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How I do it
I spend less time in the kitchen as a Trim Healthy Mama than I did eating “normal” food 8+ years ago.
I have found Trim Healthy Mama to be the easiest, most delicious lifestyle I have ever adopted. I think I've tried so many diets – THM is like a breath of fresh air!
I always have healthy THM foods in my refrigerator, and I do that in four different ways:
- Every time I'm cooking, I make a second thing to prep ahead. Sometimes while dinner is cooking I'll just slice some cucumbers, or shred some lettuce or cheese. Sometimes I put eggs in the Instant Pot to hard-boil, or put some beans in a pot to cook. It depends on what I think I have time for, but it's a really easy way to stock pre-cooked staples in the fridge. The point is to accomplish one simple thing that will make your THM meals easier later in the week, and to do it while you're already in the kitchen and already dirtying dishes.
- Every weekend, I spend 15 minutes to an hour prepping THM foods. Sometimes I wing it (like in the session I completed yesterday, outlined below), and sometimes I use the 15 minute to 1 hour sessions in my meal prep book, “Easy, Low-Carb Meal Prep in Minutes.” Either way, I try to move quickly and get foods in the fridge and freezer in the smallest amount of time possible.
- Once every few months I'll do some freezer cooking. I'm not a fan of freezer cooking, to be honest, because I rarely have hours to spend in the kitchen. But pre-making freezer meals is a great way to save time and money in busier seasons. If you're interested in THM-friendly Freezer Cooking I have some sessions with printable step-by-step directions here:
THM-Friendly Freezer Sessions
- I buy pre-made convenience foods to make life easier – but NOT just frankenfoods! Yes, frankenfoods have their place and I'll use them in a pinch. But my body responds so much better to healthier foods, and I've learned to rely less and less on packaged products for THM. Instead of relying on things like low-carb tortillas and Quest bars, I buy pre-cooked healthy THM-friendly items like pre-cooked frozen brown rice, pre-chopped frozen onions (just .99 cents to skip the tears and time involved with chopping onions! Hallelujah!), pre-cooked hard-boiled eggs (I like the ones at Costco), and things like that. Whole, healthy foods with just some of the work taken out for you.
I used to resist buying pre-cooked things like that because I thought I could save money by doing it on my own – which is true. But it's also true that sometimes in busy seasons it's worth it to spend a dollar extra for something that you KNOW will help you stay on-plan. It's just something to think about!
what i made
- brown rice
- diced chicken breast (not pictured)
- Strawberry Gummy Worms from Trim Healthy Future
- soaked flour for Handy Naan Bread from Trim Healthy Future
- thawed Trim Train Taco Soup (hardly worth mentioning but still worth doing!)
About 30 Minutes of “E” and “FP” prep
Yesterday I knew I needed to get some things ready for the week and decided to do a quick E prep session. I got some music playing and a huge jug of water with some THM Hydrates (I'm working on drinking a lot more this year!) and got to work!
First, I put brown rice in the Instant Pot (I use this 11-in-1 model that includes an air fryer and dehydrator) – 2 cups of long-grain brown rice, 2.5 cups of chicken broth, and a few pinches of mineral salt. I set it to “High” at 22 minutes – now the race is on! Instant Pots take some time to pressurize, so it's actually longer than 22 minutes.
I have to show you the coolest little gadget I just ordered from Amazon – it's a steam diverter for the Instant Pot! When an Instant Pot releases pressure, it releases steam – usually straight into my cabinets. This diverter keeps the steam from hitting the cabinets, and it's awesome! Of course you'll want to be careful with any Instant Pot accessory and you don't want the steam to hit you directly, but personally I haven't had any problems with this. It looks like a little cannon, and it works so well! Here's a link to the one I use: Instant Pot Steam Diverter
I may sound extremely nerdy, but I LOVE using the Instant Pot for meal prep because I race against it to get as much done as I can.
Once the Instant Pot was going, I started the Strawberry Gummy Worm recipe from Trim Healthy Future (by the way, these are SO yummy and definitely worth making!). Those took a bit of time, but once they got to the stage where they needed to be refrigerated I was able to move on to the next thing. Before I did, though, I soaked the pots I'd used for the Gummy Worms in hot soapy water – gelatin can dry on and get stuck, so I knew getting those in would save some time later!
The next part didn't make it into the picture for this post (sorry!). I sprayed a pan with coconut oil and threw in some diced, frozen chicken breast cubes. I use the pre-cubed chicken from the frozen section of Costco, and it is such a huge time-saver! They cook from frozen, so all I need to do is put them in a pan, add a squeeze of lemon juice or Real Lemon, sprinkle with pepper and garlic salt, put a lid on and set the timer for about ten minutes. After ten minutes I'll stir them around and then set the timer for another 5 minutes or so until they are cooked through.
While the chicken was cooking, I did a few more tiny things to save time later in the week: I soaked some einkorn flour in kefir for Handy Naan bread which I'll make the next day, and I pulled some Trim Train soup out to thaw and put it in a bowl to put in the refrigerator. I know that's a small thing, and maybe it shouldn't even be listed here, but it's part of what I'll be eating this week so I wanted to make sure it got done!
I also mixed up the sweet and sour coating for the Strawberry Gummy Worms. At this point there was four minutes left for the rice, so I pulled the baking sheet out of the fridge and finished preparing the Gummy Worms.
When the rice was done, I took the lid off of the Instant Pot and let it cool. Most of the time I'll portion brown rice into 3/4 cup servings so I don't go over the THM carb limit for an E before I put them in the freezer, but this time I knew I'd be using it for Double Chicken Fried Rice from Trim Healthy Table so I just put it into some containers and called it good.
At this point all that was left to do was wrap everything up and put it away!
This is just a little glimpse into some of the quick prep I'll do to get my week off to a good start. I really believe this habit of preparing ahead has made all the difference when it comes to staying on plan for good!