So much of transitioning to a healthier life is being prepared. And because I want to best support you in creating the life that you want, I decided to share some of my favorite prep techniques that I have found make healthier eating much easier.
Cook grains in bulk. Quinoa. Brown rice. Millet. Farro. Barley. There are so many awesome grains available to us, and cooking a big batch of them ahead of time makes it really easy to incorporate them into meals. For example, cook 2 cups of quinoa on Sunday when you have some time. Maybe use some for dinner that night (have you tried my recipe for quinoa fried rice?), and store the rest in a sealed container in the fridge. Now, you have a complete protein grain to throw into a salad to bring to work the next day, you can toss a scoop into some roasted veggies for dinner, or even use ½ cup to make some quinoa oatmeal. Grains tend to have a slightly nutty flavor, therefore are pretty easy to incorporate into SO MANY dishes. A batch of grains will usually stay good in the fridge for up to a week, but once you start feeling the amazing effects of whole foods, I doubt they will last that long.
Wash all your greens at one time. So if you’re like me, you may have times when you get excited while at the farmers market or health food store and over-indulge on purchasing greens. Then, you come home, throw them in the fridge, and forget about them. If you are sick of throwing out beautiful produce AND want to get more healthy greens into your life, then prepping your greens ahead of time is a great way to do both. Set aside some time after your grocery shopping to wash and dry your greens. You may even want to de-stem the ones that need it so they are ready to go. Then, when you are feeling hungry, you can easily grab a handful of spinach to throw in a smoothie, grab some kale to include in a soup, or easily toss some romaine lettuce in a bowl to make a salad. By the time we get hungry, we are usually turned off at the idea of spending the time to wash and prep greens for each meal, especially when we are new to including more greens in our diets. Having them ready to go will make you much more likely to “get your green on”.
Keep foods around to take on the go. Eating healthy on the go can be tough, which makes prepping for days like these that much more important. Keep foods in your house that can easily be thrown into a bag and taken with you wherever you are headed. This way, when you start to get hungry or are feeling like a snack, you have a healthy option on hand instead of reaching for a more processed and artificial option.
Some of my favorite “on the go” snacks include
- granola bars (make sure to read the ingredients)
- almond butter and jelly sandwiches
- carrot and celery sticks in a container
- trail mix
If traveling, find restaurants or health food stories ahead of time. When we are in new places, for a few hours or maybe even a few weeks, it can make a world of a difference to find some healthy restaurants or grocery stores to get some nutritional meals from. Once we have some options mapped out, we are much less likely to choose the closest and most convenient option when we become ravenous, which usually means compromising our health and energy levels.
Stock your pantry with healthy staples. Having healthy options around is a huge part of creating a more nutritious diet, and keeping your pantry stocked with healthy options will always provide you with some healthy choices, even if you haven’t had time to hit the health food store this week. Healthy pantry staples are also a great way to break some bad habits.
Some great pantry staples include:
- frozen fruits and veggies
- an alternative to sugar, such as raw honey or pure maple syrup
- gluten free pastas, such as Tinkyada’s brown rice pasta
- canned tomatoes
- nuts and seeds
- nut butters
- apple cider vinegar
- frozen breads, such as Food For Life products
Choose a day of the week to do your shopping. Planning a day and time to do your shopping is a great way to ensure that it gets done. Look at it as an appointment, one that you can’t miss. I mean, your health should be as important to you as your dentist and doctor’s appointments, right? Once food shopping becomes a part of your schedule, you will do it automatically, and maybe even look forward to it.
Pack a lunch. This will save your health and your wallet. We tend to spend SO much money on eating out when the meals we make at home are half the price and double the nutritional value. When making meals, cook extra so you have leftovers to bring with you to work. Toss some of those prepared greens in a container along with some chopped veggies and seeds and enjoy a homemade salad for lunch. Keep some healthy snacks at your office so you always have something to reach for when you are feeling like a snack, keeping you away from those chemicalized vending machines. You will feel more energized throughout the day because you are eating nutritious whole foods while saving cash… It doesn’t get much better than that.
Well, I hope that you found something here that you can incorporate into your life to make healthy options more available to you. If you have any other ideas or tips that I didn’t mention, I would love to hear them!
with love and preparation,