Fittest Loser contestants learn tips for cooking and eating right

  • Regina Lapy, 14, left, helps Fittest Loser participant Annamarie McMurray of Schaumburg make zoodles.

      Regina Lapy, 14, left, helps Fittest Loser participant Annamarie McMurray of Schaumburg make zoodles. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • Aayush Dixit, 14, left, and Fittest Loser writer Kat Polomsky prep food during a healthy eating cooking class put on by the Food Revolution Club at Stevenson High School.

      Aayush Dixit, 14, left, and Fittest Loser writer Kat Polomsky prep food during a healthy eating cooking class put on by the Food Revolution Club at Stevenson High School. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • Sashank Varanasi, 17, left, and Fittest Loser participant Bob Sinclair of Batavia prep food during a healthy eating cooking class put on by the Food Revolution Club at Stevenson High School.

      Sashank Varanasi, 17, left, and Fittest Loser participant Bob Sinclair of Batavia prep food during a healthy eating cooking class put on by the Food Revolution Club at Stevenson High School. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • Aditya Pandya, 15 left, and Fittest Loser participant Rick Meyers of Mount Prospect prep food during a healthy eating cooking class put on by the Food Revolution Club at Stevenson High School.

      Aditya Pandya, 15 left, and Fittest Loser participant Rick Meyers of Mount Prospect prep food during a healthy eating cooking class put on by the Food Revolution Club at Stevenson High School. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • Fittest Loser participant Bob Sinclair of Batavia cuts sweet potatoes during a healthy eating cooking class put on by the Food Revolution Club at Stevenson High School.

      Fittest Loser participant Bob Sinclair of Batavia cuts sweet potatoes during a healthy eating cooking class put on by the Food Revolution Club at Stevenson High School. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • Members of the Food Revolution Club at Stevenson High School help Fittest Loser participants prep meals during a healthy eating cooking class.

      Members of the Food Revolution Club at Stevenson High School help Fittest Loser participants prep meals during a healthy eating cooking class. Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

 
By N.A. House
Daily Herald Correspondent
Posted4/14/2019 8:00 AM

During the Fittest Loser Challenge, contestants put in many hours at the gym to transform their bodies, but the workouts alone don't account for their dramatic drop in weight.

Making significant changes to their eating habits plays a huge role in the double-digit weight loss many contestants have experienced.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Eating healthy starts with selecting the right ingredients at the grocery store. Joshua Steckler, owner of Push Fitness, led contestants on a grocery store tour at the beginning of the challenge to increase their knowledge of healthy foods and give them tips on how to stock their carts.

A few weeks ago, competitors had the pleasure of attending a cooking class led by students at Adlai E. Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire to learn how to turn those basic ingredients into healthy and delicious meals.

Sara Lohrmann, a family and consumer sciences teacher at Stevenson, oversaw the cooking demonstration.

In addition to showing competitors how to cook several healthy options -- and sending them home with enough food to make multiple dishes in their own kitchens -- she shared her tips on how to make healthy cooking a part of everyday life. And it all starts with having the right ingredients, both in your shopping cart and in your kitchen cabinets, she said.

For starters, Lohrmann believes in eating whole foods, which have no additives or artificial substances and have been processed as little as possible. These items are available at the store, but you must know where to look.

by signing up you agree to our terms of service
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Lohrmann, like Steckler and many others, encouraged individuals to shop the perimeter of the grocery store where they'll find fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy snacks like raw nuts, lean meats and fresh seafood.

"Stock your fridge, pantry, and freezer with fresh and healthy options," Lohrmann said.

Lohrmann said it's important to add a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables to your cart. The more colors you have, the more nutrients you're getting.

She recommends stocking your kitchen with grapes, oranges, and apples for fruits that offer a sweet taste and nutritional benefits. Vegetables to have on hand include a variety of greens, carrots, tomatoes, and red and green peppers, all of which can be used in salads, soups, and side dishes.

If you're strategic about your shopping, Lohrmann said it's possible to buy groceries only once per week. When stocking your kitchen and cooking for the week remember to:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

• Cook in bulk. When you're cooking, make enough for several meals. For example, don't only grill one chicken breast for dinner. Grill two or three. Eat one right away and save the other two pieces for additional dinners or chop one breast up to add to a salad for lunch.

• Make ingredients do double duty. When purchasing ingredients, think about the different ways they can be used. For example, carrots can be eaten as a stand alone snack, used as a salad topping, or made as a side dish. Stock up on as many of these items as possible.

• Pick a base for the week. Lohrmann has a salad for lunch every day and a few hacks make creating this daily meal a breeze.

Start by buying a large container of lettuce at the beginning of the week and making a week's worth of salad dressing on Sunday evening. Store both of these items in the refrigerator at work.

Purchase some of your favorite vegetable toppings, chop them up, and add them to your salad. If you have leftover protein from a previous night's dinner, toss that in as well.

With minimal effort, you now have a well-balanced meal that contains greens, lean protein, vegetables, and healthy fats (if you include an olive oil and vinegar dressing).

The same concept can be used with a different base ingredient, such as rice. Lohrmann also suggested having stock on hand to use as a base for soups.

Once you've stocked your kitchen with healthy ingredients that can be used in multiple ways and for multiple meals, you need to line your shelves with the proper equipment to cook your food.

Lohrmann recommended having these basic items in your kitchen to be able to whip up breakfast, lunch, and dinner:

• One pot and pan set

• One stock pot (large) for soups

• One cast iron pan that can be placed on the stove or in the oven to cook meats

• Cutting boards

• One set of knives

• Mixing bowls

• Measuring cups

• Wood spoons

• Spatulas

• One masher (perfect for making mashed potatoes or mashed cauliflower as a side dish)

• One peeler to peel the skin off certain foods

• Baking dishes in various sizes that can be used for casseroles, to cook meats, or make desserts occasionally

• A blender, which can be used to make smoothies and protein shakes as well as blend soups

With your fridge, pantry, and cabinets filled with supplies and whole foods, it's time to remember one of the most important healthy eating tips of all -- being mindful while eating.

"Recognize when you're hungry and what you're eating," Lohrmann said.

When possible, take your time with the cooking process and sit down to enjoy the fruits of your labor by mindfully eating your meal.

Once you stock your kitchen with healthy options and take the time to pay attention to what you're cooking and eating, you'll be well on your way to transforming your nutrition.

• To see the Fittest Loser contestants' latest weight stats, visit pushfitnesstraining.com/fittest-loser/

0 Comments
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 
Article Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.