Last week Sonya shared a couple of shopping hacks that make it easier to achieve your healthy eating goals: grocery delivery and pre-chopped foods. In Part 2 of our series, she addresses how a little planning and a strategy will go a long way toward keeping you on track.
PLANNING & STRATEGY
Some people enjoy planning, while others struggle with routine and feel trapped by thinking ahead. No matter which end of the spectrum you fall on, having a general framework and a few different options available to you will help you stay on top of things. Here are 4 options to consider:
1. Meal Prep and Meal Planning Services
While these are not great on the budget, they do make life easier by taking away the decision fatigue and prep work of cooking. Since these services provide recipes and ingredients pre-chopped and ready to go, they're an especially nice option for the end of busy days when you might otherwise open a box of cereal and eat the whole thing. Even if you opted to do this once or twice a week, it would save you some time. There's a huge range of choices to accommodate your dietary preferences, from gluten-free to plant-based and everything in between.
2. Prep and Plan at the Same Time Every Week
It can also be hard to do the shopping and the meal prep in one day. Maybe Saturday you do the shopping or ordering (or someone else in your household does the shopping), and Sunday you block off 3 hours for meal prep. It might seem like a lot of time to spend on a weekend to do it, but it'll pay dividends during the week by requiring less clean-up, fewer last-minute trips to the grocery store, and less time cooking on busy weekdays. Plus, you’ll have food ready for you when you’re starving. Life feels smoother and more efficient when you are well-fed and the fridge is full!
3. Drop All-or-Nothing Thinking with Prep Time
Maybe the idea of cooking or prepping for 3 hours is overwhelming, and you prefer to do a little at a time. Choosing to break up your cooking can also be a way to fit it in if you never have long blocks of time. A suggestion would be to spend 5 minutes a few times a day chopping or doing advanced prep. Maybe even just getting out the ingredients for a recipe that doesn’t need refrigeration is step 1. You may never feel like cooking, but just like with getting started with exercise, once you get started and commit to a few minutes, you’ll find the momentum to keep going.
4. Double or Triple the Recipe
This is a big one in our household. As an athlete, you probably have quite an appetite. A household of athletes? Wow, that’s a lot of meals! We always double or triple every recipe we make. If you don’t think you’ll eat that much, you can always freeze it. The time it takes to double or triple a recipe is negligible compared to the time it would take to make a whole other recipe, including clean-up. If you can, cooking more than one meal at a time is another way to save on cleaning time. Being able to re-use pots, plans, and cutting boards means less clean-up later AND it means always having something healthy to eat.
Next week we'll wrap up with Part 3 from Sonya. Until then, keep up those healthy habits!