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Everybody loves makeovers. Especially the body transformation kind. It’s fun to see a frumpy person get a nice haircut and a beautiful makeup job, but it’s even more inspiring to see a before and after picture of someone who has lost a significant amount of weight. Am I right?
“Wow, if they can do it, I can do it!!”
When we see someone's dramatic transformation we immediately want to know their tactics. "Tell me how you did it!"
But what we don’t often see is the kitchen makeover that's necessary for these transformations to occur. There is no way someone can healthfully lose weight and get fit without learning how to create a healthy kitchen. And of course, that person typically has learned how to prep and cook a little bit and has the tools in place to make this easier.
Do you want to have an awesome transformation story, too? Well, I suggest you do a kitchen makeover straight away.
Let me show you how.
Get rid of low-quality foods
For someone who wants to lose body fat, build lean mass, and create a healthier body, you need access to high-quality foods all the time. Unfortunately, you’re probably surrounded by low-quality foods…foods that offer minimal nutritional value, but have a lot of other stuff that’s not good for you.
Take an inventory of your pantry and fridge. Here’s a list of foods that I would consider low-quality:
- Boxed cereals
- Refined grain pasta
- White bread or rolls
- White rice
- Canned soups
- Canned fruit and vegetables with additives
- Snack bars
- Packaged oatmeal
- Sauces with lots of additives
- Salad dressings with lots of additives
- Flavored yogurt cups
- Frozen meals
- Boxed dinners
- Ice cream
This list is certainly not exhaustive. Who knows what you have lurking in your cupboard that is just screaming to be eaten! Remember, if it’s in your house, it will eventually get eaten!
You may need to get drastic here. Remember how dramatic the before and after photos look sometimes? That’s incredible! They didn’t do that by allowing their favorite chips or protein bar hanging around the house, tempting them when they’re at their weakest.
You need to get rid of it all. I’m serious. Get out a big garbage bag and start dumping opened food items. Get out another bag or box to donate unopened food items to a local food pantry. Get over the fact that you’re wasting money by throwing it all out…you wasted the money when you bought it at the store in a moment of weakness or apathy. You need a fresh start.
Restock with high-quality foods
At this point, your kitchen probably looks pretty bare. Good, it should. Now you need to restock with foods that are good for you and will help you reach your goals. This does not need to be fancy. I was reading another nutrition coach’s grocery list recommendations, and even I wasn’t familiar with some of the stuff. If I wouldn’t buy it, there is no way in heck you’re going to feel comfortable getting it. Keep it simple.
Keep in mind, in order to lose a substantial amount of fat and build good, lean muscle you should be eating lots of lean proteins, fresh produce, healthy fats, and occasionally whole grains. These are all the kinds of foods that you should put back in your kitchen. (Read about what your healthy eating habits should be here.)
I suggest reading Grocery Shopping 101 for an in-depth look at how to shop for the right foods.
Here's a quick list of foods that should be in your kitchen at all times:
- Fresh vegetables like tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, sugarsnap peas, mushrooms, leafy greens, etc.
- Bagged salads to make your life a little easier
- Fresh fruit like apples, bananas, pears, oranges, grapefruit, berries, melons, etc.
- Lean protein options like eggs, chicken breast, boneless/skinless chicken thighs, lean ground beef, turkey, pork loin, lean bacon, salmon, other fish, etc.
- (Optional) Vegetarian protein options like tofu, tempeh, etc.
- (Optional) Dairy protein options like nonfat or lowfat plain Greek yogurt, nonfat or lowfat cottage cheese, kefir
- Mixed raw nuts like almonds, pecans, walnuts, peanuts
- Mixed seeds like chia seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds (pepitas), etc.
- Cooking and dressing oils like extra virgin olive oil, walnut oil, avocado oil, grapeseed oil, hempseed oil
- Canned or dry black beans, pinto beans, navy beans, cannelini beans, garbanzo beans, etc. (If canned, be sure to choose reduced sodium)
- Dry quinoa, lentils, brown rice, farro, barley, old fashioned oats
- Spices and herbs
- (Optional) High quality protein powder.
Once again, this list is not complete, but you can learn to be discerning when grocery shopping. Always look for fresh and minimally processed. If it comes in a package, it should very close to the original form of that food item.
Make sure you have the right tools
We forget about this step. There are some basic food prep and storage items that you should have on hand in your kitchen. This will make cooking, storing meals, and portioning out foods much easier. Most people have all of these things, but double check to make sure:
- A good set of pots and pans
- A good set of knives
- Lots of cutting boards
- A blender or similar device
- A teapot
- Slower cooker
- Plenty of food storage containers of different sizes
- Measuring cups and spoons
- A small cooler for carrying pre-made meals/snacks
- Indoor grill and/or bbq
- Aluminum foil and plastic wrap
- Zip-top bags
If you’re missing any of these items, your meal prepping and storing will be way harder. Be sure to pick up any missing tools at the store when you’re there to restock.
When your kitchen is stocked with healthy foods and all the right cooking tools, do your best to keep it clean and organized. If you can easily see all the various foods you have in your kitchen and have all the cooking utensils handy, you’ll be much more likely to cook up delicious meals. It should not be a hassle.
Of course, all of this is not a magic formula that will ensure you will meet your goals. (If you ever find that formula, let me know!)
However, having the right environment is a huge factor in whether or not you will be successful. If your kitchen needs a serious overhaul, take the time to do it. You will be setting yourself up for success every time you stand in your kitchen thinking of what to eat.
Don’t forget, if it’s in your house, it will eventually get eaten!
If this feels overwhelming...
The Strong Mommas Coaching Program makes consistently choosing healthy foods a no-brainer. Join the program and get a Complete Nutrition Guide that teaches you everything you need to know about how to eat as a mom, plus how to eat right for your body type, when and how often to splurge, workout nutrition, and more! The meals plans, grocery lists, healthy recipes, and accountability make it so easy!
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