Dian Thomas, Dian Thomas
As I talk to people who want to lose weight and create a healthier lifestyle, their biggest challenge is planning and taking the time to set up an environment for healthful eating.
That was a huge challenge for me until I developed a system to buy nutritious food and then set it up so that it supported me to fix "fast foods" at home.
Now I enjoy the benefit of my organization and the reward to healthful eating. Once I am organized, it does not take me more that 15 minutes to cook a meal.
I have shared before in my columns that I like to power load with vegetables by fixing the four S's: salads, soups, sandwiches and stir-fry.
There are also times when I will steam two or three vegetables and have it with a 3-ounce cooked piece of lean meat.
I can also substitute a salad in the place of the steamed vegetables. The same vegetables can be used in all of the selections but the preparation is different for each meal.
Be sure to check the grocery ads before you go shopping in order to save money. Then make a list of what you will need for the week. I like to take advantage of the sales and the items that are in season. In the summer, I love to go to the farmers market for really fresh produce.
Weekends are the best time to set up for the coming week. Here are the basic steps for success:
1. Make a shopping list. Fold a regular sheet of paper in thirds in both ways giving you nine boxes to make your list. The headers for each box are: produce, dairy, meats, frozen, canned, dry goods, household supplies and other errands. Do not go shopping when you are hungry.
2. When the shopping is over, I return home and spend time organizing my food and setting up my fridge.
3. Prepare and set up snack for the week.
4. If I have purchased any meat, I will weigh it and cut it into portion sizes (raw meat in 4 ounce portions and cooked meats 3 ounce per person) and freeze.
5. Rectangular plastic containers lined with a paper towel and covered with a shower cap are great for holding vegetables that I purchase in quantity. This makes it easy to see and easy to use. Shower caps are inexpensive at the dollar store.
Here is how I set up my refrigerator:
Top shelf: One-cup containers that hold pre-measured foods, including a half-cup of no-fat cottage cheese, one cup no-fat Greek yogurt, salsa or steamed butternut squash.
Second shelf: From right to left are greens prepared for salad, proportioned meats that have come from the freezer to thaw, green beans, celery and yellow squash.
Third shelf: Spring greens, yogurt, beets, broccoli and eggs. I will hard boil six eggs, mark them and leave the rest to use in cooking or for breakfast.
Cooler boxes: One for fruit and the other for vegetables
Freezer: Meats are measure and frozen in serving-size portions.
These small steps will make a big difference in your health, weight and happiness.
Dian Thomas' new book "Tipping the Scales in Your Favor," is now available in Dans, Deseret Books, Fresh Market and Maceys, and as well as on her website at www.DianThomas.com. A video by BYU on her weight-loss journey is also on her website. A schedule of her events is also on her website.
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