Getting a Handle on Your Diet with Weekly Cooking
Posted on: 07/27/2018 07:04 PM

by John Young

Diet and exercise are both very important for our health. But when it comes to losing unwanted pounds, diet is the more important of the two. The reason is simple: an average size man walking 15 minutes on a treadmill will burn 100 calories. That’s about what you’ll get out of an apple.

Without getting into details of diet per se, one thing that needs to be addressed broadly is the fact 40% of the average American’s food budget is spent on eating out. And when you are eating out, it ranges from difficult to impossible to control the content of what you are eating. It is only by preparing the food yourself that you can control its quality and ingredients. Furthermore, preparing your own food saves a lot of money because the steak you cook yourself costs 1/4th to 1/3rd of what it costs in even a modest restaurant.

But there’s a good reason people eat out so much: preparing food takes precious time in an evening that is already cramped because you got home late from work, had to pick up kids from baseball, etc.

Many years ago, I was discussing food prep with one of our members, and he suggested a couple of books about “once a week” or “once a month” cooking. Although they were incompatible with my own diet (I eat a caveman diet), the concept was fully applicable. So I have been using the idea ever since.

Rather than delve into recipes and details, I’m going to describe broadly what I do. By doing this, I am able to pack healthy lunches daily, eat healthy food for dinner every night, and save a boatload of money in the process. (Which is good, because I just had to order new fans for one of our darknet servers.)

1. I grow a garden. When I preserve the harvest of things like broccoli and green beans, these are blanched and put in vacuum-seal bags in either lunch or dinner-sized servings. All I have to do the rest of the year is pull them out of the freezer, throw them in the microwave and nuke them for 4 minutes. This way I always have healthy vegetables available. If you can't grow a garden, that's fine -- just buy big cabbages, lots of broccoli or other veggies you enjoy, and prepare them as I describe later regarding meat on the weekend.

2. Every weekend I make a big salad. Everything I put in it, after cutting, has been dried with paper towels so it will last the week. I leave out the really wet ingredients like tomatoes and only add those at the time of eating. I store the big salad in the fridge, and that way I can just take out the container, grab a (washed)hand-ful of salad and throw it in a container, topped with some salad dressing, to pop into my lunch bag.

These two things make sure I always have vegetables available.

3. It takes the oven the same amount of time to cook a dozen porkchops as it does to cook just one. And the prep-time difference is minimal. So over the weekend, when I cook lunch and dinner on Saturday and Sunday, instead of cooking just what I will eat at that meal, I will throw a roast, a turkey, a whole chicken or a dozen pork chops in the oven. I can do other things while the oven does the rest. When the meat is done, after I’ve had the meal, I cut up the rest, put it in BPA-free disposable plastic containers, label them, and put them in the freezer. Unless the freezer is too full, on a typical weekend I will put away 30 – 40 servings of meat. I probably won’t eat ALL of them in the upcoming week, so over time my freezer accumulates a variety that I can mix and match.

4. I concentrate on “big” dishes. So, for example, on certain weekends I might make a large lasagna using zucchini in place of noodles. Whatever I don’t eat … goes in the freezer in individual serving containers. If I make almond-flour pancakes for breakfast, I make a bunch of them so I can save them for later.

Just from this, the pattern and technique are evident. I’ve done this for many years, and it has worked very well to help me keep a solid diet while keeping more money in my pocket!

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