Kitchen tips are the next in our short series on making the adjustment to a low-carb eating plan a little easier. What you have in your kitchen makes a big difference to how easy (or not) meal preparation becomes.
- Stock your fridge and pantry with low-carb basics
This seems obvious but many people don’t do it. If you have, for example, a pack of pasta in the pantry and no energy to think about dinner, what do you do? If bread is easily available and you want a quick snack, bread will be eaten. Instead, think about the low-carb foods you like, and stock up so that you have these foods readily available. Vegetables, meats, eggs, cans of fish, nuts, cheese, herbs and spices, and some good oils are all you really need, and you can make a complete meal or grab a quick snack from any or all of these foods.
- Steamer and cast iron frypan
Apart from a range of saucepan sizes, a steamer is great for quickly cooking vegetables while retaining maximum flavour and nutrition. It’s also quick and easy to clean up afterwards!
A cast iron frypan is great (unless your arms are not strong!) as it creates even heat that lasts after the cook top is turned off, is predominantly non-stick, and cleans up easily. It’s especially great for cooking breakfast eggs and vegies.
- Sharp knives and cutting board
Have you ever cut a tomato with a dull knife? It makes you realise how important a sharp knife is, so even if you have only one sharp knife it’s a great investment. There’s no need to go for a full set of chef’s knives unless you want to.
A plastic cutting board is great for meat as you can pop it in the dishwasher for a thorough clean. Wood or other cutting boards are good for vegies etc.
- Microwave-safe containers
Even if you don’t have a microwave, your workplace probably does. Containers suitable for the microwave make taking your lunch to work easy – just cook a little extra the night before and dinner is sorted. Some people cook a lot in the microwave while others use them purely for re-heating, but there’s no denying the convenience they offer.
- Prepare tomorrow’s lunch tonight
Getting the food out of the fridge and pantry to prepare for dinner means that you’re already halfway there for making lunch. Simply make extra for dinner and pack the left-overs for lunch (see point 4), or making a completely different lunch while you have all the implements out (see point 3) is a great time-saver. It also means that you don’t have to rely on the offerings of the local café, which usually involve a base of non-low-carb bread.
- Double the recipe and freeze left-overs
This is especially good when making soups or stews, and the slow-cooker is invaluable here. Make a huge meal, eat half (or a quarter) and freeze the rest in meal-sized portions. Whether this is for a family meal or individual meals is up to you, but however you do it you’ll be saving time and a load of effort.
We’ve left the best till last, but this appliance takes the drudgery out of cleaning up the kitchen after an especially inventive cooking session. It’s quite off-putting to create the meal and then have another 30 minutes to spend on the clean-up, so stacking the dishwasher as you go keeps the kitchen cleaner and more organised, and makes you more inclined to cook.