Okay, folks. Let me just preface this post with: I am not a writer. Never have been. Never will be. BUT this is a great and easy way for me to help others. So, if you are a natural critic expecting witty or beautiful words, close down this tab. If you are laid-back and just want some info, tips/tricks, encouragement - keep reading!
Sometimes making healthier choices can be so overwhelming, am I right? Usually I find this to be true when I’m not prepared. Have you ever heard of the phrase “fail to plan, plan to fail” ? I’m sure you have, it’s some good truth. I strive to plan and prep every weekend for the following week. However, sometimes that’s possible and/or it’s not enough in this busy life we all live. So, I’m going to share my top 5 things to do to make choosing healthier choices, easier.
OK, ok. So you all know meal planning can help keep you on track, save your sanity by not scrambling in the kitchen an hour before dinner needs to be served, saves money in your budget and results in less food waste!
I start by taking inventory of what food I have. After I take inventory, I plan my meals on what I have and what we all want. Don’t overthink the meals. Keep it simple. I’m in a busy season of life with little ones just like a lot of you women. So, I like simple meals prepared ahead of time and thrown together that evening during witching hour. Although, I miss my “gourmet” meals that are fun but require a lot of time, not making those is a sacrifice I make for my sanity. So, back to step 1 - take inventory of what you have, create meals based on that and what you want. Then make a grocery list of the ingredients you need and CATEGORIZE them based on where they are in the store. This makes shopping a breeze, trust me.
This is the simple, but challenging part for most individuals. First part of this step is: taking your grocery list to the store and following it. Put on your tunnel focus and stick to your list. Grab what you need and head to the check out. If you find yourself continually adding unnecessary and unhealthy items, have your items picked up or delivered to keep you from these purchases that are hindering your health and personal goals.
Second part of this step is getting home and prepping! Be sure your fridge is rid of any old food or expired items and quickly wipe down messes. A pretty, stocked fridge is a really good feeling, promise. Ok, now that that is done, get to work!
Start by washing and cutting all fruits and vegetables for the week. Take it a step further and pre-portion them as snacks or as part of meals to make it easier to grab and go in your crazy, busy life. Throw some meat in the crockpot, brown some meat on the stove, roast some vegetables and potatoes, cook some rice or quinoa. Once that’s done, you will literally have so many options you can throw together in a pinch for lunch and dinner for a few days! I go so far some weeks as to keeping my meals redundant for easy tracking and then switch things up the following week!
PROTEIN with every meal
Again, keep it simple. Be sure you are getting an adequate amount of protein daily. Easiest way to do this, is to have protein with every meal. This will fuel your body and keep you full longer, preventing you from snacking and reaching for unhealthy options. Not to mention your body uses protein to build and repair tissues, make enzymes, hormones and also important in building blocks of muscle, cartilage, skin, and blood.
Do you have to eat a ton of meat? No. However, if you are a vegetarian or vegan - beans, lentils, chickpeas, nuts, plant based protein powders and bars are great options to get adequate protein.
EAT BEFORE YOU GO
This is self-explanatory. Your girlfriends are headed to dinner to celebrate for the second time this week or your family is having another reunion, it happens. The best way to avoid eating less healthy foods - Be stocked up on your food for the week and you’ll have quick options to have a large healthy snack or even meal before you go. Before you head to dinner with the girls, eat a large snack or dinner so when you arrive, you can order a small appetizer or dessert to feel socially included but still sticking to your goals. Instead of eating all the tuna casserole and peach pie grandma made, eat dinner before. Then when you arrive, snack on fruits and veggies and have a piece of pie. I have a friend who religiously brought her food with her or ate before she went anywhere - was it frustrating? I’m sure it was. Hard? Nothing worth doing is easy. But she had health issues and her health was worth the extra work to feel vibrant and alive. AND honestly, I do this sometimes as well. Working on goals without sacrificing my almost non-existent social life? Win-win.
DON’T LEAVE. Hear me out ;)
No, this doesn’t mean never eat dessert. During the summer, my family loves to hit up Just Cream after dinner. Instead of going to indulge in ice cream that I know will not make me feel good after and/or help me reach my goals, I have a healthier alternative at home waiting for me. Knowing that I almost always have a sweet at home doesn’t give me FOMO if i skip dessert at a gathering or a restaurant. So, I know in my mind that I can still have dessert, I just choose to eat it at home. This satisfies my mental state of not having FOMO or restriction and knowing I PERSONALLY made a better choice for myself.
There you have it! These are the simple habits I implement on a daily basis to help me make better choices for myself. I hope you find ways to implement them to make choosing healthier options easier for you as well!
What are some tips or tricks you do to stick to healthier options? Share below, I’d love to know!