices. You don’t even have to read a label to know what’s in them 😉 The worst offender in my fridge or cupboards was salsa, but even so I made sure it was organic with no additives such as sugar or other preservatives. Just tomatoes, onions, peppers, cilantro, and garlic. Read those labels, or better yet just stick to the produce section and the butcher’s counter.

Stock up on greens

You really can’t go wrong here.  I am a huge advocate of double digit servings of veggies every day so having tubs full of salad greens and a freezer full of frozen veggies is a must. This habit has become so ingrained for me that I have a hard time eating meals without a half a plate vegetables.  That’s my biggest gripe with eating out. It’s not the less than healthy fare I may be eating, it’s that you have to practically beg for extra veggies and most the time they just bring you a tiny bowl and charge you an arm and a leg for it.

Cook in bulk

Preparing food ahead of time that can be used in meals later on that week can be a huge time saver and allow you to make better choices down the road.  I usually only spend one or two days doing the majority of my cooking.  I’ll bake a few pounds of chicken, fry up some grass fed beef or pork, and boil a dozen or two eggs so I have good, quality protein sources during the week.

Follow those four tips and you’ll be well on your way to eating healthy with less effort. You won’t be forcing yourself to make decisions that zap your willpower and in the end sticking to whatever dietary lifestyle you choose to will be easy and enjoyable.

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