Planning is Key to Making Big Changes Work
Changing your old eating habits can be stressful, and even more so if you don’t plan ahead. When you begin to make healthy changes and adopt a new way of eating, that change can quickly go from being hard to almost impossible without having a strategic plan. The reason is because extra stress causes many people to lean on our favorite comfort food to make us feel better, and this is definitely not what we want. Meal Planning and Prep – when making healthy changes is critical to your success.
First, you need to determine which eating plan you want to try and whether or not your family is ready to go along with the necessary changes. If they aren’t, don’t sweat, trying to convince them will cause you more stress than you need at this time of important change. There are several options that you may want to look at before deciding on any specific eating plan. The Paleo diet is one that I might recommend that you look at and see if it might be right for you, especially if you are trying to lose weight and adopt a more healthy way of eating at the same time. Also the the Paleo way of eating consists of many healthy whole foods that your family may already be eating.
If your family is eating differently than you, it might be a good idea to get rid of some of the temptations. An easy solution for this might be to organize your kitchen so that all foods that are restricted to you during your transition period are in a pantry or part of the refrigerator where you cannot easily see them. This will help you to avoid the temptation of the foods you want to eliminate.
Prepare for Success
One of the best ways to be prepare for a transition to a more healthy way of eating is to clean out your kitchen. This will greatly reduce the temptation to fall back to old habits. As you can imagine, this is not easy if you have family members who are not ready or willing to make a change in their current eating habits. Going through your kitchen and removing everything that is not healthy, and everything that does not comply with your new way of eating, you will find it much easier to stick with your decision to eat healthier.
Tips for Prepping and Planning Your Weekly Meals
Planning, Planning Planning… is the first and foremost activity you need to engage in when starting a new way of eating. Which ever eating plan you choose to try, you will be way ahead of the game by implementing a good plan so that you don’t buy more food than you can use. Here are some suggestions to follow when prepping and planning your meals.
Create Your Weekly Menu
The number one thing on your list is to create your menus for the week ahead. You can do a month at a time if you prefer but it is easier, and especially if you are new to meal planning, to plan for a week at a time. You can use a scribbler, purchase a meal planner book or join a membership. You might even find a printable meal planner that you can download online.
A Grocery List is Your Best Friend When Shopping
Make sure you create your grocery list from the menus that you have made for the week ahead. This will keep you on track while at the grocery store and you won’t be buying a lot of things you don’t need. Make a list of foods and ingredients you currently have on hand and use them for meal ideas. You can then take that list and finish it with other meal ideas, thinking about ingredients you can use for multiple meals and snacks.
Prepare Your Veggies Ahead
When it comes to prepping, you don’t actually have to make all your meals ahead of time and freeze them. Not everyone has the time to bake a week’s worth of dinners, and you might not have enough room in your freezer. But you can at least get all your veggies ready, as these tend to take a fair bit of time when preparing meals. Chops and slice veggies as needed, including spiralizing some to use as pasta if you like.
Veggies to Prep Ahead
Slicing and chopping your veggies ahead will save you time when preparing meals. Here are some veggies that you can prepare ahead.
Zucchini For Pasta
If you plan to make a veggie pasta, you most likely will be using zucchini. This is one of the best vegetables to use, even compared to other types of squash. Spiralizing zucchini if you have a good spiralizing tool isn’t hard, but it is a little time consuming. It can be very helpful if you do this beforehand. Fill up a medium-size food storage container with the ‘pasta’ and it will be ready to go when you are.
Clicking on this link or the image of the Spirilizer at left will take you to the Amazon website if you want to take a look at this or others to check out the different models and read a bit about them.
This one pictured at left comes with three cookbooks.
Low Carb, Gluten-Free and Paleo.
- Wash and dry your leafy greens when you bring them home and put them into storage containers in the fridge. I love my Fridge Smart Tupperware containers, which keep my produce much longer than if left in plastic bags or containers. Those are one of the best investments that I have ever made.
- Tear your lettuces that you will use for the week (chopping sometimes make lettuce turn brown on the edges
Chopping, Slicing and Dicing
For other veggies, you probably want them chopped, sliced, or diced for your different snacks or meal ideas. Grab your meal list for the week so you know what form these vegetables are going to take. Work one by one and get the prep work done.
Depending on your menu plan, this task could include chopping broccoli, cauliflower, cutting sweet potatoes into long, thin slices for fries, or cutting half your peppers in half for tacos, and the other half into slices for fajitas or chopped up to toss into a salad, an omelette or even soup or stew. Chop and slice onions and celery can by chopped or left in short lengths for munching on. Doing this now saves you a lot of time when it comes time to cook or put your meals together.
Make Three Types of Meat in One Pan
I love this idea and it works great! Here is one interesting way you can prep and plan for your weeks meals. Cook three types of meat or meat seasoned three different ways in a single pan. This can save you a tremendous amount of time. You can also do veggies this way. This is a good way to save time when preparing freezer meals, rather than cooking everything separate.
Use aluminium foil to divide each type of meat which will keep each meat from spreading into each other. For example, if you want chicken for your meals, but don’t want the same chicken each time, you can separate them in a big casserole dish with foil. One can be marinated in a honey mustard sauce, another can just be regular baked chicken, and the third can have a spicy sriracha sauce. Another option is to have two types of chicken and pork chops in the third section.
Each section of meat should be approximately the same size so that one section will not cook faster than another. For example you couldn’t put a roast in one section and chicken wings in another and pork chops in the third section.
My Concluding Thoughts
Make sure you don’t run out of what you need to stick with your healthy eating plan. Plan your meals and snacks for a week at a time. Prepare for these meals ahead of time as much as you can. This will keep you on track and lessen the chance that you will cheat. This will also save you time and money, because you won’t be buying an excess that you may not be able to use before it spoils.
Meal Planning and Prep – When Making Healthy Changes will be your best friend and defence again failure and discouragement when beginning your new, healthy eating plan. When you take the time to prepare for your change you are much more likely to succeed with your efforts. Without a plan, many people become overwhelmed by the change and quit before they even begin to see results. I want to encourage you to take the first step to bring a healthy change in your life by choosing a healthy way of eating.