When it comes to making changes in your health and in your body, nothing has a greater impact than changing your diet. But unfortunately for most of us, there is also nothing harder than changing your diet. You try to make healthier nutritional choices - plenty of vegetables, protein and healthy snacks. Then, a last-minute change to your schedule pops up, and instead of preparing that nutritious meal, you grab something on the fly because it's convenient - nutritional value goes out the window in favor of what saves time and what's easiest. But there is one trick that can keep your crazy schedule from derailing your healthy eating.
Planning ahead! If you know what your dietary needs are to reach your goal, whether it's losing weight, maintaining weight, or simply eating healthier, the next step is to start food planning. Planning ahead helps you avoid reaching for those vending machine snacks or fast food meals by always having something better with you.
Meal planning looks different for everyone, but the way I do it is to spend part of my day on Sunday getting everyone ready for the week - kids ready for the school week with backpacks, homework, activities and lunches, and me ready for the week with healthy meals and snacks ready to grab and go. I boil enough eggs to get me through my week, and then I peel them and put them in the fridge. Now I always have a quick breakfast ready if I have to rush out the door or an afternoon snack if dinner's going to be later than I thought. I cook several pounds of chicken in the crock pot and then shred it and store it in the fridge. No need to stop what I'm doing and grill a chicken breast for lunch - its already done. I cut up fresh raw veggies and clean them so all I have to do is reach in the fridge and grab them with I need them on the go. And I also portion out nuts into little plastic bags that can be grabbed as I am heading out the door.
It may seem like a bit of work to prep all that each week, but it's all worth it to I know I have a healthy alternative ready and waiting when I'm tempted to make a fast food run. Plus, taking the time one day to cook meals for the week frees up the rest of your evenings and mornings to rest and relax or be more productive - the stress of choosing healthy foods is non-existent because the choice has already been made!
Cathy Derringer is an Expert Trainer at Five Seasons Dayton. As a mother of three, Cathy knows how important an active, healthy lifestyle is to parents to maintain balance and focus. Cathy's positive attitude motivates her clients to push themselves farther than they may have thought possible. Her specialties include weight loss, general fitness, weight training and group exercise. Let her passion for exercise help you achieve your goals.