Some people just seem to have it all together.
They work out consistently, always have healthy snacks on hand and make beautiful healthy meals for themselves and their family most nights, as well as managing a career, family, friends, personal interests, the to-do list and more.
They seem like overachievers, but really, they’re just prepared.
The one thing that people who really have “got it together” have in common is that they are organized. They prepare. They know that if they don’t forward plan and take the necessary steps to help life go more smoothly…then it probably won’t. And even if you plan and prepare, things can still go unexpectedly. But you’ll have a lot more chance of an easy run if you do.
When it comes to consistently eating healthy, forethought and preparation are critical. Otherwise you could be left hungry and cranky, with nothing but a drive through burger joint nearby. You’ll either cave in to the smell of a greasy burger and fries, or you’ll refrain from consuming anything but probably feel quite cranky about it. Obviously neither are ideal.
Today I want to share with you some simple ways to ensure you are setting yourself up to maintain a clean, healthy diet. A little preparation work goes a long way over the course of a week and while you may need to invest a little time upfront, you will save time, effort and grumpiness later.
1. Set aside an hour or two on a Sunday to prepare some basics for your week. What that looks like will be different for everyone depending on your dietary preferences. Read on for ideas.
2. As soon as you get home with fresh produce (and get enough so you always have options on hand), wash and properly store them for easy use and freshness. Put your grab and go foods like fresh fruit in arm’s reach and always make sure you have a good amount ripe and ready for the fastest and most convenient food around. You can always grab fruit to take with you anywhere. If you’ll be out for a long time, just be sure to take enough to make it a meal.
3. Pre-cut vegetables for salads and veggie dishes. While I prefer to cut my fresh food right before using it, I realize that many people find it hard to make the time to do this, or simply can’t because of demands with children and work. Having pre-cut vegetables in the fridge in air tight containers can mean that making salad is as easy as 1-2-3. Try pre-cut carrots, celery, cucumber, radishes, onion, beet, zucchini, corn, mushrooms, bell pepper, jicama, snow peas, etc. Just throw a big handful of each chopped vegetable into a salad bowl, add some greens, toss and add your dressing of choice. Which brings me to my next point…
4. Prepare one salad dressing at the beginning of the week and one halfway through. It can be as simple as lemon juice, mustard and a dash of olive oil, or a one minute blender dressing recipe with a base made from a fruit, vegetable, nut, seed or oil. Whatever fits your palette and dietary preferences. A good dressing can elevate a simple salad from passable to fantastic. Taking the time a couple times a week to whip one up saves time and effort later plus its tastiness will keep you wanting salad throughout the week.
5. Always have frozen veggies and fruits on hand. Frozen fruits can be thrown into a blender with water and a green leaf of choice for a delicious, energizing smoothie that takes 3 minutes to prepare from grabbing the ingredients to clean up. Wonderful fast food to take on the road with you or to work. The only preparation needed is having the fruits and veggies on hand.
6. Prepare cooked meals in advance. Baking a large batch of root vegetables one to two times per week, making 1-2 soups and freezing them in servings, making one pot stews and curries to eat throughout the week and freezing half for extra busy days. All of these can save you on days when you are busy and tired. If you eat beans and grains you can also prepare those once per week and enjoy throughout the week.
7. Always clean up before bed. There’s nothing worse, in my opinion, than waking up to a messy, dirty kitchen. You’ll not be in the mood to prepare yourself something fresh and healthy, no matter how easy. Take the extra few minutes to keep your kitchen space clean by cleaning up after every meal. You’ll feel better mentally too.
8. Keep your favorite “taste burst” ingredients on hand. Just like a salad dressing, there are certain ingredients that can add a burst of flavor and interest to an otherwise average meal. Keep your favorites always stocked up. Some examples might be: lemons and limes, garlic, ginger, raw nuts and seeds, apple cider vinegar, dried fruits, coconut aminos, stevia, raw honey, dried herbs, spices, vanilla, olives, sundried tomatoes, etc. These create variety and interest without adding extra food preparation time.
9. Keep a few nutrient dense foods with you or in your car or workplace. Foods like chlorella tabs, Barleygrass or Wheatgrass Juice Extract powder, spirulina, dates. These foods can give a burst of energy and nutrients for those times when eating isn’t possible, or to add extra nutrition to your meals and snacks.
10. Decide to honor your choice to eat healthy above convenience. This is really the biggest factor in how much of a food prep overachiever you are ;). When it comes down to it, the only reason you would not take the time to organize and prep healthy food is because it’s not a high priority for you. Ask yourself why this is the case? If you really value your health, why not begin making it a priority now?
11. Know your options near home and work for a snack or meal on the go. Find out where you can get a fresh juice, smoothie, salad, veggie meal, etc, near your regular locations for those times you’re on the go and haven’t taken something with you. Essentially you are preparing for not being prepared! Also know where the local farmers markets and supermarkets are. This is my favorite for food in a pinch. Grab some cucumbers and fruit and you’re good to go.
Hope you enjoy these 11 tips to get you started. Please like and share this post if you dig it, and share your favorite preparations tips in the comments below!