By David Grotto, RD, LDN
The first part of this series reviewed the importance of stocking a healthy pantry. Sounds like a topic that should have been targeted for the New Year, New You post but I’ve found thinking about next year NOW may save you unwanted pounds and health woes waiting for you around the corner. Now that you have some ideas of what to stock in those pantries, let’s focus on other essentials of a skinny kitchen.
Secret # 2: Cook in your kitchen. Cook what you love.
It’s amazing how many kitchens now have been relegated to “trophy” status– just there for show, not for dough (or cooking anything else for that matter). I’ve noticed over the years that those clients of mine who tended to be skinny or became skinny and stayed that way cooked and assembled most of their meals. They were no more or less busy than the others who complained that their lives were too hectic for cooking and food preparation. No matter how busy you get, it doesn’t take long to put together a proper meal. It does require planning, though.
Everyone always assumes that skinny people always go for the low-fat and calorie-swap-out recipes. Not true. In fact, a recent study showed that highly motivated dieters will surrender to these skinny swap-outs for a while but, inevitably, they always switch back to the original version they love most. Taste and pleasure is simply part of our hard wiring, so why try to override it? Eventually, learning to enjoy the foods you love in the right portions best prepares you for any social situation.
Secret #3: Have a game plan.
Those who manage their weight and health well know what they are going to eat ahead of time and choose their snack, meal choices, and the times they eat wisely. Taking a few minutes to plan meals for the week can maximize each trip to the grocery store and give more direction while there. Making a comprehensive list can help limit shopping trips.
Secret #4: Use Cool Tools!
It’s hard to believe that something as simple as a hand chopper can get people to eat more veggies or a pineapple corer can help someone eat more fruit. Convenience co-rules with taste! Just in time for the holidays, here are some healthy gadget ideas that I’ve found to help get good nutrition to the kitchen table quick!
Hi-speed blenders and juicers. Don’t know how to prepare veggies? Throw them in a blender or juicer either to be used as a juice, base for recipes, or to swap out water in bakery recipes. My experience with juicers is that if they are a pain to clean even the most motivated won’t do it for long. Look for ones that either have automatic pulp ejectors or choose high-speed, powerful blenders that capture all the nutritional goodness of produce. Example: Vitamix
Low\no oil fryers that enable you to still feel naughty by enjoying your favorite fried foods at a fraction of the calories. Use 100 times less oil to make enough potato chips for a family of four – HUGE calorie savings! Example: Tefal Actifry
Induction cook-tops that slash excuses and time required for eating your way thin. Boil water in less than 60 seconds. Pop in a steamer disc and in less than 5 minutes, you’ve got hot steamed veggies on a plate and ready to enjoy. In less than 10 minutes, scarf down belly bulge-fighting high-fiber pasta. Example: Kenmore induction cook top
Slicers, dicers and choppers give you the acquired knife skills of a Le Cordon Bleu chef while keeping fingers safe and intact. Example: Pampered Chef Chopper
Mango and Pineapple Corers deliver nutrient-rich but calorie-stingy ready-to-eat fruit in less than 30 seconds. Examples: Williams-Sonoma OXO Mango corer and spliter and the Vacu VIN pineapple peeler\corer\slicer
Salad shakers that keep dressing separated to disperse easily when you are ready to eat your salad. Best yet, you need less dressing because the salad shaker does a great job of making sure that all of the salad is covered with dressing instead of globs appearing here and there – a huge calorie and fat saver! Example: Wishbone Salad Shaker
Produce keepers – keeps belly fat-busting veggies and herbs fresh longer! Example: The Herb Savor
Bento lunchboxes that come with segmented portion-controlled compartments to help manage serving sizes and calories. As an added benefit, you can reduce your carbon footprint by replacing mountains of wraps, tinfoil, and baggies in this easy-to-clean and reusable container. Example: Bentoware
Clean-up wizards. One of the reasons people don’t like to cook is that they don’t want to deal with that awful mess at the end of the meal. Cool gizmos easily push through baked-on mess no matter which pot, pan, casserole dish, or cooking surface gets in its way. Example: The SKrAPr
Stock and Crock. Soups and stews are filling and satisfying; slow cookers are making a comeback because they are so simple to use — toss in a bunch of stuff in the morning and have a healthy meal at day’s end. Example: Crockpot
The carry along “Crave Button”. This handy gadget quickly diverts your attention away from your cravings and helps record patterns of behavior that can be easily modified. Maybe you need more snacks or require regular meal times – the Crave Button will tell you and gives you reports that you can share with your health professional.
I’d love to hear if you have discovered kitchen essentials for keeping you healthy and trim. Please share in the comment section.