When it comes to weight loss, support means everything. Whether it’s the support of your family, friends, co-workers or the online Weight Watchers community, every little bit helps as you adapt to and progress through this major lifestyle change. All of these support systems can cheer you on through personal victories and offer kindness when you’re feeling discouraged. The importance of community can also extend to food preparation, which not only works in a highly practical way, but also reinforces the idea that cooking can be social as well as pleasurable.
Think of stone soup
Cooperative meal making is hardly a new concept, the idea of “stone soup” appears in folk tales across the world from Ireland, Hungary and across several Scandinavian countries. The gist of the story is that of a community coming together with small amounts of food to be added to the pot, which begins with only a stone. By combining resources, a whole community is fed with very little effort. This model of cooking is still extremely valuable today, especially when trying to stick to a budget while still eating nourishing and healthy meals.
For those nights when delivery seems like the only option
Cooking parties are a fun and economical way to make large amounts of food that can be eaten immediately or portioned out and frozen for easy meals to bring to work or for nights when cooking seems impossible. Instead of ordering pizza or Chinese food, you’ll have the option to quickly defrost a delicious homemade meal with minimal effort; add a side salad (if you feel like it) and within minutes you’ll have a nutritionally sound supper on the table without any thought of sabotaging your healthy eating for the day.
Host a cooking party
Generally speaking, recipes for soup, casseroles and slow cooker meals are ideal for a cooking party. These meals can be portioned out making them easier to calculate SmartPoints values, and they can then be frozen to eaten at a later date. Choose two or more recipes to prepare and adjust the ingredient measurements accordingly. Either one person can do the shopping and the final grocery bill can be divided by the number of party attendees or each person can be assigned certain ingredients. Each person should bring containers to take home their meals or large freezer bags, which can be frozen and then stacked. Make sure to label each portion using masking tape and a permanent marker, specify what the container holds as well as the date it was made.
Get fresh with your approach
Alternately, cooking parties can be a great way to prepare a whole week’s worth of salads using glass jars or containers. Everyone can help prep the salad ingredients of their choice, choosing one or two homemade salad dressings that will complement the ingredients. Roasted vegetables can be made on large baking sheets and then cooled to add as highly flavourful salad additions. Add a couple of whole chickens or turkey breasts to the oven while the vegetables are roasting and gently remove the skin once they’ve come to room temperature, shredding the meat for a tasty source of protein.
Most importantly, have fun!
Perhaps most importantly, use this time in the kitchen to have fun and socialize with your co-chefs. Have a glass of wine and relax, meal preparation is so much easier when you’re surrounded by the welcome distraction of those you care about.