Are you short on time? Tired? Stressed? Busy at work?
Do you find yourself grabbing pre-packaged, processed food instead of preparing a healthy meal or snack?
You are not alone.
Eating healthy doesn’t have to be hard. Give yourself an hour or two, once a week, to prep your food and set you up for success!
Tips for success
Tip #1 Plan your shopping trip
Plan a couple of meals and double or triple them. This way you cook once and will have three or four meals out of it. Do the same thing for snacks. Pick two or three snacks that you are going to have and multiply those by the amount of days that you are going to eat them. Make a list of all the food you will need and the amounts you will need of each food. You can even go one step further and organize them into the departments of the grocery store.
Tip #2 Stick to the outer edges of the Grocery Store
The best fuel for our body is whole foods, or foods that haven’t been processed. If it is in a box or a can, it has been processed. When foods are processed, they are often cooked, ground and manipulated so much that the nutrients are nearly gone. Processing can also mean there are lots of added chemicals and added sodium, which leads to high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. Sticking to the outer edges of the store will lead you to fresh, whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, dairy and protein/meats.
Tip #3 Read the nutrition label
If you do wander into the inner isles of the grocery store, read the nutrition label. First, look at the ingredient list. The less ingredients, the better. If you can pronounce all of the ingredients, even better! Next, you’ll want to look for added sugars. Manufacturers are sneaky, they use many different forms of sweeteners. The most common are glucose, fructose, sucrose or lactose. A good rule of thumb is if it ends in -ose, its probably a form of sugar. Take a quick glance at the serving size, calories, protein, carbohydrates and fats to make sure you are getting balance in your diet. Lastly, keep an eye on saturated fat(less then 1g), trans fat(0 grams), cholesterol(300mg or less) and sodium140mg or less.
Tricks for success
Trick #1 Wash, cut and store your fruits and veggies
Before putting your fruits and vegetables in the fridge, wash them, cut them up into bite size or snack size pieces and store them in containers or ziplock bags. This makes for quick and easy snacks and will help you from choosing processed, pre-packaged foods when you get hungry. It also makes cooking easier, because everything will be ready to be thrown in a pan, oven or on a plate.
Trick #2 Cook for a Army
My mom always cooked for an army and we ALWAYS had leftovers. As a kid I didn’t particularly love leftovers, but as a busy adult, I’m all about them! When you cook a meal, double or triple it. Then, portion it into 3 or 4 plastic containers. You now have pre-cooked, pre-planned, pre-portioned, easy to grab and microwave meals. Short on time? Grab a container and head out the door. Exhausted after a long day of work? Guess, what? You don’t have to cook! Grab a container and heat it up. You can do this with lunch or breakfast as well. If you’re going to have a chicken salad for lunch, grab 3 or 4 containers, make up salads (hold the dressing) and store them in the fridge until you’re ready to eat them. Don’t have time to make breakfast in the morning? Mix up 3 jars of overnight oats and stick them in the fridge or cook 10 servings of protein pancakes and freeze them in plastic bags. Make your life easier by cooking doubling or tripling your recipes.
Trick # 3 Accountability
Having the tools and knowing how to use them is the first step, but sometimes, the missing piece is being able to hold yourself accountable. One way you can do this is by taking pictures of your meals and snacks and sending them to a friend, your partner, or your coach. If you are owning what you eat, you’re more likely to stay on track and stay away from the foods that will derail you.