Simply Cook

Mixed salad

I have spent the last number of years working with people who are trying to lose weight and athletes who want to get that extra ‘gain’ in their performance through their diet. What both have in common is that it can be confusing for most individuals when trying to determine the correct diet to follow.

There is a huge volume of information available through social media, magazines and the internet. Every celebrity and sports person has their own take on diet, experts on which is the correct food to eat to get the required results? With so many diets to choose from; high fat, low fat, high carb, low carb, Paleo, Atkins and everything else in between, it is easy to see how people are confused.

With our current busy lifestyles and easily obtained convenience food options, sometimes marketed as healthy, it is easy to make poor food choices. Forgetting to question how nutritional is this food?

When trying to lose weight or looking for the correct food that will give you that ‘so hard achieved’ performance gain, it can be a case of maybe we need to look closer to home!

In my opinion the problem with current food choices is the amount of food that is processed, containing so many additives and sugar. This has been well highlighted in recent TV documentary’s but how many people are taking heed and making changes to their diet?

When you sit down and think about it, what foods are processed?  It is very hard to avoid processed food. How much of your daily or weekly meals actually come out of a packet Vs being made from scratch?  In general we are creatures of habit and when we get into a routine it can be very difficult to break. It is not so long ago if you were making a long car journey you would find it hard to get a cup of coffee unless you stopped at a restaurant or cafe. Today nearly every petrol station and shop has massive deli to choose from and with new premises opening there are more and more available convenient options.

We are obviously eating out more than preparing food at home in our own kitchen. Processed food is ‘big business’ which we are buying into every day.

This has got me thinking recently. Looking back to almost 10 years ago I had quite a bit of weight to lose and I made the decision to get a good eating plan together for myself. At the time I was working in the construction industry and the breakfast roll was an important part of the daily diet. Over time the good old fashioned lunch box and flask slowly got moved to the back of the press. So when I decided that it was time to do something about my weight I got the best results from getting out the pots and pans and going back to basics.

All it takes is to be organised, stock the kitchen with good quality food and plan ahead for the week with what you need for each meal including your in between meal snacks.

When you go shopping, just buy what is needed and avoid the processed food in the supermarket. It will take about 2-4 weeks to adapt to the changes and get organised. Making small changes will, over time, see the best results.

Most of the examples and pictures I have included are foods that are easily created in a short amount of time. When the oven is on it is very easy to put in some bread which can be mixed up in a few minutes. There is great sense of achievement in cooking from scratch and you will be amazed at the taste difference.

Yoghurt Made form Scratch

Home made yogurt is quick and easy to make with no added sugar. The preparation time is 15 mins and left over night to incubate it is ready for breakfast the next morning. This accompanied with some raspberry compote and homemade Granola makes a tasty snack or great for breakfast.

Healthy Food Made From Scratch

With a little preparation a mixed salad is a quick healthy lunch option and great to add to a main meal instead of veg.

Home made fresh pasta is delicious and very easy to make. It takes a little time and care to roll the pasta.  From this you can make stuffed Ravioli, Tortellini, Lasagne sheets or Tagliatelle. It freezes very well and  is ready for cooking straight from the freezer. The bolognese sauce made from scratch also freezes  very well. With a little bit of time and work  you have a ready meal prepared in the freezer that is healthy and unprocessed.

Pasta
Pasta

If you are looking for the diet that works, it is time to start from ‘scratch’. Foods that are packed with nutrition and goodness take a little bit of time and effort, however once you are prepared and think ahead you will get great satisfaction from cooking simply from scratch.

Try to make some changes away from processed food, go back to basics and simply cook!

If you need help or advice on weight loss and/or diet, contact Martin Focus on Fitness.

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