At North End Fitness, we meet a lot of people who are striving to become healthier. While everyone is a little different, we do see a theme with those coming in: People are busy! It can be difficult (and even overwhelming) to fit healthy habits in with everything else. Are there enough hours in the day to fit in sleep, hard work, spending time with family and friends, exercise and eating well?
Wouldn’t it be so much easier if you had healthy food ready to eat, all the time?
You can! If you spend a short amount of time each week to plan and prep your food, you can save precious time all week and still stay on track.
• Start Small – until you get into the swing of preparing multiple meals for the week ahead, start by simply washing and chopping fruits and veggies to use for meals. Pre-portion snack bags with nuts and dried fruit and hard boil eggs to grab as quick snacks.
• Plan Meals with Common Ingredients – pick out a few recipes that feature the same grain and/or lean meat. Cook up multiple servings of brown rice or quinoa, and you can use some in a salad for lunch and some in a pilaf for dinner.
• Double up – If you’re making a casserole, stew or soup, consider doubling the recipe. If you won’t use it all in one week, freeze the rest!
• Organize – Write out which meals and snacks you’re planning for the week. Make a list of all the foods you will need before you head out to the store. When you get home, use your time efficiently. Have something baking in the oven, use a crockpot to make a soup, and chop up veggies while everything is cooking.
• Focus on Problem Areas – what time of day do you struggle with eating healthy? No time in the morning to make breakfast? Consider making steel cut oatmeal, with berries and nuts in individual containers to heat up each morning. Trouble finding healthy snacks? Spend time portioning snack bags. As you get better preparing foods, you can expand what you make.
Just like any other goal in life, healthy habits start with planning! Remember, it’s best to start small. Use one hour this weekend to prep something healthy. You will most likely find that even a little food prep can have a powerful effect on your food choices!