Tips and Resources

How to Avoid the Temptation of Junk When You Don’t Feel Like Cooking

I get home from work and the last thing on my mind is cooking dinner. My body is so tired I could collapse. Unfortunately, that’s not the only pain I’m feeling because before I even walked through that door my stomach let out its long drawn out war cry. Letting me know how angry it is that I didn’t feed it sooner. There’s a bag of Cheetos to my right and home made cookies to my left. Oh right and the fridge full of nutritious food that usually goes bad before I can get to it. Ultimately I have a choice but what will I choose? Grab the Cheetos and cookies and hide in my room? OR slump to the fridge and unwillingly make myself the dinner I know I should. Most of the time I did not choose the latter. However recently I have found a couple ways around the temptation of junk food.

  1. Plan your meals.
  2. Prep all the food you can right after you bring it home from the grocery store.
  3. Find good food containers.
  4. Prepare snacks and meals and take them with you wherever you go.
  5. Have a snack before you become unbareably hungry.

Planning your meals:

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Before you go to the grocery store you’re going to need a game plan. I like to buy in bulk because it’s cheaper in the long run. I also don’t buy as much as I used to either. I used to buy food as if I was making dinner for a family of four every night. Then I realized how much of a waste it was because I’m only cooking for me and my boyfriend. I would end up throwing away more food than I could eat. One thing I learned to get used to was eating similar meals with similar ingredients each day until my next shopping trip. So before you go shopping you’re going to want to plan out what kinds of things you want to be making throughout the week and how it fits your family’s size.

Food Prep:

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This one is essential. As a server who works in a busy restaurant I have picked up a thing or two. One thing I’ve noticed is that even though all of the food I serve is made to order, there’s absolutely no way the cooks would be able to get food out in a timely manner if they had to cut a tomato every time they made a burger or cut up fruit every time a kid meal was ordered Same goes for cooking at home. While they are catering to a much larger crowd and need to prep every day, you will only need to prep about once a week. Taking a few hours or so to do prep work a week in advance will do wonders for your diet and balancing everything else in your life. Not only that but I notice that I’m not throwing away as much food because I’m more willing to use it if it was already prepped before I started cooking.

Things I usually prep ahead of time:

  1. Veggies
  2. Grains (quinoa, brown rice, farro, etc.)
  3. Chicken
  4. Fruit (strawberries, melon, pineapple, etc.)

Get some good food containers:

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You want to make sure that your food is going to stay fresh all week so I suggest getting some good food storage containers. I would go for one that is marketed toward keeping produce fresh. I picked these ones up at Ross for $9. So far they work great! If you already have plenty of storage containers at home those will work too.

Prepare snacks and meals for on the go:

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This one is also very important. Often times I find myself hungry when I’m at work or out and about. Most of the easy options are not the best ones. So I pack a small meal that is easily transported and I can eat little bits at a time if I’m too busy to eat the whole thing. Right now my go to meal that I pack is 1/4 cup of Almonds, a nectarine, three or four celery sticks and 2 oz of hummus. Sabra has individual hummus packs that I absolutely love! It’s easy to grab on my way out the door and there’s no messes or measuring.

Eat before you get too hungry:

Ever notice how you tend to eat too much if you wait to eat until your stomach is growling? Well I do, which is why I try to take a quick break and eat a small snack when I start to feel hungry. This will prevent you from becoming hangry, over eating and eating junk because you’re too hungry to think.

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