time to start thinking about the future

Smart Kitchen Techniques That Save Time and Boost Energy

Start with Healthy Nutritional Principles
Think of your nutritional habits as your body’s engine--you can only put out as much energy as you take in. So cutting off the fuel lines can be disastrous. But remember, not all fuel is created equal. Keeping these common sense nutrition principles will help you make the best food choices:
• Maintain a plan for protein throughout the day to stay energized and satisfied.
• Maximize your intake of fiber-rich foods to keep your body working efficiently.
• Eat foods low in sugar. With low glycemic impact foods to minimize blood sugar spikes and preserve steady energy levels..
• Avoid trans fats entirely. They offer no nutritional value and are harmful to your health.
• Sustain an eating plan that accommodates nutrient dense food choices that contains essential vitamins and minerals.
Let’s look at some tips for adjusting your eating patterns to your busy schedule without cheating your health. We’ll start with what a closer look at your kitchen.
Your Optimal Kitchen
Your kitchen equipment and tools are the heart and soul of a high-energy kitchen, so eating healthy requires a little bit of kitchen organization. Bear in mind that preparing and cooking food can be therapeutic, so enjoy it. . Your kitchen is your haven for improving and sustaining life. . Accordingly, you want to be able to have several options for preparing various foods. Here are some ideas for unique equipment to jumpstart your kitchen, many of which you may already have.
Grills (indoor and outdoor): Most people have outdoor grills, but what about an indoor grill? These cook meat on both sides with the excess fats running off into a drip tray. They are also great for grilling crispy vegetables.
Multi-speed blender: You'll need this for making your own protein shakes or for “dressing up” an Atkins Advantage shake with some frozen or fresh fruit. They are also great for making sauces, gravies, and salad dressings.
Wok: Stir-fry anything and everything in a wok. They are great for your throw-it-in-as-you-go recipes, and they are especially handy for cooking crispy vegetables while maintaining their nutritional value.
Food processor: With this you can slice and dice and cut and shave and, basically, create anything on-the-spot.
Slow cooker: Perfect for the high-protein lifestyle, it’ll do the cooking for you while you’re away. Cooking meat slowly, for several hours, makes it fall-off-the-fork tender, and it stays juicier as well. Toss meat, vegetables and sauces together for an improvised stew that's loaded with protein.
Airtight freezer wrap machine: One of these allows you to buy and store food ahead of time, in appropriate portion sizes, knowing that the food will stay fresher longer.
Rotisserie: When you think about a rotisserie, think protein! A rotisserie turns out perfect, juicy meats every time.

Those are some of the bigger items you might want to anchor your kitchen. Here are some ideas for smaller tools to add to your collection kitchen tools.
• High-quality cutlery
• Stainless steel storage containers for frequently used ingredients
• Silicone bakeware
• Cast-iron pots and pans
• Steamer
Also, keep around miscellaneous items like an egg poacher, bamboo or wood utensils, and plastic storage containers for leftovers.
It’s best to be stocked up with the good foods that you make a part of your nutrition plan, because if they’re in your kitchen, you’ll eat them. If they’re not, you probably won’t. The most difficult part of meal planning, for some, is getting creative. Creativity is the key, for if you get bored with your food you’re more likely to develop not-so-healthy habits. Shopping smarter equals a healthier, more balanced life. Following these three guidelines will enhance your shopping experience overall:
1. Get organized--always! Keep a list in the kitchen, and add to it anytime you (or someone in your family) notice that you are in need of an item. When you go shopping, know what you want and have that list with you
2. Read the Nutrition Facts Label: Without exception, use it as your guide to understanding what you’ve learned about protein, fiber and high sugar content. Always read before you buy. Knowledge is power when it comes to food shopping.
3. Browse and experiment: When you have the time, browse the aisles of your grocery, specialty food store, health food store or produce market. Keep abreast of new products, new alternatives and new trends. Roaming aisles can sometimes be an inspiration for new recipes and for discovering foods you have never tried before.

Meal Planning
Once you've gathered your food and filled your kitchen and pantry, it’s time to do some cooking. Pick out one or two times during the week that you can set aside for cooking. Try a weekend slot and maybe a weekday night, as well. Cooking up items ahead of time and putting them into storage containers for later consumption keeps you well-stocked with prepared food; it also means you don’t have to fire up the stove every day, then cook and clean up. When you set aside cooking time, cook up a couple of different meats, some brown rice or root vegetables and a few servings of salad veggies. Boil a dozen eggs for hard-boiled use--either to slice and add to salads, make deviled eggs or enjoy whole as part of a snack or lunch. In addition, cook up some frozen veggie burgers or scampi some shrimp. Either of these can be delightful to combo with nearly anything else. Make a stir fry in a wok, or in a deep frying pan if you don’t have a wok--these are great as meals to take to work. After preparation, put all your cooked foods into plastic storage containers and/or baggies. Combine the various foods so that you obtain a good balance between fiber rich food choices sand protein. Make sure you have enough meals for the next two to three days, depending on when you think you can get to cooking again. Food containers can be taken to work so that you always have a constant supply of healthy items at your disposal.
The Grazing Strategy
Common sense nutrition strategies are a great guide for making the right food choices that will help you attain your high-energy goals. First, overlook the notion that there’s a “breakfast,” “lunch” or “dinner.” Try to think in terms of meals: Meal 1, Meal 2, etc. When you enjoy many smaller meals, you eat less each time, and are less likely to find yourself so hungry that you overdo it. Eating smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day is called “grazing.”
Grazing has positive effects on your blood sugar level, appetite control and metabolism. It keeps your energy levels steady as opposed to when you stuff yourself with larger, less infrequent meals. Remember, though, that healthy grazing means smaller portions of good, nutritious food--not over processed snack foods with high sugar content. When you graze, don’t think snacks--think nutrition. This means you will seek to obtain the ideal mix of carbohydrates, proteins, fiber and healthy fats that fits into your long-term goals.
Don’t Leave Home Without Healthy Food
You need to be prepared in order to maintain your grazing strategy. Use containers and zip bags to carry food with you at all times. Don’t get stuck hungry, or you’ll find yourself eating anything that’s available in order to quell the hunger. Remember: don’t ever starve yourself! Keep a small cooler in your car, as well as emergency food. An Atkins Advantage bar or shake will work as a convenient snack on the go. . Carry small food items in your backpack, briefcase or purse:, nuts, cut up veggies, tuna pouches work well. Of course, Atkins Advantage protein bars can be taken anywhere as the perfect, just-in-time meal or snack -on-the-go. And always, always keep a stash of hydration wherever you are. Keep two bottles of water in your car at all times.

To learn more about the strategy for building a high-energy lifestyle, be sure to sign up for this month's featured free course at the Atkins Learning Center: “Smart Kitchen…Save Time, Boost Energy with these Kitchen Techniques. You'll explore some creative ways for planning and organizing for a lifetime of high-energy habits, starting with your kitchen. This free, instructor-led course has a lively Message Board where you can ask questions and discuss your health and nutritional goals with others. And while you're there, check out our other great course offerings at the Atkins Learning Center. Atkins Learning Center. See you in class!

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