May 15, 2013 by mybattlebuddyfitness
The kitchen is for sure the heart and soul of the home. You wake up? Off to the kitchen for breakfast and coffee (or tea or juice or whatever you drink in the morning). You come home from work? Off to the kitchen for dinner prep. Throwing a dinner party? Inevitably all of your guests are congregating in the kitchen. It can even feel like a clown car, you have all of these other rooms in your house and people are standing on top of each other in the kitchen.
But for some of you, the kitchen is a ‘no-go’ zone, too much temptation for someone trying to reach his/her weight and/or fitness goals. Or maybe you are a busy parent and you dread going to the kitchen because you feel you don’t have time to make a good meal for you and your family. Well, your Battle Buddies are here to help you fall back in love with your kitchen with some thoughts on kitchen essentials for healthy living.
First things first: if you think there is too much temptation, if you are trying to lose weight, if you are looking to get on the clean living lifestyle, it is time to clean out that pantry. We guarantee that there are a lot of things in those cupboards that shouldn’t be there (Fruity Pebbles, box cake mixes, chips, candy, you name it). The best way to start loving on your kitchen is to make it a safe place. Take all of those ‘no-no’ items and put them in a box and donate them to your local food shelter. There are people out there that need that food, it just isn’t you.
And then there are gadgets and staples that everyone should have, tools of the trade. Here are just a couple to start you off:
1) Slow cooker – Yes, thehe dreaded crock pot of the 1980s, but this baby has come back from the dead and is a lifesaver in the kitchen. There are so many amazing healthy slow cooker recipes out there, plus you just set it and go. We like to do all of our prep the night before (which for most of these recipes takes all of 10 minutes), and then set it in the morning so when you get home, voila! Dinner is ready. You can usually get these at a very reasonable price online (or even at Walmart), and the time they save you is worth their weight in gold.
2) Kitchen scale – We wrote about this recently as Elisabeth started weighing everything for her fitness competition. Well, if you are trying to watch what you eat and more importantly KNOW how much you are eating, a kitchen scale is a must. It is very hard to know what 1oz of nuts looks like, or how much 30g of almond butter is. But with a kitchen scale, that is all take care of for you. Our food labeling is not easy for portioning most of the time, and when the calories count, the safest bet is to weigh it out.
3) One REALLY good knife – We all have that hodgepodge of knives in our house, the ones that you have had since college maybe. Sadly, these (probably) dull knives make prep time take forever, and you can even end up hurting yourself. Do yourself a favor and get at least one GOOD knife, it doesn’t have to be top of the line, but sharp and sturdy to get the job done in the kitchen. We personally own Shun and Wusthof knives (which you can get online).
4) Pantry items: There are basic items that we have in our cupboards that we would recommend you have on hand.
- Spices – we are huge fans of making food TASTE good. Chili powder, spice mixes, turmeric, paprika, coriander, thyme, basil, rosemary are all good options. For the mixes, be sure to check the salt content, as too much salt is not good for you either. Cinnamon is another great spice to have around. It goes on just about anything you want to make taste a little sweet.
- Raw honey / agave – white refined sugar is gone forever, but there are alternatives to getting a little sweet from time to time. Now, you still need to weigh and measure these items (we use ONE teaspoon as a serving, no more), but they can add that touch of sweet you sometimes need to take the edge off.
- Steel cut oats – cutting out your typical sugary cereal or white toast can sometimes leave you feeling like ‘Hey, what am I going to eat for breakfast?’ Well fear not, Steel Cut oats can be your new best friend. Using your new Slow Cooker (see above), you can set this up the night before and have food ready for the whole family in the morning. Sprinkle a little cinnamon
- Almond milk – milk is great for your kids, but there are a lot of studies out there that are linking milk to all sorts of disease. In addition, we are the only animals on the PLANET that drink the milk of another animal, and the only ones to do it past infancy. Cutting the milk habit can be hard, but there are more and more substitutes out there. We’re big fans of almond milk, but you can just as easily use soy or coconut. For any of these options, go with the unsweetened variety.
- Nuts – so long as you don’t go nuts (ha, liking the pun?), these little guys can make for great snacks. Any kind of nut will do, so long as it is unsalted (again, we have to watch our sodium intake). And make sure you know what a serving of nuts is – crack out that new kitchen scale and weigh them out. In small doses, they can satisfy that snack craving and provide good fats you need to have in your diet.
Lastly, go to the grocery store and fill your kitchen with foods you can and should eat. This likely means that you are not shopping any of the inside aisles of the store – these aisles are your enemy. You should be shopping the perimeter – produce, meats, fresh items. Stock up on those goodies, and start to love them. Worried about food spoilage? You have two options: 1) buy enough for 2 or 3 days and make more frequent trips to the grocery store or 2) buy frozen – so long as it is natural with nothing added to it. We like the more frequent runs to the store personally, but totally understand that not everyone has the time.
Following these simple steps will get you well on your way to making your kitchen the happy place it should be. We LOVE the kitchen, and your Battle Buddies are here to help you if you have any questions. Just ask!