How to Make Your Kitchen a Buff-er Zone
Keeping muscle mass up and body fat down during social isolation can be pretty challenging for a number of reasons but there are some simple solutions to keeping buff and getting plenty of comfort from food. It’s all in the way you zone that kitchen.
For a lot of us right now, our eating habits have gotten a bit out of control. Firstly, you’re bored, right? And somehow you just keep finding yourself standing in front of the fridge and the pantry and reaching for food – you probably don’t even remember how you got there half the time, right?
Secondly, you’re probably craving salt and sugar because you want to give your taste buds a treat. It’s not that surprising – your natural instinct in a crisis is to self soothe and protect. Of course, you want the pleasure of yummy flavours and of course, you want to feel full and safe from hunger. We were cavemen & women long before we were modern people who even analysed stuff like this. We were just trying to survive and go on instinct, but those instincts are still driving you and they’re steering you straight into that kitchen and down the ‘where did my abs go’ pathway.
So, how to keep muscle and stay lean when the ice cream is calling your name? It all comes down to the kitchen and how you make it work for you during this crisis, and that comes down to some zoning rules.
1) You are What You Stock
You can’t eat it if it isn’t there! Treat your kitchen like your personal restaurant that serves foods that feeds your muscles, not your fat cells. Stock up on lots of protein, complex carbs, grains, and fruit and veg. Having said that, you don’t have to be a total taste martyr. Make sure there are a few treats in there as well or may just crack at some point and order three pizzas.
2) Get Prepped
In order to get through this without turning into Jabba the Hut it’s really important to start prepping. A great habit to get into is to do this on a Sunday afternoon. Make up a big batch of meat, fish or tofu and boil up some rice or pasta and heaps of veggies in garlic (a great immunity booster). Seal them up in serving portions and store for the week in the fridge or freezer, that way every time you open the door healthy options will be sitting there crying ‘eat me’. Simple.
3) Super Snacking
Okay, let’s get real here: it’s the snacking that gets out of control, yes? The best way to combat this is to still snack but on the right things, as much as possible. Once again, have them all readily at hand and ready to eat which may include pre-chopping, pre-cooking or preparing. Snacks that really work are nuts, air-popped popcorn, corn cobs, sweet potato and pumpkin, salads with cheese and nuts or salmon, tins of tuna, chicken drumsticks, boiled eggs, curried egg, wholegrain bread and rolls, turkey, ham and chicken, avocado, salsa and grainy crackers and protein shakes.
4) Smart Hydration
We’re not saying zero alcohol but keep it to a minimum and drink smart the rest of the time. Be adventurous with a juicer or a blender and avoid soft drinks by having sparkling mineral water with fruit tea sachets instead. Hey, there are 10 teaspoons of sugar in a can! This is a big tip, trust us. Also, have your teas and coffees but don’t add too many teaspoons of sugar into your day there either. Stevia is a good substitute. And always have stacks of water, of course, maybe with a multivitamin to start your day. Fruit infusions are an awesome way to make water so much more appealing too – we love Twinings Infusions!
5) Keep the BBQ Firing at Home
Not just for Summer, BBQ food is a nutritional winner all year round! You can char grill all your protein on there and play around with marinades for delicious, healthy eating. Avoid sausages and meat patties and go for steak, chicken, meat & veg kebabs, fish, lamb, pork, tofu, and seafood. Make sure you have leafy greens with it too to better absorb the iron. And while you’re at it, throw on some potatoes or yams, mushrooms and of course onions. Why not try our BBQ Harissa Prawns? The whole neighbourhood will be sniffing the air, maybe encouraging the whole community to improve their immunity by eating healthy too. Bon appetit. 😊
6) Keep that Fridge Full of Fresh, Whole Foods
Of course, we did see the crazy hoarding recently of all sorts of strange goods. We hope you all have enough toilet paper! But in all seriousness, ensuring that your kitchen isn’t just stoked with as much frozen food you can stuff into your freezer, or enough rice to last you 4 years is really important. Your body now more than ever needs fresh, whole produce! Every few days plan out your meals, most important a rough lunch, and dinners and be aware of the amount of fresh veg, fruit, and protein you are having in your diet, then head to your local supermarket or independent grocer and grab them. Your body will thank you!
7) Continue to Eat As You Normally Would
Just because you are now eating all your meals at home, this doesn’t mean that your schedule should change. Ensure that your regular eating times stay as close to your regular times as possible! Try and limit the temptation of your entire kitchen and its contents being just a few steps away. Give yourself similar breaks such as your mid-morning snack or lunchtime. If you’re feeling peckish in the afternoon just because you know there is some banana bread that your spouse made yesterday, maybe go for a walk or some water.
It is also ok to have a new eating schedule. You might find yourself eating breakfast later than normal because you are able to do so. Just adjust and ensure that your new schedule doesn’t mean you are eating more, just at different times.