What tends to happen when we start a new nutrition program is we focus on how we're going to cook from scratch, never eat out, prep our pretty little containers all the time. Fine, that works. But, what happens when even prepping food becomes tough to fit in?
The fresh herbs and the enormous pantry with every basket ingredient you can imagine...you know, just in case you are in the mood for exotic flavors on a random Tuesday night. The fancy plates and presentation. The intention that we're actually going to eat like humans at the dinner table each night from a real dinner plate.
Cough-cough, raise your hand if you actually don't even use your kitchen table! 🖐🏽
To me, stocking the kitchen for that unlikely series of events would mean an inevitable damn near exodus of all of those once gorgeous herbs, now soggy and forgotten, and shuttled into the trash to make room for the new haul of ingredients (which still won't be used).
It's a nice thought, but even if we can cook from scratch for 4+ meals a week, is it realistic to assume we can keep it up?
I'll fess up. When I began Be PowerFULL and started putting together fat-loss nutrition plans for my 1:1 and group clients, I made detailed grocery lists and laid out every single meal (all different, mind you) for my client's entire week of eating.
Everything from herbed chicken chop salads with homemade dressing for lunch to veggies with cashew dip for snack to make-from-scratch dinners every night of the week. Sure, some meals were cooked in bulk to eat for lunch or leftovers but 75% of the meals were different.
I had this overwhelming desire to make things really interesting for my clients. To keep them engaged, to give them different flavors, to prove that eating for fat-loss doesn't have to mean you're destined for a lifetime of steamed chicken and broccoli for every meal.
Now several years into my coaching business, I realize, I was asking my clients to do something I wasn't even doing for myself.
In the background, I'd be over here automating my nutrition: opting for re-heated organic chicken sausage to toss on a salad or blending up a 30 second protein shake (the same flavors that I had already had 3x already that week) or hitting up my Quest Bar supply in the pantry on the regular.
Years later, I now know is that simplicity is KEY for sustainability with our eating habits.
I don't feel the need to impress my clients with variety anymore. In fact, I value offering "actionable" tools over "impressive" ones. Impressive is flashy, actionable gets results.In a way, variety is earned.
My top 5 ways to be a basic b*tch in the kitchen:
#1: Focus on lean protein and high fiber (from vegetables) at every meal. Forget about carb cycling, gut health and micro-nutriments if you currently eat Oreos at lunch time. Focus on the big rocks and the pebbles will fall into place later.
#2: Roast a tray of veggies early in the week to eat all week or just buy veggies you don't mind eating raw like sliced peppers, cucumber, celery and greens. Focus on simplicity not gourmet meal prep.
#3: Find your favorite packaged snacks and stock up. I like minimally processed beef jerky, high protein and low starch bars like Quest and on the go single serving nutritional shake packets from VegaSport.
#4: Stock your fridge with lean protein each week. Either cook up a few packages of chicken before the week gets started or buy a few rotisserie chickens. No fuss.
#5: Get bored. Not every meal needs to be a barn burner. We're on the go, getting things done, some meals can simply be fuel.