Nutrition & Weight Management

Directing Your Days

A few weeks ago I wrote a post on finding balance. Part of finding balance is taking care of yourself, and this means taking the much needed time to plan, cook, and eat nutritious meals/snacks throughout your day. Planning is the hardest part, and it’s not something anyone can do for you, but here are a few tips to help you make planning and preparing healthy meals a bit easier.

  1. Look at your schedule for the week and note the days you are busy, or working longer, that are going to make it difficult to get home to cook a nutritious meal. We know we are going to encounter day’s like this so I recommend having some go-to meal choices that you can always throw in that are quick and easy (like egg and toast with some fruit and veggies), or make sure to make a crockpot meal that day, eat leftovers, or heat up a frozen dinner that you’ve made on another night (see below).
  2. Do your grocery shopping one time per week. This requires you to look at your schedule for the week, plan out your meals, and then make a list of what you need for meals and snacks, but by limiting your grocery shopping to one time per week and planning out your meals, you won’t be wasting time shopping an extra day, and you may save some money because you won’t be wasting food. The extra time that goes into planning will result in more nutritious meals and snacks as well.
  3. On the day that you grocery shop, come home and prep some of the food. For example, cut up all the broccoli and cauliflower heads you bought and put them in a container or a clean bag. You can do this with whole carrots, peppers, cucumbers, etc. You can go a step further and portion your veggies out for each lunch and snack you take to work.
  4. On at night that you have time to cook, or maybe one day over the weekend, prep and extra meal or two that you can freeze and have on the nights that you are busy. If you don’t have time to prep another meal, hard boil some eggs for a snack during the week or boil some chicken for another recipe that you are using that week for example.
  5. Pick a time of the day that works best for you to get your lunch and snacks together for the next day. This may be while you’re making dinner the night before, or it may be in the morning when you are getting your kids lunches ready for school.
  6. Although I prefer to save the environment by eliminating extra packaging, buying grab and go foods at the grocery store for easy take along snacks is an option. Foods like string cheese, individual yogurt containers, and fruit like apples, bananas, pears, and oranges make quick easy snacks. If you are environmentally friendly you can do what was suggested in item #3 and prep some of the food when you come home. This would mean portioning out yogurt or hummus into individual containers, cutting some cheese or portioning out some nuts and putting them in individual containers. Just beware of prepackaged snacks that are high in sugar or have trans-fat in them.
  7. If you’re stuck in a food rut and have some free time to devote to finding some new recipes, it might be worthwhile to search the internet and print some new recipes off. Try at least one new recipe a week and start making a recipe box of your favorites. This will help you add some variety to your current menu.

Planning nutritious meals and snacks takes time, but once you implement some of these practices into your daily life, it will become second nature. Plus eating well gives you energy for other daily tasks!

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