glow notes

Friday, May 06, 2005

What's in my kitchen?

A lot of our health-conscious friends complain that they are short on time, and therefore eat out a lot. Most of them indeed are short on time. Some are running businesses, many have young kids, etc. I've been there. It's hard to fit food planning and eating right into your schedule.

However, restaurant food is incredibly fattening, even if you eat portion sizes that are reasonable, which is hard to do given that your plate usually has enough for three bodybuilders on it. I've taken cooking classes taught by chefs that work at fancy places, and they all say the same thing: if you knew how much butter, cream, olive oil, truffle oil, etc. goes into restaurant food, you'd stay home. Why is this? Mostly because they're cooking fast and in volume - they don't have time to make food taste great without the fat.

However, there are foods you can have in your cupboard/freezer/fridge that can make staying home faster than eating out. Some of them are not the ideal health foods, but they're a whole lot better than the alternative of restaurant/fast food eating. They're a whole lot easier on the budget, too.

Here's what's in my kitchen right now:

Fridge
  • Bagged salads and precut veggies
  • Cheese: string cheese, a good sharp cheddar, Romano or Parmesan
  • Turkey or chicken sausage, the spicy kind
  • Precooked shredded bbq chicken
  • Premade pizza dough and pizza fixings (sauce, Canadian bacon, Romano cheese to sprinkle on top).
  • Eggs and a carton of egg whites
  • Sprouted grain bread
  • Nut butters: peanut, almond, macademia/cashew
  • Condiments: salsas, hot sauces, a mean mole base, teriyaki marinade, ketchup, mustard, low-fat mayo, low-fat salad dressing, and other basics
  • Corn tortillas
  • Fat free cream (remarkably good!) or Silk soy creamer
  • Little yogurt's (watch out for sugar) or soy yogurt's

Cupboard/larder

  • Fruit: oranges, apples, bananas
  • Nuts: almonds, walnuts, peanuts, roasted soybeans
  • Boxed soups: tomato, butternut squash, and tomato-roasted pepper, boxed chicken broth
  • Marinara sauce
  • Whole wheat rotini noodles
  • Whole grain cereal
  • Canned tuna in water
  • Canned beans of various sorts
  • Trader Joe's soy and flax seed spicy tortilla chips
  • About three thousand Zone bars and a handful of Detour bars
  • Whey protein mix
  • Soy protein mix
  • Oatmeal
  • Soy crisps - I love the salt and vinegar flavor, but barbeque and ranch are good, too
  • Coffee!
  • A variety of wine for cooking and drinking

Freezer

  • Chicken breasts
  • Turkey meatballs
  • Precooked jumbo shrimp
  • Two grassfed hamburger patties
  • Veggies: broccoli, spinach, asparagus, green beans, corn
  • Fruit: mixed berries, cherry berry blend, mango, blueberries
  • Pad Thai mix
  • Mushroom rissoto mix
  • Frozen soups: french onion and cream of mushroom
  • A few high quality frozen meals
  • Cracked wheat sourdough rolls
  • Whole wheat hamburger buns
  • Precooked brown rice in 2-serving packets
  • 70% cocoa chocolate chips
  • Overripe bananas, to use for baking
  • Soy cream

OK, so what can you make with the food currently in my fridge? Here are a few samples that take less than 5 minutes of hands-on time to prepare:

Breakfast

  • I almost always eat a piece of sprouted grain toast with nut butter and a piece of fruit
  • Another option is oatmeal with frozen berries mixed in while cooking and a spoonful of protein powder and maybe a few almonds or other nuts

Lunch

  • Tuna fish with lowfat mayo salad with dressing, and a cracked wheat roll (or used thawed shrimp or stir-fried chicken in place of tuna)
  • A frozen meal and a salad
  • Leftovers from dinner
  • Chicken breast, cut into pieces and stir-fried with spices. When it's almost cooked, toss in chopped broccoli (fresh or frozen) and/or other veggies and cook for another couple of minutes. Mix with brown rice and 1/2 ounce of cheddar cheese.

Snacks

  • Protein shake and a piece of fruit
  • Yogurt and cereal with nuts
  • String cheese and a piece of fruit
  • Protein bar

Dinner

  • Chicken breast or turkey meatballs cooked in marinara sauce and red wine, served with whole wheat pasta and a vegetable
  • Sausage with a cracked wheat roll, corn, and green beans
  • Chicken breast + pad Thai mix or mushroom rissotto mix
  • Soup (with some shredded cheese maybe), cracked wheat roll, a vegetable
  • Pizza made with whole grain crust, marinara or pizza sauce, Canadian bacon. Served with Parmesan cheese and a vegetable
  • Brown rice and beans with cut-up sausage and/or cheese

Dessert

  • Soy ice cream
  • Soy ice cream put in the food processor with frozen berries, served with nuts or whole grain cereal (yum!)
  • Yogurt put in the food processor with frozen berries and vanilla whey protein (better than it sounds)

Those are just a few samples. Your kitchen will be a reflection of your tastes. But it IS possible to create good, healthy meals faster than you can possible eat out.

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