Learning the Importance of Prep with the Cooking Light Diet

January 29, 2016 | By | Comments (4)

We assembled a task force of staff from our Birmingham offices, which include sister brands Southern Living, Coastal Living, MyRecipes, and Oxmoor House, to try the Cooking Light Diet for 3 months last fall (October-December 2015) and blog about it. Here’s what they had to say.

I’ve always considered myself a pretty decent cook. Since I started working at Dairy Queen at the age of 16, I’ve held down numerous service industry jobs. From line cook to the sole cook in a tiny pub kitchen to server, I thought I knew what I was doing. I mean, I work for a cooking magazine! I knew I could handle whatever recipes the Cooking Light Diet threw at me in my first month on the plan. Sure, I was a little out of practice because I don’t much care for my tiny apartment kitchen, but how hard could preparing one of our recipes be?


I did a lot of grilling and chilling once upon a time. Come back, 16-year-old metabolism! Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Answer: Very hard when you’re rusty and don’t prepare. That first Monday evening I prepared our Weeknight Lemon Chicken Skillet recipe sure was eye-opening. I got home at around 7:00PM thinking, “Well, I’ll just whip this bad boy up in about 45 minutes, style it for some beautiful pictures, and dig in!” Yeah, about that…

Weeknight Lemon Chicken Skillet Dinner

This. This is not at all what my finished product looked like. Mine was also a bit saltier on account of the frustration tears, although they gave my chicken some extra POP. Photo: Justin Walker

At 9:45, I finally sat down to eat. Mind you, this wasn’t because the recipe itself was that difficult. It was because I’d done such a poor job of planning ahead. I hadn’t even glanced at the recipe before pulling the ingredients out of the fridge. I hadn’t taken the ends off my green beans, I hadn’t bought pre-cut mushrooms, I hadn’t even washed my potatoes. In short, it was absolute amateur hour(s).

Amateur Hour

Basically, Ron. Basically.

Lessons learned. I now study recipes long before it’s time to cook. I buy pre-chopped veggies when applicable, and others I’ll chop in advance and store in the fridge to have handy. I’ll group recipe ingredients together in the fridge too, because every second saved in the kitchen gives me more time elsewhere. And I’ll prep breakfasts on Sundays and pack up my lunches in Tupperware for the week so all I have to do is grab and go.

It’s no exaggeration when I say that using the Cooking Light Diet has made me a lot smarter about planning, and it’s made me a lot more confident in the kitchen. Weeknight Lemon Chicken Skillet doesn’t scare me anymore. Adios, amateur hour.


If you’d like to know more about the Cooking Light Diet, visit CookingLightDiet.com, or email us at feedback@cookinglightdiet.com. We’d love to hear from you! Have a great week.

*Members following the Cooking Light Diet, on average, lose more than half a pound per week.

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  4. Tina

    Great points about kitchen prep but I think if there’s one way Cooking Light can excel, it’s in developing recipes that don’t take 45minutes to make. In this day and age, with single working mom homes, couples who both work and longer commutes and work days all around, we need healthy meals that can be ready in under 30 minutes.

    Admittedly, I do all my cooking (not just the prep) on Sundays—and it doesn’t take all day either. If I plan well and choose efficient recipes, it can take as little as two hours to make breakfasts, lunches and dinners for the week (except for Friday dinner which is usually pizza night). And I do it because i don’t get home until 6 and I have a four year old who is starving and needs to be in bed by 7:30/8.

    February 12, 2016 at 5:11 am

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