If preparing a home-cooked meal seems like a monumental task, it may be time to take another look at the way you cook your food. To follow the diet your bariatric surgeon has recommended, it will be important to make your own meals at home, but this doesn’t mean you have to spend all your time and energy in the kitchen. By finding a few ways to make cooking more efficient, you can give your body healthy meals and still have time left over for the other important things in life.
Start with a Plan
If you arrive home each evening without any idea of what you’ll cook for dinner, you may spend 30 minutes looking for the right recipe. Then, more time may be lost doing the dishes from last night, hitting the supermarket for the ingredients you need and finding all the tools and utensils you’ll use to make the meal. Before you know it, two hours have passed, and you haven’t even turned on the stove.
It’s much easier to go into every meal with a plan and a clean, organized space to work in. Make a habit of sitting down one night each week to plan out your meals for the days ahead, then going to the grocery store for every ingredient you’ll need. Do the dishes before they start piling up and always keep your kitchen tidy—it will take a few minutes now, but can save you hours in the long run.
Finish with a Bang
Now that all your ducks are in a row, it’s time to put your plan into action. Healthy meals will be much easier to accomplish with strategies like:
- Saving big batches. Though you’ll be eating smaller portions after bariatric surgery, this doesn’t mean you have to make small meals. Cook more than you need and freeze the rest for an easy meal on a day when you have less time.
- Trying new technology. Many appliances can make cooking significantly simpler. To thaw and boil in a jiffy, try using your microwave. To slow-cook a meal for hours without any input, get a crock pot. To make perfect rice at the push of a button, pick up a rice cooker.
- Using convenient ingredients. We sometimes spend more time cutting up ingredients than we do cooking them. If you have extra time in the morning, you can prep your ingredients ahead of time—this way, they’ll be ready to go straight in the pan when you get home. Frozen and canned vegetables can also make things easier, but you’ll need to make sure that these don’t have any added ingredients that make them bad choices for your diet.
Sticking to your bariatric surgeon’s dietary recommendations doesn’t have to be a hassle. Use tips like these to expedite the cooking process and eat healthy meals every night without spending all night in front of the stove.