A few common New Year’s resolutions include losing weight, getting fit, and eating healthier. This is easier said than done. It can be a really difficult to keep this resolution when life gets busy and more pressing tasks pop up. Even though it can be challenging, it is possible to eat healthy throughout the work week even when you are short on time. “How?” you may ask. The answer is preparation, preparation, and more preparation.
The benefits of all this preparation will come in the form of lower stress levels, less food and money waste, and saved time throughout the week. As well as a fitter, happier version of you!
The first preparation step is meal planning.
Planning what you want to eat throughout the week is essential to eating healthy throughout the week. Take a minute to think about what you and your family will eat for breakfasts, lunches, snacks, and dinners for an entire week.
Consider the following questions:
- What do I have in my refrigerator, freezer, or pantry that I need to use this week?
- What will I or my family want to eat?
- What ingredients can be used for more than one meal?
- Will I need leftovers for lunches?
- Can I double any recipes and freeze is for a future week?
- Do I have busy days or evenings this week?
- What is on sale at the store this week?
Based on the answers to these questions, you can make your daily meal list. When thinking about the week, if there are any days when you will be particularly busy, think about how that might affect meal times and the meals themselves. Will you need something portable to eat on the go or something lighter to eat before bedtime?
From the meal list you can make your grocery list. If you’re already familiar with the layout of your grocery store, organize your list by where you find items. This will save time and avoid revisiting the same parts of the store multiple times.
Once you are home from the store and have put all the groceries away, you are ready to think about cooking.
Cooking for the Week
Cooking every day of the week can be time consuming, not to mention exhausting. Now that you have a detailed meal plan to follow, you can see how to most efficiently cook meals throughout the week.
Consider the following:
- What meals will keep well for a few days in the refrigerator?
- What meals need to be cooked the day of?
- Which meal leftovers can be easily packed for lunches?
Consider how busy your week will be when you make your cooking schedule. Before you start cooking, think about multiple dishes that use the same ingredient and cook that ingredient for both dishes at the same time. This saves time and is one less thing to cook later in the week.
If you plan on taking the cooked food for lunches, pack it in containers right away. Packing lunches the night before saves time in the morning. Bringing a homemade lunch to work helps save money and keep on track with a healthy diet.
Don’t forget, if you think a recipe will freeze well, double it so you can use it again the following week. This is important when it comes to saving time because when you are short on time, you end up going out to eat, which can get expensive and derail your health and fitness goals.
Eating at Home
While eating at a restaurant can be less work and less stressful than eating at home, you are spending significantly more of your hard-earned money and eating more calories and fat than you would otherwise. Restaurant portions are usually twice as large as a typical serving and packed with extra sodium and sugar. Instead of drinking water like you would at home, you might also end up ordering a soda or alcoholic beverage. This adds to the overall calorie and sugar intake, not to mention the bill.
Have a few simple and easy-to-make recipes on hand and stock up on staples when they are on sale so you can always make an easy, inexpensive, and healthy meal. For your pantry, buy canned beans and tomatoes, pasta, pasta sauce, rice, and jarred salsa. For your freezer, consider buying a few kinds of vegetables, garlic bread, and chicken breasts. In your refrigerator, try to keep pizza crusts, tortillas, cheese, hummus, carrots, and apples on hand. Using these simple and inexpensive ingredients, you can make several different quick and healthy dinners that your whole family is sure to enjoy.
Healthy for a Lifetime
Here at Canopy Health, we advocate for the health and wellness of the entire Bay Area population. We know that it can be tough to keep up with the practical, everyday habits of healthy eating, but know that we are here to support you and your family in all aspects of wellness. From top-notch care centers to dozens of medical specialties and free community classes, we are here for you.
Please call us today at 888-8CANOPY to learn more about our network and our commitment to a healthier diet!