Eating healthy can be difficult with the fast pace of life these days, not to mention all of the rich foods within reach during the holiday season. There are so many demands on schedules that it can be difficult to find time to manage healthy meals – but with a bit of strategy and smart planning we can put together a nutritious eating plan that can survive our hectic weeks.
- Create a Calendar – Plan the evening meals first, plotting out any special dinners scheduled for each week. From there, notice what foods can be used for lunch and even breakfast the next day. Can leftover chicken be sliced up and put on a nice salad for lunch the next day? A piece of leftover salmon and a cup or so of broccoli makes a nice lunch, too. Next, plan lunches for any day where there are no leftover possibilities – don’t leave lunch up in the air! Waiting until 11:59 a.m. to think about what to have is a good way to blow your calorie budget for the day. Finally, plug in breakfast – and breakfast should include some lean protein.
- Shop Smart – After you plot out your meals, check the local sales and make your shopping list. Those who use a list not only save money on groceries, they also tend to eat healthier. People who don’t use a list tend to over buy and grab more junk foods than they should.
- Befriend Frozen – Frozen vegetables and fruit are easy to store over time (saving money by reducing waste) and can be easily measured out and thrown into almost any dish, smoothie or used as a stand-alone side dish. Frozen fruit can be easily added to a smoothie or you can prep fresh fruit by portioning and storing in individual containers ready to throw into the blender for a quick, healthy smoothie.
- Prep Protein – Cook 2-3 days’ worth of chicken (or other lean protein) at a time and store it in 4 oz portions – ready to grab and go.
- Go Slow – A slow cooker lets you throw a meal together in the morning for later in the day. The slow cooker also allows you to make a large pot, some of which can be used for lunches later in the week. This is a great option for busy families who participate in after school or after work activities, as dinner is ready and waiting – whenever you get home!
- Variety – Spend a little time collecting an assortment of quick, easy recipes to avoid boredom. Nothing will derail your healthy eating plan like pigging out on some high-fat foods just because you got bored with the same few meals over and over, week after week.
- Easy Snacks – We have all heard the expression “failure to plan is planning to fail.” Well, not planning healthy snacks into your day is a recipe for disaster as well!
With a bit of strategy and planning, healthy eating can be a “piece of cake”!