Looking After Your Health in the Kitchen
Photos: This Brit & Unsplash
Staying healthy is extremely difficult, especially in the aftermath of Christmas and New Year – the season of over indulgence. I have no self discipline, so I was definitely guilty of overindulgence. In fact, I haven’t quite overcome the overindulgence of 2015 Christmas! This year I’ve decided to fix that though. My weight increase over the past 3 years is not something I’m proud of, and it has left me feeling slow, sluggish and I just don’t like the way it makes me feel.
My body used to be something I was proud of, not just in the way it looked, but also what it could do. I never worried about whether I was physically able to do something, but now it upsets me that a flight of stairs is a challenge. A 5k run results in 45 minutes of stopping and starting torture, and more often than I care to admit, feeling dizzy, sick and needing to sit down in case I black out.
I know the principles of staying healthy, and I’m sure a quick Pinterest search will bring up plenty of resources for staying healthy in the kitchen or gym. In fact, if you want to check out one of those boards, I have several dedicated to health, fitness and general self-care, so have a look over on my Pinterest for that. My struggle is staying motivated to stay healthy, it’s so much easier to order a take – out or throw all of the carbohydrates in my freezer into my oven. There is absolutely no portion control, that’s a waste of time and I’m hungry.
I’ve done my research, and although I’m no expert, these are the techniques I am implementing this year to stay healthy, maybe they will help you too?
Portion control is really important to building a healthy lifestyle. You can eat lots of really healthy foods, but if you are eating 4 times the amount you should be, you won’t be losing any weight. The easiest way to keep an eye on this is to measure everything you cook, use a measuring cup to ensure you’re cooking the right amount of pasta for one dish, or use the measuring cup to scoop the mash onto your plate.
Depending on your health goals, you can either work down, and work out how many portions you are currently eating and work to slowly reduce this, or start eating the right portion sizes immediately – the latter of the two may make you hungry more often though, be careful not to crash and eat an entire box of chocolate.
Cook in advance
I cannot tell you how miserable it makes me feel to come home from work or the gym when I’ve had a particularly busy day and feel like I have to cook something. That’s when I start throwing carbohydrates in the oven and snacking on bread and cheese. Making lunches and dinners for the week in advance is a much easier way to handle meal prep, especially if you are bulk baking. Yesterday I cooked two weeks worth of food by cooking a mountain of sausages, homemade wedges, and 2 varieties of pasta bakes, with steamed veggies on the side. It took me about 3 hours, but it means I don’t have to worry about food for a while. These are then piled into the freezer in their portions.
Get excited about cooking
Buying yourself a few utensils that you are really excited to use, will make cooking more enjoyable, and help you to stay healthy. I recently treated myself to an electric spiraliser and a blender. I’m having smoothies most mornings, and courgetti is my new favourite pasta replacement. I’ve also taken to blending vegetables that I don’t like the taste or texture of once I’ve steamed them, and then mixing this into the sauce. If you have any healthy recipes that use a spiraliser, please let me know what they are, I’m obsessed.
My last two tips actually aren’t in the kitchen, but really helped change my attitude to working out so I’ve put them in anyway.
Tracking everything you eat, whether that’s using an app or writing it down in a notebook, really helps with getting some idea over what goes into the foods that you eat. Eating a balanced diet is hard when you don’t really know what you’re consuming, or what it means. Although you could spend hours educating yourself, and there are lots of good resources out there to teach you the benefits of different types of nutrients, the easiest way to start is by simply measuring the nutrients in all of the food you eat.
Nutrition experts have done all of the hard work for you and worked out how much you should be eating of each type of nutrient a day. With an app such as “MyFitnessPal”, when you input all of the data, it will tell you whether you’re over or under the recommended amount and it will account for your exercise habits as well. You can also input your goals and it will recommend daily calorie intake and measure against this instead.
Pack your gym bag
The hardest part of going to the gym is actually going. Make it easier on yourself and have a gym bag packed and sat by the door ready. It helps if you have a few different workout outfits that you really love, I get excited to put them on to go and workout, it also helps as I can throw one set in the wash and stick another set in the bag ready. There’s no excuse of “oh all of my workout wear is dirty, I can’t go… what a shame, this time I was really motivated to go.”
I also take my gym bag to work so I can go to the gym straight from work, if I go home, there’s absolutely no hope for me walking back out that door again.
I hope these will help you to stay healthy and overcome the aftermath of Christmas. Let me know in the comments below the things you do to stay healthy or any other articles you’ve found to be really helpful, I can use all the help I can get!