"I know how I should be eating, I just can't seem to make it happen."
If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard this…well, I’d be rich. When someone says this to me, I want to dig a little deeper. What is their limiting factor? What are the obstacles that are preventing them from putting intentions into actions and eating well?
Most of the time, they don't have all the right foods on hand. And if they do have the right foods, they’re not ready to eat. Winging it and hoping for the best doesn’t work. Especially in the beginning when you're just trying to establish new habits. As you're learning the best ways to eat, it's important to be somewhat prepared. Basic food preparation strategies go a long way.
Let's say you just learned the motto "Eat your PROs", and that makes complete sense to you. It feels simple and totally doable to only have to remember to eat protein and produce with every meal. But without the right food in your home and good practical strategies to prepare that food, it still won't happen. It will become one more "good intention".
Now, before you freak out and picture your counters lined up with 7 identical containers with perfectly portioned meals for the next week, this is not where I’m going with this. Who wants to eat the meal that you cooked on Sunday when Friday rolls around? And come on, chicken and green beans all week long? No thanks.
This is realistic food prep. Putting together the blueprints for meals and snacks in a way that makes sense for both your time and your palate. Think of this as assembling the pieces of meals, not cooking every meal for the coming week at once.
You can do all of these tricks in about 30 minutes total. Sunday afternoon is a good time so that the next week begins on the right foot!
Vegetables. Not very many people eat enough veggies (myself included, I'll admit!). The main reason is that they're not easily accessible. Think of all the different ways you enjoy eating veggies, and then slice and dice them up to suit those situations.
Proteins. Eating good, quality protein with every meal is just as important as eating your veggies. Here are some ideas to make sure you have protein available with every meal. Don't feel like you should be doing each of the things I've listed below...you may end up with too much cooked proteins on hand!
Healthy fats. Throughout the day, it's important to eat a variety of healthy fats. The oils you cook all of the foods above with (olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, butter) definitely count, but we can do more.
Extra Credit. Here are a couple ideas that I know can be really helpful for many moms.
Remember, a little food prep goes a long ways. No, you don't need to turn into a nutrition-freak with all of your meals cooked for the entire week to benefit from preparation strategies. But you also shouldn't fly by the seat of your pants, either.
I suggest choosing two or three of the tricks I mentioned above and give them a try. If you find that it helps you and makes sense for your life, then implement it! The goal is to take the pressure off and provide you with nutritious food whenever you need it.
Take a few minutes this week and set yourself up for success with your eating habits!
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