Want to eat better but think it's impossible?
Have you tried before and bought a whole bunch of healthy ingredients you found on pinterest but did not know what to do with them?
Did you send away for a book that was going to tell you how to do it step by step but now it's getting dusty on the shelf because it didn't work with your lifestyle?
I promise those things have happened to so many of us.
Eating well does not have to be hard, or expensive, or mean forcing down giant cups of blended vegetables or foods you have never heard of.
Think you can't do it? I say-
Yes You Can! Just Have A Plan
Eating healthy can seem daunting, especially if you are short on time to cook and prepare meals. I get it, I’m a mom of four with a super full schedule and although I like to cook and bake having the time and the free hands to do it is not a luxury I can always afford. So what’s the answer?
Here are 6 Steps to follow to help you take control of your food and set yourself up for success
Step 1: Make a menu
Look in your pantry and fridge and see what’s already in there, try to come up with healthy meal ideas using what you have already to save some money on groceries.
try to make sure each meal includes protein, fruit or veggies and a healthy carb like whole wheat bread, brown rice, Quinoa or whole grain pastas
Be sure to think about busy nights when you may need to use a slow cooker or have pre-packed dinners that are easy to grab and go
Chose foods you like so you don’t get tempted to scrap your plan and order pizza instead
Don’t forget breakfast, lunch and snacks
Keep it simple: you don't need to get fancy here, especially if this is your first week making a plan
pick one or two breakfast ideas to alternate like an omelet with spinach and cheese, overnight oats with fruit, or yogurt, fruit and granola parfaits
pick one or two lunch ideas to alternate like mixed green salad with a hard boiled egg, shredded cheese and balsamic vinegar or a chicken wrap in whole wheat tortilla with avocado spread and greens
for dinner pick a protein (plant based or meat), vegetable and proper portion of a healthy grain you like, yopu can spice up a simple plan by switching the cooking method and/or the spices you use. For example stir fry some chicken and peppers with a touch of oil and salt and pepper and serve over brown rice, or bake some meat with a dry rub of spices and serve with roasted or steamed vegetables. On a busy night toss it all into a slow cooker with some broth and create a delicious soup or stew.
Step 2: Make your grocery list
Save yourself money and temptation by using your meal plan to make your list
Only buy those items you need to make the meals you planned
If you need to start packing lunches and dinners for work or busy nights add some inexpensive take and go containers to your list
If you need produce but are afraid of waste don’t be afraid to buy frozen or canned just make sure there is no added salt
Step 3: Stick to the list!
Don’t be tempted by the stuff on sale unless you were already planning to buy it or it’s a pantry staple in your house- you are not saving money if you are buying something extra.
Read the labels- avoid trans fats, avoid added sugars and artificial ingredients
Don’t let marketing fool you- Low fat does not mean low calorie and low calorie does not always mean healthy
Skip the aisles you don’t need to walk down to avoid being tempted to grab things you don’t need- if you don’t buy it you cant eat it, right?!? (and yes-I have to consciously avoid the ice cream row lest I hear it calling my name…)
Step 4: Prep as much as possible
If you need hard boiled eggs all week for a snack, cook them all at once
Throw chicken breast in the slow cooker or oven while you measure and pre-pack snacks so it's done for the whole week
If you are planning on salads wash and cut veggies before you put them away or even mix up your salads into jars or Tupperware so you can just grab them when you need them
Think about your life and the things that prevent you from eating healthy or cooking at home and come up with solutions to help yourself overcome them- here are just a few ideas of what I mean:
if breakfast is hard for you pre cook some ground turkey, peppers and eggs and roll them up in whole wheat tortillas for some homemade breakfast burritos, wrap individually and store in the freezer. Now you can grab when you need it, pop it in the microwave for 60-90 seconds and have a healthy quick breakfast
Put together overnight oats for a few days to grab and go
Make salad in jars so you don’t have to think about what to take for lunch
Make extras of healthy dinners and then portion the leftovers in Tupperware so it’s a quick meal for another day
Wash and cut veggies for dinner recipes if you have time on the weekend to cut cooking time on those busy nights
Step 5: Follow your Plan
This may be the hardest step because old habits are hard to break
Yes, there will be days that the chicken and rice you planned doesn’t sound that good but since you already have the ingredients and maybe even some prep done, it will be ready quicker than you can decide what else to have and by the time you finish eating it you will realize it was actually just fine and now you can pat yourself on the back for making dinner, eating healthy, following through with your commitment to yourself and not wasting food you bought or money on takeout unnecessarily.
Step 6: Repeat….