As you work on improving your health, meal planning becomes more important. The most difficult part about changing your habits is preparation. If you don’t plan to have healthy foods readily available, you’re far more likely to opt for an unhealthy quick fix when you’re hungry. I’ve been guilty of this myself but when I’m organized, making a healthy choice is much easier because I don’t have to overthink about what I’m going to eat.
Obviously if you want to eat better, you need to improve the quality of the food you’re eating. That means choosing minimally processed food over foods that come from boxes and packages.
Once you’ve picked up whole foods that you’ll actually eat from the grocery store or market, you’ll need to find strategies to make sure that they’re available when it’s time to put a meal together. This will create the consistency needed to make progress towards your goals.
There are a few ways to handle food preparation.
- make a grocery list before you shop so you don’t forget anything
- have a handful of meals or recipes in mind when you’re grocery shopping so you can make sure you pick up the needed ingredients
- batch cook at the beginning of the week so you have some meals ready to go for those busy days when there’s less time to cook
- boil a bunch of eggs to keep in the fridge so that they’re easy to grab quickly
- keep eggs on hand for an ultra quick meal anytime – eggs are great for dinner!
- when cooking lean meats, cook extra portions so that you have protein to easily create lunch and dinner options faster
- making a salad? make a big one so you have some for later for lunches or as a side for dinner and save time
- pantry items like canned fish can save time in a pinch and be the base for a quick, healthy meal
- wash and pre-chop vegetables when you get home from the grocery store so that you have healthy ingredients ready when you need them – you can save a ton of time this way
- keep your favourite healthy fats on hand
- make use of your crock pot to cook meals that will offer left overs for lunch or dinner the follow day or to freeze
- if it’s in your budget, use a meal prep service on those days that you’re extra busy
Use these strategies to plan meals, have ingredients ready to use quickly and focus on whole foods.