Get cooking in the kitchen
There’s no denying that the best way to maintain your weight-loss journey and health goals is to cook at home regularly. This way, you can control the type of ingredients, methods and portion sizes, as well as track what you’re eating, accurately. Home cooking can also help you de-stress after a busy day, eat mindfully and nurture family bonds. But the best trick of the trade? Strike a deal with your housemates or family members – when you cook, they clear and wash up.
What to do if you're....
1. Too busy to cook?
On the weekends, when you have more time, cook up large batches of easy and healthy meals, such as soups, casseroles, salmon patties or meatballs. Freeze them so they’re ready to heat and serve up during the week to save you buying takeaway on the way home from work. You could also consider investing in a slow cooker so you can arrive home to a hearty curry, stew or rice dish that’s literally cooked itself while you were away from home or at the office, during the week.
2. Lacking confidence?
Is the kitchen unfamiliar territory? No problem. Ask for cooking classes for your next birthday and invest in healthy habits that will last a lifetime. Also, check out the growing number of online videos or smartphone and iPad apps that run through all the basic ‘how-to’ techniques you’ll need − from cooking the perfect roast to filleting a whole fish.
3. Short on recipe ideas?
Sick of constantly cooking the same things? Check out our WW recipes. Getting together with a group of friends for a swap night will also build up your recipe repertoire as you share your favourite healthy meals.
4. On a tight budget?
Follow the trend of ‘Meat Free Monday’ and use legumes and pulses in a vegetarian meal to lower your shopping bill. Market shopping in a collective of friends, or hitting the supermarket towards the end of the day, can also clock up savings on a range of fresh produce.
5. How to avoid hidden traps at home
Just because you cook a recipe from scratch doesn't mean it’s automatically going to be healthy or a hit at home. Here are our top tips for healthy, tasty home cooking, as well as some of the most common traps to avoid.
Don’t: rely too heavily on planet organic
Just because an ingredient is labelled organic, it doesn't mean it’s lower in kilojoules or is a superior health choice. By all means, shop organic if you can, but do remember that organic biscuits, cakes, bars and other products are prime examples of foods that should still be considered occasional treats.
Don’t: forget the ‘wow’ factor
Healthy foods for weight loss can and should be desirable, satisfying and full of flavour, because nobody wants to eat lettuce 24/7. Take a look at WW recipes to learn the makeover tricks, for example, adding flavour-packed herbs without the need for added salt, or boosting dietary fibre and the fullness factor with beans and legumes.
Don’t: avoid the real deal at all costs
When replaced for sugar, alternative sweeteners like stevia can help reduce the number of kilojoules in a recipe. But they can also change the taste, texture and properties of the dish you’re baking or making. At times, it may be better to go for the real deal and serve a smaller portion.