“If you fail to plan, plan to fail.”
You and I have heard that countless times throughout our lives. However, with the convenience of packaging and preservatives it is so easy to fail. The FDA and food companies ensure it.
You have a million things to complete in a day’s time. Whether it is your 8 hour job (sometimes more,) children, school, and whatever other commitments you have, your day is full. What about when you have a day off? Doesn’t that day ALWAYS become wittled away by things you did not anticipate? Drive thru’s, take-out, and pre-prepared food is so tempting! And why shouldn’t it be? These food companies are highly intelligent. If they can get you to buy what they have already prepared with the simple notion of convenience, why wouldn’t you? Sometimes it’s even cheaper, as you can see when you stroll through the produce aisle and its sky rocketing prices. But what is the price you are paying to make your life easier? Is it making your waist line grow, raising your cholesterol, increasing your risk for diabetes, and the development of cancers higher? You bet!
What I’m going to tell you is not a secret. I am by no means reinventing the wheel. However, as a very busy mother of three I will tell you what I have started doing, how it has simplified my days, made my school nights a little less chaotic, and making sure my family has all the healthful opportunities available to them. No excuses.
Take a day and prep.
Whatever day you have off or a spare few hours, spend it in the kitchen. I know, it’s not fun, but it is setting you up for better decisions and a more healthy you. I’ve claimed my day as Monday and usually part of Tuesday. I have a 10 month old, so prepping is like listening to a ticking time bomb, a.k.a. being needed by my baby:) Sunday evening I spent about 45 minutes online looking for recipes. I’ve found a new love-my crockpot! I use her whenever I can. Then I go through my pantry and fridge and see what I have and need. Before I started doing this, I always found myself having all but one or two ingredients and needing to run to the food store multiple times a week. Not anymore! So there-I have my list.
- Go to the food store. Stay in the perimeter of the store as much as possible and try to avoid the middle shelves in the other aisles. Those are the money spots and that’s where companies pay the most money to entice you into their unhealthy, devoid of any nutrition, packed full of preservatives and artificial ingredient foods. Stick mostly to the produce section. Yes, it’s expensive, but that is because it is the good stuff. It is what will keep you alive longer and make your life more enjoyable. Yes, this is true. Artificial coloring causes mood swings, anxiety in some, and even leads to cancers.
- Come home and put everything away except your fruits and veggies and whatever meats you need for your prep meals. Take the next hour and wash you strawberries and cut them up. Slice a pineapple. Cut up cantaloupe Wash and remove grapes. Wash your blueberries. Wash your lettuce. Put all of the fruit in separate Tupperware containers and put in the fridge. Dry lettuce and either tear for salads or put in fridge for wraps.
- Cook at least 2 meals and make 1 in a crockpot. Then your work week is covered. You have three meals with the option of using leftovers two of the days. I try to make 3 plus a crock pot meal, and an addional “recycled meal.” For instance, today we are having a pasta with italian poultry sausage and spinach bake. Tomorrow is a Mexican casserole, Thursday is a turkey meatballs with pasta, while Friday I will reuse the meatballs and use low carb rolls to make meatball sandwiches. My husband takes leftovers for lunch, so then he’s not making poor decisions at Wawa. This is great for all your men. Saturday in our house is a cheat day. We will go out to eat or order pizza and we can feel good about that because I was sure to cook healthy, vegetable rich meals throughout the week. Not to mention cheating once a week helps restart your metabolism.
- Make a few side dishes. For example, I tossed brussel sprouts in Wegman’s Basting Oil with sea salt and pepper and baked them for 35 minutes at 400 degrees. Now I have veggies for lunch or a snack that I can warm up throughout the week. Make a bean salad or try roasting green beans. I just found an amazing avocado egg salad and it is a new favorite in our house.
- Have a glass of red wine. You just cooked your butt off, so put up your feet, relax, and enjoy the antioxidants:)
The bottom line is that if you prepare some healthy meals in advance, you won’t be forced to make unhealthy decisions at wawa or the vending machine. If you have fresh fruit already washed and cut up it is easy to throw a handful into a bowl of cereal or oatmeal. It is easy to put in a totable container and bring to work and eat it with raw almonds instead of the sugar filled oatmeal bar that the food companies have tricked you into thinking is healthy. Warm up dinner when it’s dinner time. This saves you from trying to get the thousand things accomplished in the evening, while trying to cook only to wind up feeling like you are going to have a meltdown. If you do this, I promise you will lose weight if that is your goal. Beginning your week by planning your meals is not easy. It is time consuming, but think of it this way-if you are making the decision to buy healthy foods, preparing them in advance to either cook or have readily on hand, you are ahead of the struggle with temptation. If you have energizing, vitamin rich foods right there for you, you WILL choose to eat them. Why? Because you didn’t just waste hours on your day off to grab a bag of chips or a bowl of ice cream and blow it.