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Most people think that cooking healthy meals from scratch takes time, and isn’t worth the effort, especially if you’re just cooking for yourself. But this isn’t the case at all. You can cook great meals for one with very little time and effort.
Losing weight and getting leaner revolves around what you eat. To get into the shape you want, you need to make sure that you’re following a reduced calorie diet, composed of healthy, nutrient-dense foods. In order to have complete control of your diet, and get the best results possible, this means cooking your meals from scratch.


When you’re just cooking for yourself, this can be problematic. It’s no good relying on convenience food, takeouts and TV dinners – these are packed full of calories, additives and hidden ingredients that can hinder your weight loss, and won’t provide you with enough energy to perform at your best. But this seems to be the option that many people living on their own take. This is the quick route to a lack of results though.

Cooking healthy, tasty, diet friendly meals from scratch just for yourself doesn’t have to take hours of preparation and cooking time though. It’s actually quite easy to knock up a decent meal in just 10 to 15 minutes, provided you know how to do it.

In this article, there are guidelines on the steps to take to make sure your meal is healthy, and right for your diet, and some sample recipes that you can try.

Guidelines

Ideally, you should look for the least processed food possible. This means sticking to meats, fish, vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans and pulses. While this may sound bland, when you actually sit down and think about it, there are literally hundreds, if not thousands of foods that fall into these categories.

Other slightly more processed foods, such as grains – rice, pasta, bread, etc., and dairy products are fine in moderation, but shouldn’t make up the bulk of your meals.

Processed foods like reformed meat, chips, microwave dinners and junk food are definitely off limits though.

The second thing to consider is your protein intake. Weight loss diets need to be high in protein, as protein is essential for maintaining muscle mass, boosting your metabolism, and aiding with hormone production. You can get your protein from any type of meat, fish or eggs. Dairy products are a good choice too, especially if you’re a vegetarian, or if you’re vegan, then look to lentils, chickpeas, beans, and fermented soy products like tofu and tempeh.


Vegetables are another essential component. All vegetables (with the exception of starchy vegetables like potatoes, parsnips and yams) are very low in calories and carbs, yet high in nutrients and filling. Each meal you cook should include at least two servings of vegetables, and preferably dark green, or brightly colored ones, like sprouts, kale, zucchini, cauliflower, egg plant, asparagus, carrots, mushrooms, and so on.

Finally, you can add in extras, like starchy carbohydrates, fats and sauces. It’s perfectly acceptable to add small amounts of these, but they are all more calorific than proteins and vegetables, so you need to watch your serving sizes, and make sure you don’t go overboard.

Continue reading after recommendations

  • “Protein Really is a Prescription for Weight Loss?”. By Selene Yeager.Published December 12, 2010. Accessed on May 5, 2012 Retrieved from http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/39851476/ns/health-diet_and_nutrition/t/protein-really-prescription-weight-loss/#.T6Vp0-ilez4
  • Photo courtesy of autanex on Flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/autanex/367985950
  • Photo courtesy of rainboweyes on Flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/rainboweyes/340288366