Happy New Year! Many people will wake up today with the will to make changes in their life. A week from now, many people will have already given up on that idea. Go to any gym this week and then again in February and you’ll see what I mean.
As most of you know I do WW. January means a flood people, vibrating with excitement for their new journey. Those of us legacy WW’s know to get there early if you want a seat at the meeting, or workshop as they are now called. By February you can jump out of bed at the last minute and have no problem finding a seat.
Why do so many people fail? How can people with so much enthusiasm, excitement, and hope just quit? We’ve all been there. We’ve all steeled ourselves with determination, just knowing this year will be the year we reach our goals.
The biggest problem I’ve had in the past is with the all or nothing attitude. What is that saying? Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is the new you. You’ll stumble. Hell, two years after reaching my goal I still stumble. I’m human.
This is a marathon people, not a sprint. One of my most popular posts on this blog, one I wrote for WW newbies, is worth a read if you are just starting out.
Tackle one issue at a time. A big one for people is the change in what they eat, obviously. If you are someone who is used to eating out a lot, you’re probably going to be cooking more. Needless to say, the food will be much different.
I lived out of a hotel for four months this summer, which forced me to eat out most of my meals. It wasn’t easy, and I did gain weight. Not as much as I would have without WW, but it did push me slightly over my goal.
The curious thing is what happened when I got back. I gained more weight than when I was out of town. How? How could that happen to someone who kept all those pounds at bay for two years? After controlling the gain for four months of eating out I went off the rails once I got home, and it make no damn sense.
Or does it? I’m telling you if you do a lot of eating out your taste buds change, and they’ll change after a bit if you start eating healthier at home. After my first couple of months on WW three years ago I didn’t like to eat out anymore.
Everything tasted like it was smothered in salt and my mouth felt like it was coated in a film of fat when I ate out. It stands to reason that it’ll take a bit to retrain your taste buds, and once you do things are much easier.
If you just eat packaged meals or bland, tasteless food this journey will be much harder for you. Yes, healthy food can be delicious! There are so many cooking methods out there, so many spices, textures and flavors.
If you’re not really much into cooking do not despair! As human beings we have a great capacity to learn, and you might even find yourself enjoying cooking!
So without further adieu here are some of my favorite cooking tips and sites!
Keep it Clean
The number one thing that I can think of is to keep your kitchen clean/in order. Use a spice? Put that spice away. Do dishes as you go, put ingredients away as you go, and in their rightful place.
If you come home from a long day at work, and that pan you need is still hanging out in the dishwasher that you didn’t run, that old ordering out temptation might just return.
Mise en place
The French term for “everything in it’s place,” I practice Mise en place whenever I cook.
I get my ingredients and cooking tools ready and separated before I ever start cooking. Some may think it’s not necessary, but how many times have you forgotten an ingredient because you were in a hurry or just distracted by something else? Mise en place will save your dinner from being a disaster. Food is expensive. Get it right the first time.
Check that Temp
A good oven thermometer is one of the best tools to use to ensure perfect meals. Ovens lie y’all. My oven is only a couple of years old and I find the temperature varies. Professionally written recipes are done in exact temperatures, so an oven thermometer is a cheap kitchen item that can save you burnt or under cooked meals.
An awful lot of people probably think they aren’t good cooks just because they aren’t cooking at the proper temperature.
Use the Proper Pan
If you find yourself stirring more than necessary and your pan is brimming with food, you should have used a bigger pan. Over crowding food will cause part to burn and part to be under cooked, which is never good!
While we’re at it, when using a pan for sauteing, first heat the pan, then the oil, then the ingredients. It really does make a difference!
Prep your Veggies
Hearty vegetables like asparagus, cauliflower, carrots, brussels sprouts and green beans will take a reheat well, so prepping them on a Sunday will have them in your refrigerator at the ready for your next lunch or dinner.
Write it Down
Whenever I try a brand new recipe, I hand write it. Yes, i really do. It is easy to miss a key instruction or ingredient when you are trying something unfamiliar, and hand writing the recipe really makes you pay attention to the fine details you may otherwise miss.
Use the Right Oil
Your recipe calls for olive oil but you only have vegetable oil. Oil is oil, right? Wrong. It can change the flavor and texture of your dish. A great article about the different types of oil can be found here.
Toast it Up
Everything from nuts to spices to tomato paste are more flavorful when you toast them! I almost always brown my butter when using it in a recipe and the flavor just sings!
Brine Chicken Breasts
Some might not like chicken breasts because they do not have as much fat as the dark meat, but you can still get juicy, flavorful chicken breasts if you brine them. A handy article about this can be found here.
When people first start eating healthy they might have a few recipes they recycle over and over. Boring! Step out of your comfort zone and try something from another land. Fish sauce, chiles, and miso are some of my favorite ingredients now.
Follow the Directions
Does your recipe say to pre-heat your oven? Does it say to brown your meat? Does it say to saute your onions first? Many of these things may seem like overkill and completely unnecessary, but believe me they are written that way for a reason!
Last but certainly not least, don’t give up! One bad dish doesn’t mean you’re a bad cook. One trip through a drive thru doesn’t mean your a failure.
It just means your human.
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