When clients come for Follow On sessions, they frequently talk about how planning and organisation have been the keys to making successful changes in their diet and lifestyle.
Without a bit of forward planning, even the most basic new habits fail to establish. Planning and organising are the foundations to your new way of eating, and you will thank yourself repeatedly during a hectic week, when you get home late and take a batch-cooked homemade soup out the freezer rather than a sad, beige, ready meal.
There are two main areas to focus on when it comes to planning ahead;
How you organise your kitchen
Meal planning and shopping
Let’s start with the kitchen…
In the world of the Internet, everyone has a kitchen like this
In reality, it’s probably more like this;
You may live alone, in which case great! All the cupboard space is yours! However if you’re in a family of 6, there’s going to be several different food tastes and requirements that need catering for so space may be at a premium.
Firstly, go through your fridge, freezer and cupboards and get rid of anything past its ‘Use By’ date (‘Best Before’ is a lot more flexible and can be safely eaten for a good while after the date has past – use your own judgment on this), and anything that no longer fits with your new eating plan.
If your cupboards are full of junk snacks it’s going to be harder to hold your nerve and resist them.
Give anything still usable to friends and family or donate to your local food bank or shelter.
Next, place on your worktops the utensils you need to make your new healthful meals and snacks.
Cutting out caffeine? Put the teabags and coffeemaker at the back of a cupboard and bring out the water filter, herbal teas and juicer.
Snacking on homemade protein smoothies? Place your blender jug next to the plug socket, ready to use.
Batch cooking meals? Sharpen knives, make space for the chopping board and have pans and cooking trays within easy reach of the oven.
Taking new supplements? Place the packets of supplements next to the kettle or sink (unless they need to be stored in the fridge) so you see them when you get a drink.
Organise your storage containers. Many of us (me included) know only too well the sinking feeling that comes when you open the Tupperware cupboard and find mismatched lids and cracked boxes. Invest in glassware containers for fridge and freezer storage: you can use empty wide mouthed glass jars, or IKEA do a reasonably priced range; and a few different sized ceramic bowls with lids for storing things like half a lemon, or a portion of left over soup. The Zero Waste Chef has a great blog post all about freezing goods in non-plastic containers, see HERE for the details. Admittedly, plastic tubs are lighter and easier for packed lunches: luckily, BPA-free ranges are now widely available.
Now that your kitchen is clear and organised, it’s time to plan those meals!
Before you do the shopping, whether its online or a proper trip to the store, take 30 mins to sketch out your meals and snacks for the week ahead.
If one of your aims is to include more variety in your meals, browse a few recipe sites or cookbooks, pick 1 new meal to try, and add the ingredients to your list.
With online shopping you can save time by storing your ‘favourites’ or previous shopping lists in the software so you don’t have to type it all in again the following week.
Veg box schemes provide organic, or locally grown (or both) vegetables and fruits, and often inspire new meal ideas – after all, once a new veggie has arrived on your doorstep you’ll need to find a way to use it!
Consider stocking up on some ‘emergency’ ingredients – things that can be quickly thrown together to make a meal – for those occasions when (and it is when, not if!) your best laid plans go awry.
Baking potatoes: they keep for weeks in a cold dark place and can easily accompany a leftover chilli, ratatouille, frozen fish and vegetables…
Frozen vegetables: peas, sweetcorn and cauliflower florets have a pretty much permanent home in my freezer.
Frozen white fish (sustainably caught): this cooks from frozen in 25mins and is delicious smothered in a tomato & vegetable sauce served with that baking potato you bought earlier or sweet potato wedges and broccoli…
Tinned tomatoes, red lentils and vegetable stock: here you have the base of a vegetable and lentil broth. Add chicken or a selection of leftover vegetables and you have a nourishing, warming meal.
Vegetarians and vegans: buy extra tofu to drain and freeze, so you have a versatile protein source to hand when needed. Not frozen tofu before? Follow the steps here.
What are your top tips for getting organised in the kitchen?
Email me at email@example.com or share them on Twitter with @nutritioninyork
If you’d like to know more about how we can work together to tailor your nutrition needs check out the consultation options or email or call today – 07910 705272 – and let’s get started!