0.“If you can eat, you can cook” – Tara Stiles. Learn a few recipes that you love to eat. Yes, everyone can cook. Its not rocket science.
1. Make a lunch schedule: I have a list of recipes i know posted on a blackboard that hangs in the kitchen. i look up to it so that i am not standing there thinking about what i could cook. I have my grocery bill posted on my fridge, so i know what ingredients i have inside.
2. Use the fridge surface as canvas: Lots of pictures. Nutrition guidelines. Juicing guidelines. Recipies. All of em hangout on my fridge.
3. Breakfast smoothies: I have perfected a 10 minute smoothie (including the cleaning time). I juice whatever i have, pour it in a smoothie cup and blend it with blueberries, avocado and spinach. Yumm ! Having a healthy breakfast makes me want to eat better during the rest of the day.
4. Carry snacks: nuts, dates, granola, greek yoghurt, apples, banana, etc
5. Make an inspiration board: Pinterest hasn’t worked for me, it has a low turn over rate. My fridge and kitchen walls, yes, much easier to reference. I print and paint on recipes, what ever work.
6. Sign up for workout classes: i have done a bootcamp last spring that changed my life. I thought workout meant running on a thread-mill. Ben Hessel taught me basics of exercise, nutrition, ways to mix and match workouts, basic exercise drills, variety of stretching exercises, and the importance of protein after for recovery. I think this was a lesson i will have for life. Totally worth the money. And classes at school are the most affordable from what i have observed.
7. Walk/Bike it off: Walk to class. Bike to work. Skipping that bus and not driving kept me lean thro all these years inspite of my sporadic workout schedule and sitting at a desk for 10 hours a day.
8. Grocery shop: Dont sweat about organic. If you cant afford it, no point beating yourself to it. This is the only shopping i can do guilt free. I love looking at new kinds of food, experimenting, learning the origin of food, taking pictures of the colors, etc. Rule of thumb: stick to the outer periphery of the store. Never pick up that boxed processed stuff. My school has a local farmers market. I take pride in supporting them.
9. Friends and support: I have to confess. I am surrounded by people who thrive on junk food and refuse to walk half a mile to school. And make fun of my obsession with nutrition. But my family has been a constant source of support. My husband adores my food and encourages me to innovate. And my mom and dad think i am one of the smartest nutrition science loving chef out there on the planet. I have also turned to online community: facebook feeds and bloggers for inspiration. “What the student is ready, the teacher appears” – The monk who sold his ferrari. So true. I want to learn this stuff and i am proud to have found a way to do it.
10. Drink that protein shake after a workout. Take vitamins. Inspite of planning, i dont think its easy to get all the nutrients we need from the limited range of food we eat.
11. 5 minute meals: i can make a filling yummy salad that i like, in 5 minutes. When i have to. Its become one of my go-to meals. I eat it in-spite of the fact that i have eaten it a zillion times before coz i am usually hungry and dont want to spend on dining out.
12. Budget: My friend Jo has a budget allocation that i think is quite smart. She hasnt published the exact numbers in terms of $ on her blog, but she has a 50-30-10-10 rule on veggies-fruit-spices-special stuff. I think its brilliant. I am trying to make one for myself and stick to it. Being her roommate taught me some tricks. And my mom has taught me so much about food budgeting.
13. Invest: In a easy to clean blender. A sharp knife is a safe knife. And tools that make cooking easy and fun. I adore my indoor grill, magic bullet, juicer and spiruli. Sans the juicer, everything else is pretty easy to pack up and move after i am done with school.
14. Eating out: Social dining has been a money drainer for my family. We are trying to keep at it by innovating our cooking and by hosting potlucks. I think i like our intimate ‘dosa parties’ and ‘midnight biryani’ feasts more. It helps that my husband loves my food and appreciates it more than restaurant food.
Tid Bit: Date Nights
This modest set up looks more beautiful to me than many many restaurants i have been to. The way to a man’s heart: 1. Something really yummy. 2. Something thats really healthy for the heart after all. Clogged arteries are a no no. 3. Something new that he has never tasted. Intellectually stimulating?
Note: Part 2 will contain seven 20-minute recipes that count as balanced nutrition, easy to make and take very little time to make and clean up after. Avoid freshman 15.