Monday, February 28, 2011

Cooking Tip # 4: Veggie Prep

Single Girl *Healthy* Cooking Tip # 4:  Veggie Prep

As a single girl that is trying to get back in the habit of eating healthy I took some time out yesterday and did a veggie prep with most of what was in my fridge.  I have found that I am more likely to eat veggies if it doesn’t take long for me to get them from the fridge to the cookie vessel I am using, which means less wasted/rotten veggies in the long run. 

If you stumbled on to this page, but have a bigger family to feed you can still do the same prep all you have to do is bag your portions bigger.  The smaller bags would be great for kid’s lunches or snacks in a hurry.

For me, this isn’t just about bagging, but also portion size and calorie counts.  If that isn’t a concern for you, you can skip the weighting part and just go straight to bagging up your ‘serving’ sizes.

The prep:

Plastic bags – sandwich and snack size
Scale (or you can use measuring cups)
Piece of paper for notes
Cutting board and knife

Next up:

The veggies and fruits!


Using the List of Veggies/Fruits I found online I weighted out ‘serving sizes’ of grapes and marked the bag with the calorie counts.  That way later on when I am cooking/eating it makes it quicker to tally up calories.

On the chart above, they only have green grapes so I did use those numbers.  I figure it is close enough to give me an idea.  I don’t try to get the weight to the exact gram, usually staying under just a little bit.  I will also round calorie numbers up sometimes.

Broccoli and Cauliflower:

For this I will do smaller bags of them as well as bags that mix and match.


This is where that calculator comes in handy.  For the cabbage I did some double serving bags, which still only added up to 35 calories, as well as single serving bags, 17 calories.  When I was done I had an amount that was odd, so I divided it up and ended up with two 22 calorie serving bags.


Here is that calculator math for you…
My one peeled orange weighted 204g.
I divided the 204g by 131g (which is a typical serving weight) and got 1.56.  This would be about one and a half servings for the orange.
I multiplied the 1.56 by 62, (which is how many calories for the typical serving) and got 96.72.
I decided I wanted two ‘servings’ of oranges, so I divided then 96.72 by 2 and got 48.36.
I divided the orange slices into two bags, and rounded up, labeling them at 50 calories per serving. 

I did this math a lot, in the past, for fruits if I didn’t want the whole thing, or if I did want the whole thing I could figure out how many calories was in it.  Oranges or apples are rarely the exact serving size weight.  And of course it works well for things like the odd amount of cabbage like above.

Bags of everything:

I use both the snack and sandwich size depending on how big of a bag I need.  Here is everything I ended up with, minus the oranges. 
In right over an hour I cut up and portioned 8 bags of fruit and 18 bags of veggies, not to mention the prep, clean up and picture taking.

Into the fridge it goes:

I took all my bags of veggies and put them in a plastic container in the fridge.  This way they all stay together, and I can go shopping and pull out what I need. 

There are things I don’t precut, like cucumber, because I don’t like the texture of it after it sits cut for a few days. There are also stuff like lettuce that, to me, ‘goes off’ faster when cut up.

And the clean up:

I kept one of the veggie bags out and stuffed all the ‘trash’ into it as I worked.  When I was done I just had two bowls, cutting board and knife to wash, which was done in less than 5 mins.

I'm going to link this up over at We Are That Family for Works For Me Wednesdays.

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