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Prepare quick, delicious and nutritious meals at home? Oh yes you can!

After a busy day, trying to figure out what to prepare for dinner and getting it on the table can seem like an impossible task.  Sometimes is seems easier to stop by the local pub or grab some take out, but if you’re trying to lose weight, eating out can be a landmine of temptations. 

Going out to eat in the middle of week can feel like a party.  Start you off with a cocktail?  Sure!  Split an appetizer?  OK.  How about some warm crusty bread and butter? Pass that basket over here! Here comes the jumbo sized entrée that could feed a family of 4. Got to save room for dessert!  Sound familiar?
CookingAtHome_350The average person eats out 4 to 5 times a week. I’m all for a splurging every now and then, but if you’re doing this several times a week, you’ll be gaining weight and losing money. And we all know that restaurant food, especially foods served in typical chain restaurants, use less than quality ingredients and lots of extra salt, sugar and fat which lead to overeating. 

On the other hand, when you cook at home, you control of the quality of ingredients by choosing fresh or frozen organic fruits and vegetables, grass-fed and pastured meats and poultry, wild caught fish, and healthy fats like olive oil and avocados.  You also control the amount of added salt and sugar. Cooking at home saves money

So why aren’t you cooking more meals at home?   

Don’t have time to cook:  With a little planning and prep work, you can pull together simple, nutritious meals quicker than it takes to call and wait for a soggy pizza to be delivered. Frozen, microwaveable meals?  Puh-leeez!  Do those meals ever taste good or look remotely like the picture on the box? Don’t even get me started on all the extra added salt, sugar and preservatives.  You deserve better than that!

Make a pot of soup or batch cook a bunch of chicken and roast a bunch vegetable on the weekend and use these components to make a couple of dinners during the week. 

Don’t like to cook:  It takes too long, it’s messy, don’t have all the ingredients, don’t have the right equipment.  I hear you, but I think it’s time for you to give it another try.  Pick a couple of simple recipes that can become go to meals during the busy work week and shop for the ingredients.

Invest in a decent knife and cutting board to make prepping easier. If you’re cooking for family, recruit other family members to help with the prep or clean up.  In my house, I cook and my husband washes the dishes – fair don’t you think?

Don’t know how to cook.  If you can read, you can learn to cook. You have to be willing to make a few flops while you’re learning.  You’re going to break a few yolks trying to make eggs over easy, you’ll over cook the vegetables and undercook the chicken. It’s OK. Live and learn.

Cooking is a skill that you can develop .Start with simple recipes that use only a few ingredients. Search for recipes by Googling phrases like “one pot meals”, “sheet pan dinners” or “fast and easy dinners”. 

Ok – so are you ready to start cooking?  Here are a few resources for healthy, nutritious recipes that will have you pulling out the pots and pans in no time: 

Skinny Taste:  http://www.skinnytaste.com/  Gina Homolka has taken classic comfort foods and turned them into healthy fair.  No matter what diet philosophy you subscribe to, you’ll find recipes easily as she’s categorized everything - gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, paleo, under 30 minutes, etc. This sheet pan meal is a dinner time staple in my house:   http://www.skinnytaste.com/sheet-pan-teriyaki-salmon-and-vegetables/  

Cookie and Kate  http://cookieandkate.com/ Kate Taylor shares vegetarian recipes that are fresh and seasonal. Recipes are categorized by breakfast, salad, soup, dinner and dessert. Subscribe to her newsletter to get the latest recipes and season suggestions.  This lentil soup make a regular appearance in my lunch box http://cookieandkate.com/2015/vegan-lentil-soup-recipe/  

101 Cookbooks:  http://www.101cookbooks.com/  I’ve been following Heidi Swanson’s blog for years. It’s beautifully photographed and features her love of travel and preparing wholesome, delicious food.  Heidi love of travel is reflected in some of her recipes which are a little exotic but always accessible.  You can search by ingredient, season and category including quick recipes http://www.101cookbooks.com/quick_recipes/

You can do this!  So pick out a couple of recipes, get your shopping list together and get cooking!  Your body and your wallet will thank you. 

So tell me:  What will you be cooking for dinner this week?

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