Does this sound familiar? You vow to start eating better. You go to the store and pick out healthy & nutritious foods. You omit the old ones that were making you feel tired and weighing you down. The week goes by and you're actually feeling lighter and more energetic. But then, oh-oh, you're out of the salad mix and down to your last broccoli spear. The lean chicken breast that's been fueling your workouts is gone and you don't have time to defrost another package. You're in a rush and you need to eat NOW. So you make a quick batch of mac and cheese. You come home after work and make something else that's less than virtuous. It's not you fault you think; I had nothing left to eat and I'm starving!
If I had a dollar every time a client of mine tells me this story. Yes, it's true. Life happens in the midst of your pursuit for a better body. That is why YOU HAVE TO PLAN if you want to succeed. Unless you can afford a personal chef and shopper, then healthy well-balanced meals are not going to miraculously appear in your kitchen. You need to prioritize your time and make sure you have what you need for the week ahead. It may cut into your Facebook time a bit, but you will be rewarded with a thinner and healthier you.
Make a list and check it twice:
Before heading to the store go through your refrigerator, freezer and cupboards to make sure you have everything you'll need. When in doubt buy extra of things you can freeze like lean proteins, spinach, and broccoli and healthy canned goods like beans and tuna fish. Fruits like apples and oranges last a long time and once bananas get too ripe you can peel them and store in the freezer for smoothies. It's also a good idea to have plenty of food storage containers and plastic sandwich & freezer bags on hand.
Instead of just shoving veggies in the crisper, take an extra couple of minutes to wash and cut things like celery, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, and lettuce. Dice an onion and bell pepper. Having these veggies ready to go will make salads a snap and give you fewer excuses to eat poorly. If it's in your budget, you can always buy things pre-prepped such as bagged salad mix, pre-washed spinach and kale or cleaned and sliced zucchini.
Having lean protein on hand can be a challenge if you don't prepare. Do what I do: Make extra portions of things like chicken breast, salmon or hardboiled eggs- proteins that will be good cold on things like salads or in wraps. To take it an extra step, slice up that chicken into 4-6oz portions and put in little individual sandwich baggies so you can just grab and go. Make sure the fridge is also stocked with high-protein Greek yogurt and cottage cheese.
Make snack bags:
Anyone who knows me will see me pull out my insulated lunch bag from time to time. Since I eat small frequent meals, I need to have snacks when out and about. The night before, prep your bag with things like grass-fed cottage cheese, chopped veggies, hummus, turkey breast, a small apple, 1/4 cup of nuts and a couple of bottles of water. No excuses! Now, I live in the real world too. I try to eat whole foods whenever possible, but I always have a stash of low-sugar, high protein bars in my car and purse for those times when I just have no time to prepare.
Learn to love your freezer:
I rely heavily on my freezer. Sometimes I don't have time to go to the store, so it's great to have plenty of healthy food that just needs a little defrosting. I make batches of things like brown rice, quinoa, black beans and store them in 1/2 cup containers in the freezer. All it takes is a quick reheating. Plus It's so much easier to make things once (that will last you weeks) as opposed to daily. Instead of putting a whole pack of raw ground turkey in the refrigerator when I get home from the grocery store, I make 4 oz patties and store them in freezer bags in the freezer. This way I'm not stuck eating turkey 5 days in a row! I do this with all my proteins (chicken thighs, chicken breasts, fish, beef, etc) The day before, I take out a couple of proteins to make for lunch or dinner and let defrost overnight in the refrigerator. Also, when I'm out of my fresh veggies, I can heat up some healthy frozen ones like peas, edamame, spinach, etc, to round out my meals.
Yes, this all takes some time. But sabotaging your diet over and over because you're not prepared is so much worse. Put in the extra time. I promise you it's worth it.