Preparation of food is crucial for burning fat and eating healthy. Pre-made foods and packaged meals are usually high in saturated fats, preservatives and added salt and sugar.
Organizing a whole week’s meals in advance should take no more than a couple of hours. You can pre-cook meals, especially protein which takes longer to cook, in advance. The meals can be cooled and stored in the refrigerator for up to a week. Small, one-meal sized containers may be used for portion controlled meals, saving time and effort.
The following are practical suggestions to cook in a way that maximizes fat-burning and torch calories while adding flavor and nutritional value.
· Trim all fat- This is obvious, but many people cook with the chicken skin on or choose non-lean meat cuts. Remove chicken skin, buy the leanest cuts of meat possible and trim visible fat. With regard to chicken, the darker meat (thigh and drumsticks) has more fat than lighter meat (breast).
· Eat wholegrain- choose wholegrain bread, pasta, oats, flours and brown rice. Decidedly, these take longer to cook but also longer to digest keeping you full for longer and blood sugar stable between meals.
· Fiber is your friend- Befriend fiber. Eat fibrous fruits and vegetables rather than starchy ones (zucchini, cabbage, broccoli, peach, kiwi fruit). Avoid cooking vegetables, especially at high temperatures as the nutritional value reduces at high heat.
· Good fat is good for you- Don’t be afraid of fat. Rather, learn to differentiate between good quality and bad quality fat. Fat from nuts, seeds, avocados, olives and olive oil are good for you. Keep the amount you use in moderation and add to meals after cooking to preserve health properties.
· Spice and Flavor- Spice and flavor are a good way to add texture and taste to your meals without adding extra fat. Experiment with different spices. There is an assortment of spices from different parts of the world at supermarkets (Asian, Indian, Middle Eastern, Latin). Keep them as standard items in your pantry.
· Dairy- Low fat dairy is an inexpensive way to increase protein and benefit from its calcium-rich properties. Use low fat cheese (choose cottage cheese in soft cheeses instead of the richer brie or camembert), yogurt and milk.
· Dips and Dressings- Make your own dips and dressings where possible to ensure their quality and freshness. Salsa, guacamole, hummus (made with chick peas, sesame paste and olive oil), baba ganoush (made with roasted egg plant, salt and olive oil), lemon juice with dried oregano, lemon pepper with vinegar and wasabi (for those who like it hot) are just some ideas for tasty and healthy options.