One of the most difficult parts of eating healthy is being prepared. The best solution that I have found for myself is to prepare on Sunday the majority of the food that I am going to eat during the week. I know that this sounds like a HUGE chore, but if you organize yourself like a restaurant chef you can actually cook a weeks worth in about 2 hours. I’ll show you what I mean.
First thing is the buying – chefs know how much they need for the week and therefore how much to buy. Pay attention to how long things last for you and get used to quantities so that when you walk into the store you can load the cart and go. Me, I buy 3 2# pork tenderloin, 4# chicken, 2# hamburger and 5 dozen eggs. I also buy a bag of yams, bag of apples, bag of oranges, some nuts, and a couple of different veggies each week. Keep it simple and don’t overwhelm yourself with too many different things. (This is a LOT of food! I prepare for 4-5 meals a day. You probably won’t need to).
When you get home turn on the oven – 400 degrees is a good restaurant temp. Fill that pot again and return it to the heat. You’ll need it later. What takes the longest? For me it’s the yams so I immediately put them in the oven. No prep. Boom. They’re out of my hair until they’re done. Then I unwrap all the meat and season it – this is where you can get creative and try different seasonings so food doesn’t get boring. Pork is next. Heat a pan, brown the tenderloins on all sides, put them on a sheet tray and slide them in the oven. The key is not to forget they’re in there! Wipe out the pan, brown the chicken in batches, put on a sheet pan as they’re browned, and put in the oven when they’re all ready. If you buy boneless thighs you don’t have to worry nearly as much about over-cooking as if you buy breasts. At this point, check the pork – with a thermometer (an invaluable kitchen tool). 140 degrees is beautiful if you ask me. Stick a knife in the yams. Goes in really easy? Guess what? Done. Out. Hamburger meat is a no brainer…hamburgers. I make three patties, season, brown in a pan, and then? Boom, in the oven. Those I’d cook til they’re about 160 degrees. Oh, and the chicken – 165. If the pork wasn’t done the first time you checked it probably is now.
The veggies are really up to you. You can chop them up for a salad once everything is in the oven, you can drop things like asparagus, broccoli or cauliflower into a pig pot of salty boiling water – they really only need 3 or 4 minutes. Keep checking the meats. As they get closer to being done the temperature will start to rise a lot faster.
I know this LOOKS like a lot, but turn it into a list and you’ll see there are only about 15 items – including turn on oven, cover pans with foil! If you organize yourself around the couple of things that take the longest, you can fill in that time with everything else. And remember those apples and oranges – they don’t need any help! Yes, the food is cold when I eat it. But cold, sliced pork tenderloin and asparagus with almonds drizzled with balsamic vinegar ain’t a bad lunch. Neither is chicken and yams or hard boiled eggs and an apple as a snack. It’ll certainly feel better than whatever you might be compelled to pick up if you’re not ready!