Mythbuster: “Cooking takes too much time”

Whenever I signup new clients the Fitness Makeover journey starts with a thorough review of their existing lifestyle and nutritional habits to see where we can replace convenience food that they might be relying on, which is often nutrients poor, with freshly prepared meals that are nutrients rich.

Btw, the reason I keep talking about food is that it’s the most important part of any weight loss program. There is no amount of exercise, no matter how intense, that will make up for eating crap.

Every single time, without fail, I can be guaranteed to be given a whole list of reasons why it’s so difficult to stick to a natural diet and how much time it takes to prepare the food, how much work is involved and so on. And every single time I point out that it’s more a case of careful planning than endless slaving by the cooker.

Take my typical weekends for example… with at least 2 days off work it would be a crime not to find some time to nourishing myself (and my other half) with anything less than tasty home made food prepared using only fresh ingredients. I guess to a certain extent we are lucky to be able to do so, but it’s always a choice between food prepared by someone else without knowing where it comes from or whatever we come up with with what’s in the fridge. We know our food come from sustainable sources that are earth friendly and take care in ensuring the animals that become our food have the best lives possible before entering the food chain.

My mum is the domestic Goddess genius that taught me the art of cooking once and re-purposing food multiple times. Yes, she has a squillion boxes stashed away in the freezer, and she can always knock up a simple but gorgeous meal in less than 30 minutes during the week just by combining stuff that she prepared at some point during the week. If you were to walk into her kitchen on those days she would live up to the stereotype of the average Italian momma!

Planning, planning, planning

Nowadays, as I juggle several work commitments and hobbies, I tend to follow in her footsteps and whenever I can I also batch cook for future use. If I have the ingredients available I make Caponata using the biggest pan I have (enough for 4) and all the aubergines, courgettes, peppers and onions I received with my weekly delivery of fresh organic veggies.

Because it’s best to cook them on low heat for a long time in between stirring and checking the progress I have the opportunity to tend to other chores too. Sometimes I get to mow the lawn or perhaps I tidy up the mess that is created by humans and pets living under the same roof or I catch up on my social media channels.

Usually by the time the house is sparkling clean and the lawns tidy the veggies are also ready.

Cooking caponata with bratwurst sausage risottoThe last time I cooked Caponata (it was still a bit cold outside) it turned out really well. The first batch was a perfect match for the pork joint we roasted while the veggies were cooking.

Part of the leftovers were re-purposed in a gorgeous “Farmers’ style Risotto” with Bratwurst sausages and the rest was again re-purposed as a side for a portion of beef later on that week. Not bad for 20 minutes or so spent chopping stuff and chucking it in a pan!

Again, the key is in planning and deciding what is the most versatile dish you can cook that can be easily re-used to make lots of different dishes later on in the week. It’s worth stocking up on single portion boxes that can be placed in the freezer so they can be simply grabbed and heated up while you are busy doing other stuff.

The benefits will be tenfold as you will have a constant supply of nourishing and yummy food available to help you support your Fitness Makeover efforts. Of course there will always be times when none of this is possible as life has a habit of getting in the way and when (not if) that happens there’s no need to beat yourself up. Just go with the flow and catch up at the first opportunity. Maybe make double the usual amount to be on the safe side  😉

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