When I tell people that I don’t eat sugar and flour they often give me a baffled look and say something like “Oh, I could never do that.”
One of the biggest misconceptions about my Ditch the Diet Drama weight loss program is that it requires you to learn to cook or to spend tons of time in the kitchen.
This couldn’t be further from the truth.
If you follow me on Instagram or FaceBook you may have gathered by now that I am NOT a fan of spending time in the kitchen (#hatetocook).
In fact, one of the biggest transformations I’ve had lately is recognizing that there are many things in my life that I thoroughly enjoy as long as the time spent doing them is limited.
Cooking is one of those things.
I don’t want to spend more than 20 minutes in the kitchen on any given day of the year.
And I am definitely not going to follow a recipe or learn to cook something new after a long day at work.
In fact, I did a whole post on cooking when you are short on time a few posts back.
This post is going to teach you how to cook when you don’t want to become a full-time home chef but still want to eat right and lose weight.
Step 1: Create a meal Capsule.
Like a wardrobe capsule, a meal capsule is comprised of a few well-tailored (to your body), high quality basics that can be thrown together in a myriad of ways.
It has been said that everyone rotates between the same 7-10 meals, even if they don’t realize it.
This is basically your meal capsule-- your go to meals that you can cook in your sleep.
For my family they are
These foods comprise the infrastructure of our weeknight meals, more or less.
We switch it up, swapping burgers for sausage or getting take out sometimes, but we basically cook these foods with lots of variation on veggies, seasoning, or method of cooking like roasting veggies versus steaming, using olive oil and parmesan on broccoli or steaming and drizzling butter or cheese.
On the weekends my husband likes to go to the grocery store or farmer’s market and get inspired so the weekend meals are far more varied-- almost always cooked outdoors, like smoked fish and grilled veggies.
Step 2: Make a Quick Plan
Each weekend I roughly plan out the meals we will eat for the week.
This takes me two to five minutes max.
I think first in protein and then take a quick visual inventory of my fridge and freezer.
What do I already have? Chicken? Tofu? Ground meats? Sausage?
I then plan go-to meals from my meal capsule and jot it on my handy-dandy white-board meal planner right on my fridge door.
Step 3: Shop
At the grocery store I buy any protein I need that I didn’t already have at home that I need for my meal capsule.
I also scan for meats on sale and pop those in my deep freeze for quick meals later.
I peruse the veggie section and load up on anything that looks good to me.
I always get a mix of veggies-- leafy greens, cruciferous veggies like cauliflower and broccoli, and veggies that can be eaten raw like cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, and bell peppers.
Here’s one quick tip that I couldn’t live without:
I exclusively buy veggies that require little to no prep.
Washed and ready to go is my jam.
It is the secret to quick meals on weeknights.
Go home, open the bag, dump it on the lined cookie sheet, toss with olive oil, salt and pepper, and put it in the oven at 400.
Prior to eating this way I spent a LOT of time stressing about food.
My mind would race throughout the day with thoughts like
With a meal capsule, these intrusive and anxiety-fueled thoughts are eradicated completely.
Eating this way has simplified my life tremendously.
I know what to shop for.
I know what we will eat.
I know it will be nutrient-dense.
I know it will fuel me.
I know it will taste good.
I know it will not make my pants tighter.
Lia Pinelli is a weight loss coach and educator who helps women put an end to emotional overeating and lose weight, permanently.