One of the most critical things that you need to know and remember as you begin your journey into the healthy lifestyle and building more lean muscle mass is that diet needs to be a priority.
If you aren’t eating right, it doesn’t matter what your goal happens to be, success will not be yours. A properly planned diet is a must for fat loss, muscle building, health improvement, as well as performance enhancement, so there’s no getting around it, you must eat right.
And, eating right means knowing how to prepare the foods in a proper manner. This is where far too many people go wrong. They can read up about the latest in nutrition protocols and diets, but when push comes to shove, they can’t implement these techniques. As such, they simply carry on eating as they always have and fail to see the results they desire going forward.
Fortunately, with a few smart changes, you can get on track to success. It all comes down to learning how to best prepare the foods you want to eat and knowing how to do so quickly so that you don’t start to feel like sticking with a healthy eating plan has become a second full time job.
So this said, let’s take a look at eleven common beginner mistakes that you might be making in the kitchen.
9. Not Pre-Chopping Vegetables In Advance
The first big mistake you want to ensure you avoid is failing to chop vegetables in advance. When it comes to eating healthy, you need to get your vegetables in, but yet, this is one thing that most people avoid doing.
Chopping vegetables takes time. When you come home from a busy day at work, the last thing you’ll likely feel like doing is spending fifteen to twenty minutes chopping vegetables as you prepare your meal.
To remedy this situation, simply chop all the vegetables you buy at once when you first bring them home from the grocery store.
Designate one day per week to a grocery/food prep day and do this all at once so that you won’t have to worry about it when the week gets busy.
Alternatively, don’t overlook frozen vegetables as well. If you purchase them like this, they’re already to be added to your meal as needed. They may not taste as great as fresh vegetables would, but when it comes to getting those nutrients in, they’ll do the job perfectly.
8. Failing To Weigh/Measure Your Food
The next error you might be making is failing to weigh and measure your food. If you want to realize success with body composition changes, this is an absolute must.
You need to be making sure that you’re taking in the right amount of calories and macros each day and the only way you’ll achieve this is if you make sure that you weigh the food out
This means having a good food scale on hand and making sure that you also have measuring cups to use.
Especially if your goal is weight loss, one of the top reasons why people don’t see the success they’re after isn’t because they’re making poor food choices or missing their workouts but rather, simply because they’re eating a little too much food thanks to non-accurate portion sizes.
Most people are not able to correctly eyeball what they’re serving. Do this for a few months and soon, you should be practiced enough you can do it correctly.
7. Not Having Proper Appliances For The Job
The next error that you don’t want to make is not having the proper appliances to do the job correctly. For instance, if you plan on using a number of protein shakes in your mea plan, get yourself a high quality blender. It’s going to save much frustration down the road and will make whipping up those protein smoothies that much easier.
Likewise, if you want to put your meals on autopilot, you might consider investing in a good quality slow cooker. This can save a great deal of time for those who are constantly busy throughout the week.
You don’t necessarily have to spend a fortune to build yourself a gourmet chef’s kitchen, but investing in a few top-notch small appliances will definitely make preparing your food and meals that much more enjoyable – plus it’ll save you time as well.
6. Using The Wrong Oils When You Cook
The next mistake some beginners make when preparing their meals is failing to use the right oil for the particular dish they’re creating.
What most people don’t realize is that certain oils can go rancid when cooked at high heat because they have a low smoke point naturally.
Take olive oil for instance. You might think that using it to create your stir-fries is an ideal solution but really, it could be damaging your health. Olive oil has one of the lowest smoke points of all oil varieties, so it’s best used in cold dishes such as salads.
Instead, try using avocado oil, peanut oil, safflower oil, all of which have higher smoke points. If you choose to purchase refined olive oil it will have a higher smoke point so can be a better option to use for heat cooking, however do note that it’s not as healthy as extra virgin olive oil.
5. Failing To Make Large Batches Of Food At Once
We already spoke about the importance of doing one grocery shopping and food preparation day each week, but in addition to that, any time that you are cooking food, you should always be cooking at least two meals, if not more.
Cooking in large batches on purpose so that you have left overs for another 2-5 meals is a great way to cut back on how much time you spend in the kitchen and ensure sticking with your healthy eating plan is that much easier.
For instance, if you’re going to grill up some chicken breasts, grill 5-6 at a time. Then you can freeze them individually, taking them out the freezer as needed for your meals.
Likewise, if preparing a stew, prepare a very large batch and then you can simply eat it as needed throughout the week.
Aim to prepare at least one large batch of food every weekend so that you can cut back on how much food prep you do during the busier work week.
4. Storing Food Incorrectly
After you’ve prepared your food, you also want to make sure that you’re storing it correctly. This means wrapping it up in freezer wrap if placing in the freezer or making sure that you have good Tupperware containers that won’t let any air in while it sits in the fridge ready for you to eat.
If you aren’t storing your food correctly, it may go bad before you eat it, which then just means food waste, or it simply won’t taste nearly as good.
If you’re constantly eating meals that don’t taste at all appealing, this is definitely going to do a number on your ability to stick with your diet plan.
3. Using High Calorie/Sugar Condiments And Sauces
Another thing to watch out for is using high calorie sauces or condiments in your dishes. One big mistake some people make is cooking their meals using the right, healthy ingredients, but then drizzling on this sauce that contains almost 50% or more sugar content.
Always read the ingredient listing on any sauce you plan on using. If it doesn’t contain all natural ingredients and is more than 3-4 grams of sugar, you’ll want to reconsider using it in your meal.
Be smart and take advantage of fresh herbs to flavor your foods. A little will go a long way towards adding delicious flavor you’ll look forward to. Plus, many herbs also have added health benefits as well.
2. Failing To Keep Track Of Your Recipes
Another big mistake is failing to keep track of your recipes. Start your own healthy eating cookbook. Make a note of any adjustments you made to the recipe and this way, you can recreate it at a later date when you want to.
Many people on healthy eating plans often complain they don’t know what to cook, but if they keep track of all the dishes they create, they’d find that it’s much easier to add the variety in that they desire.
1. Relying On The Same Foods Over And Over Again
Which brings us to the final point, relying on the same foods over and over again. If you eat the exact same meals week after week, it’s only going to be so long before you get very bored.
Don’t be afraid to experiment. Bring a new vegetable into your diet plan or try a new source of carbohydrate you haven’t tried before such as barley or buckwheat.
It’s important that you are constantly on the lookout for new foods to try or else you’ll find yourself falling off the bandwagon before you know it.
So there you have some of the main points to know and remember about how to go about the kitchen correctly to foster success with whatever your goals happen to be. Don’t take your food preparation lightly as it will make a large difference in how you move along.