In my post about how I lost 10 pounds without exercising I talked a lot about the underlying strategy for making your life happier, healthier, and wealthier through cooking. In this post I talk about how to make those delicious home cooked meals convenient. Convenience is key when we consider that every major change we want to make needs to be executed and in certain cases on a regular basis for the rest of our lives.
The first part of the convenience comes into play with the actual cooking. As I described previously, there are some serious economies of scale achieved by batch cooking. A person will likely save a few hours in total every week by reducing setup time, cleanup time, and cooking time through the batch cooking process. However, just making the cooking convenient is not quite enough to make sure you actually have those meals conveniently available.
My first recommendation is to acquire some quality glass or Pyrex dishes that will stand-up to battering from microwaves, refrigerators, freezers, and lots of washing. The containers I use can be found here on Amazon. I use those containers specifically for food that needs to be refrigerated or reheated at some point because I can just leave the food in the container without having to worry about finding a plate at work. Another set of containers that also makes things very convenient is for any dry goods you want to keep on hand for cooking or storage. That set of containers is just plastic and more expensive for some reason. I would say that my only regret is the fact that they are plastic. All the same, I have found them to be a very convenient addition to our kitchen. Those containers can be found here on Amazon as well.
Between those two sets of containers I am pretty set, no pun intended. If you happen to have kids or more than two people in your household, you may want to consider more. Another thing to consider is a lunch box/bag of some sort. I stole my fiance’s lunch bag. It is a simple bag with handles that only acts as a bag to carry around the other glass or plastic containers which are filled with food. There is no insulation and I don’t see any need for it. I never refrigerate my lunch when I go to work, I set it on the end of my desk and simply wait till lunch to heat it up. So, don’t worry if your work doesn’t have a refrigerator because you likely won’t need it. On the other hand if you don’t have a way to heat your food at work that could be a big detractor. If that is your situation you may want to look into buying a used microwave for your work. Believe it is well worth it in the long run if your alternative is going out to eat where they will be giving you highly processed and microwaved food anyways.
Another practical point to consider in terms of making home cooked meals convenient is also having snacks readily available, and stashed everywhere! The plastic containers are very helpful in this regard because I can bring a good amount of a healthy fruit and nut mix to work with me to help tide me over between meals. I would recommend eating a small snack between meals. Every two to three hours is a good interval for eating. Having that easily accessible snack at my desk everyday is a big factor in helping me to avoid the garbage food I would otherwise eat at a local restaurant or at my place of work.
Finally, I’ll end by making a plug for everyone to switch to cotton linens instead of using napkins or paper towels. On our way up to Pennsylvania my fiance and I stopped off at her friend’s house and noticed she used linens instead of napkins. That experience was inspirational and we bought some of our own. In terms of minimizing waste and saving money I would say you’d be hard pressed to find a better way to augment your meal routine. The linens that we got can be found here on Amazon. Search around for something you like because people will take note. Even though it is by far a cheaper option, people view having linens as a very fancy thing. I get cracked up whenever one of my co-workers remarks on how fancy I am because of my linens. Little do they know that I am saving a ton of money and waste by being so fancy.
I hope this gets you off to a good start! I am a firm believer that making smart choices convenient is the best way to take action to develop those choices into routines and habits. Just remember all the good ideas in the world are worthless if you don’t execute on them.