Good morning, everyone!
The other morning when I was getting my meals ready for the day I couldn’t help but appreciate all of the little tools I have in my kitchen to help me succeed with my nutrition on a daily basis. Simple things that might seem so mundane actually make living a consistently healthy lifestyle so much easier.
I am a huge believer in the saying that if you fail to prepare, then you’re preparing to fail.
I know myself pretty well, and I know that I don’t make good eating decisions when I don’t have something healthy already prepared. So instead of setting myself up for failure, I make sure to bring a lunchbox with me to work every single day! It’s really exciting to start seeing that this isn’t such a rare thing in the professional world anymore. I see a lot of my co-workers and fellow classmates bring their own food with them, too. Not only is it cost effective, but it’s helping us live healthier lives and look our best. Win, win, right?
So what are the 3 main things I recommend to keep handy in your kitchen?
1) Food Scale: This thing is a life saver. It took me a while before I started to regularly weigh my food but once I started weighing I started to see that my idea of a serving size wasn’t necessarily accurate (aka: I was eating a teensy bit too much, whoops). I think this problem is pretty common and it’s something that I talk with my clients about a lot. On the nutrition label, it may say that you can eat 1/2 a cup of ice cream…but is that loosely packed? Tightly packed? Let’s be honest, if I’m measuring 1/2 a cup of ice cream I’m going to mash as much ice cream in that 1/2 cup as I can and I’ll still be thinking “it’s just 1/2 a cup! Just one serving!” And then I’d wonder later why I wasn’t reaching my goals….hmm. Well, beside the measurement for a serving size, there’s always a weight for a serving size too. So maybe 1/2 a cup is about 26g. So instead of guessing with a cup, I can weigh out exactly the amount that I’m supposed to eat. This goes across the board for all foods and has really helped me with my portions! Using a scale has also helped me increase the amount of protein I eat per day, which used to be a problem for me. Now I make sure that each meal has at least 2.5-3oz and I meet my daily requirements. Food scales are super cheap and you can find them in stores like Wal-Mart, Target, etc.
2) Seasonings: Okay, Okay. So you probably already have seasonings in your kitchen. So why does this make my list? Well, when it comes to eating healthy, its important to make sure that your food is flavorful and enjoyable….but that you aren’t flavoring your food with sugary, chemical & calorie-filled sauces. I keep a wide variety of seasonings in my cabinet and I switch it up every single day. I have my few favorites that I like to use (hey, flavorgod seasonings <3) and then I have some others that I use on specific meals. By using herbs and spices, I am getting the added nutritional benefit of those micro nutrients as well as the added benefit of a wide variety of flavors. I think its safer to have too many seasonings/spices than to have too little. Just my opinion, though.
3) Tupperware (or other storage items)- Me and Tupperware have become B.F.F.s ever since I started doing my weekly meal preps a couple of years ago. I quickly learned that its important to have a wide variety of shapes and sizes for different items. Although I will admit that storing the dang things can be tedious, the pros far outweigh the cons here. If you’re going to pack your meals for your entire day, you need to be able to fit as much as possible into that lunchbox of yours (unless you’re using a cooler or something of the sort. In which case, I ask you to please let me know if your boss is hiring because I’d love to bring a cooler of food to work with me, too, haha). I also know that if I have easy storage options, I’m more likely to pack my meals efficiently which means happier and less hungry Jacquelyn at lunch time which also means happy clients and co-workers. Catch my drift? This is one of those preparation things that I think is so so important. Sandwich bags come in at a very, very, close second.
Are there any other “must haves” that you feel like you need in order to keep your healthy lifestyle? I’d love to hear them!