Okay so now that we are eating breakfast, drinking water, making our food look good, and preventing blood sugar lows with our apple in reach strategy, let’s kick it up a notch. Planning ahead is huge for success in on-going healthy eating. How can you do this? Here are my top 7 strategies for planning ahead…
1) Make a healthy food bag/set of containers the night before. This is for moms that work out of the home and at home. Portion out almonds, walnuts, grapes, berries, Greek yogurt, and other snack foods that aren’t “grab and go”. Choose a whole fruit too! Put any Olive oil, balsamic vinegar, chia seeds, hemp hearts etc. into containers too. Make a large container of fresh veggies (peppers, cucumber, celery, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, etc.) that you can munch on all day long. These are especially helpful for the car ride home from anywhere before a meal.
One fun idea for the lunch part that I was introduced to recently were these amazing mason jar salads.
You can actually make them on the weekend with a few variations in each and then enjoy all week long. See more ideas about these here.
2) Buy veggies that are easy to grab for a snack when you are getting your family’s meal ready. In addition to the cut up veggies mentioned above, it’s great to have additional “easy to grab” ones on hand. This will help you avoid overeating at the next meal. Ideas that I use are: baby carrots, snap peas, and baby tomatoes.
3) Make a meal plan for the week for your whole family for all meals and snacks. You are more likely to eat healthy food if you plan for it. Think about who will need lunches and supper at home vs. out of the house. Can you plan suppers that provide leftovers for lunch the next day? Would “breakfast for supper” work best for any of the nights? Can you cook in bulk one of the nights to freeze for one of next week’s meals? Also, I always plan to make extra veggies at supper so that if anyone is still hungry after the first course, they can fill up on antioxidant rich veggies.
4) Think about your food needs for the week (based on #3) and make a grocery list for once (or twice) per week that allows for you to have everything you need in the house. If you plan to stop on the way home from work or with the kids after school, you may bail from fatigue or lack of time and end up with a less healthy meal. Within this remember to think beyond supper and plan for enough veggies and lean proteins for lunches too!
5) Don’t leave supper meal prep to the last minute. You are tired and hungry. The kids are tired and hungry and likely bouncing off the walls or having a meltdown. You can be less stressed in the kitchen if you have sliced up beets, peppers, sweet potatoes, onions etc earlier in the day. Maybe you cooked the quinoa or rice at breakfast time. Maybe you made the salad during their nap time.
6) Plan for a healthy evening snack at a specific time that will prevent you from mindlessly eating in the evening. Some of my faves are Greek yogurt and berries; smoothie of coconut milk, frozen pineapple, and a banana; or an apple cut up with all natural peanut or almond butter. Remember, for most days, avoid eating anything at 9 pm that you wouldn’t eat at 9 am.
7) Make your favourite “treat” foods part of your planning. Do you love ice cream? Choose to have 1/2 cup ice cream in a small bowl one evening. Do you live donuts? Plan to enjoy a timbit at some point over the week. Do you like chips? Plan for a small bowl one time over the course of the week. But don’t necessarily do all three of these. The important strategy to enjoying treat foods is to pick your favourite and go with that. I like to call them your “10 out of 10 foods”. Don’t waste consumption of empty calories on foods that don’t wow you.
Hope at least one of these ideas sparks some new planning possibilities for you and family on your journey to a healthy 2016. Until next time….stay healthy!