Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Roughing It: Cooking Tips for Eating In

Following a fertility diet, as you know, can be tough stuff. Eating all organic and avoiding (or eliminating) dairy, processed sugar and wheat can also mean that you eat in all the time—because it’s too hard to find the foods you need at restaurants.

This translates to a lot of cooking, which can be especially taxing if you’re not someone who normally or regularly cooks. And even if you are – cooking every day with sometimes hard to find produce or food products, with everything else that you’re going through right now? Not easy! How do you not end up cooking the same three to five dishes over and over again? So here are a few tips my husband and I--who am I kidding? My husband does all the cooking around here—some tips my husband has used to make the process a little easier.  (These might be obvious to some.)
  • Plan generally what you’re going to have during the week and do the “big” shopping for everything you think you’ll need on the weekend before.
  • Plan to do a second, smaller shopping trip right after work mid-week, like Wednesday, because some fresh produce items may not make it to the following weekend, or you may forget some items, or you may not be able to plan meals more than three days ahead.
  • Know what you’re going to get and where to find them. Give yourself time at the start of the diet to figure out where to find the organic produce, meat, non-wheat options and so on. A local health food store or retailer of organic and natural foods is a good start.  Farmer’s Markets or local farm co-ops with delivery service can offer great, organic produce. Return to the same sources, because you’ll know where everything is.
  • Although it’s best to eat your meals right after you cook them, if it’s just not feasible to cook every night, you can do a “big” cooking job on the weekend and another mid-week to cook meals for three days in advance. Refrigerate or freeze meals until you eat them. For refrigerated meals, don’t eat them more than three days old, though.
  • Keep at home some staples that you’ll use in most (or all) recipes: olive oil, rice flour, salt, pepper, spices and so on.  Have pans and other equipment ready.
  • Cut, slice, dice all ingredients needed for a recipe before you start, so they’re ready to use.
  • Clean up as you cook, and right after cooking—or at the latest, right after eating. If you wait any longer than that, dishes won’t get done and when you see them in your sink or on the stove the next night, you won’t be motivated to cook.
  • Play! Buy a variety of different vegetables and force yourself to figure out what you might cook with them—spur of the moment.  Look up recipes on the Internet, or in your favorite cookbook, and see if you can adapt them to fit your diet. This ensures you get variety, and maybe have some fun too.