Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Food Prep

One of the biggest keys to success for our weight loss journey has been preparing our meals ahead of time. This is not only good for helping us stay on track with what we are eating but also for our budget. Over the last year and a half we haven't kept up with it and have slowly...ok maybe not so slowly seen our weight rise and our saving shrink.

We like to cook but time is a huge factor and honestly during the day I don't like it because I end up eating more. So we have a list of foods once a month we prepare and freeze so if we don't feel like cooking or don't have time we can just pop in the oven. Let me tell you I HATE reheated foods but there are certain ones I like and sometimes they are even better than the original because they have been able to marinate more.

With us looking to lose weight though we haven't made those "comfort" foods so we stay out of temptation. Instead we have been cooking up chicken (plain, marinated, raw - to be cooked later) ground turkey, and ground beef. Fresh fruits and vegetables seem to go bad quickly which kills a budget so slice them up save what we think we will eat for the next few days and freeze the rest.

Here comes the next issue...freezer burn. One of those reasons I hate reheated food but after subscribing to a food service a few years ago I learned the art of vacuum sealing and have loved it. Especially since you can seal individual portions or what we do is enough for the 2 of us adults to have lunch.

We go through it faster because everything is organized and I have a log of what is in our freezer...maybe a post for another time if you are interested, and even if we don't it stays good longer. Our bigger dishes; lasagna, pizzas, enchiladas, pot pie etc. have not been vacuum sealed because typically those only last a few weeks in the freezer.

Right now our meals consist of eggs and fruit for breakfast, chicken with a little rice and vegetables for lunch, and 4-6ozs of protein, a "smart carb and fiber" for dinner. Last night we had chicken for me/fish for my husband, medium sized sweet potato and 1 cup of broccoli. You may wonder what the kids had...the same thing. Lunches we do treat them to other things because our food is usually prepared individually so it is easier than trying to do that three times a day, but they typically eat the same as the other (cereal, pancakes, pbj, chicken, etc) They also get snacks so they have more calories than we do because they need them.

So most of what we have can and is frozen.

I try to make scrambled eggs fresh every morning but I also have some frozen in case we are in a hurry. I bake the eggs in ramekins (or muffin tins) at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. We pop the yoke and add a little salt and pepper before cooking. Once they are not wiggly, we let them cool and then seal and ready for breakfast. In the morning I throw them in the microwave for 45secs with a slice of canadian bacon, top with american cheese and if we are having carbs then put it on top of a toasted english muffin. Without the english muffin it is about 210 calories.


Added some green pepper to 2 for an omelet

The chicken we marinate in some liquid smoke and lemon or lime juice then grill. This last time we also did bbq. Depending on the size it usually takes about 1.5 minutes in the microwave, less if around 4 ozs and cut up. This is especially delicious paired with my husband's fried rice and vegetables.

Zucchini and squash is one of my favorite vegetables but I hate taking the time to wash cut and prepare it. Really it doesn't take that long but now that I have it prepared and in the freezer it only takes about 30 mins in the oven to roast it and enjoy.

We also make our own "stir fry" vegetable mixes. In these bags I used broccoli, carrots, squash, corn, peas, and mushrooms. Each bag is a little different than the next some leaving out a vegetable. I don't add any sauces, just mix the vegetables and when we are ready to cook then we can decide what to use. Sometimes instead of stir fry I'll use it in potpies...although it has been quite a while since I have made one of those.

I still have to make a list every week of what we plan to eat, mainly for dinner, but it is much easier to complete a meal. Our goal is to only eat out once a week but even then we are trying to avoid. Take last week for example (before we really got back into the swing of things) we had our plate full, celebrating birthdays, working on front porch, exhausted from working out, no food in the house, so we ate out almost daily. Over the weekend we sat down and talked about how we lost the weight every other time (after the birth of each kid) and came to the realization that this was a key element.

In the few days that we have prepared and following a stricter diet we have both seen the scale go down and feel better. Maybe not from the food but the feeling of not having to spend more time than once a week planning what to eat for the week and once a month doing a mass shopping, prepping, cooking, and freezing day.

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