Healthier & Happier You: FOOD, Part 3 of 3

A short series of blog posts this fall, Healthier & Happier You, brings you ideas and insights on how to make positive changes, renew perspectives and possibly finding the “self” you’ve been looking for.

Prepare Or Fail

Whether spaghetti sauce or chicken nuggets, carrot sticks or hummus, you have to take the time to prepare. This isn’t just about making more and having leftovers for lunch the next day. Here is how my wife and I have been successful when we commit ourselves to eating more healthy:

  • Build a Menu: Sit down at the end of your week and plan out a menu for the next week. (We like to sit down with our favorite cookbooks and with our favorite food blogs pulled up on the TV.) Plan a balanced meal for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks for in between each meal if you need a little something to sustain you. Try to pick dishes and sides that are built with foods that are naturally in season. Eating in season fruits and vegetables specifically, will look healthier, taste noticeably better, and help weed out unclean produce. This chart will help know what is in season for you, as most produce travels within a 1500 mile radius in the USA.

    • Dissect Your Menu: With your recipes in front of you, build your shopping list. Start at your local farmers market. Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) or Co-op’s are a great resource for fresh, local products as well. LocalHarvest.org has a great tool to find these types of programs in your area. What you can’t find fresh and local, shop for at your local supermarket – allot enough time so you can read packaging carefully. Apply the Great-great Grandma principle: DON’T BUY IT IF IT’S NOT ON YOUR MENU.
    • Prepare: Preparing your food is an investment of time, but isn’t your health worth investing in? Find a time that works for you each week and make it a concrete appointment. (No, you can’t go to the beach until your food is prepared!) Maybe this does mean leftovers for lunch to make your dinner preparation also your next day’s lunch preparation. Find what works for you, but what is more important is that you are AWARE of what is going in to every meal and snack.
    • Package: There is a whole market built just off of packaging plain-Jane foods into convenient containers or in to portions. Don’t fall in to this trap unless the foods follow the pronunciation and Great-great Grandma rules, but you can save a ton of money simply packaging the same food yourself. Break everything out so that it is packaged in to a good portion for you to grab if you’re running out the door, or so you know how many calories you have for that meal. Pick, wash and pack the whole bundle of grapes for the week rather than washing your daily portion each day. Doing it this way makes one chore for one day, rather than the same chore every single day. What you don’t need to take with you, put in a separate container for easy and convenient snack options when at home.

Eating healthy is a lifestyle, not a choice you just make each morning, so your habits have to change in order for you to be successful. Recognize how you set new behaviors and what you do to be successful in the other aspects of your life and implement them in to your choice to eat smarter. Doing this while eating clean and allotting yourself the time to prepare and your package your food are just a few tips of how to help you be successful in achieving your eating goals. Get to know people who have healthy habits – you know, the gal at work that always has amazing lunches that look like she picked them out of a magazine cover… or that guy in HR who seems to know everything about nutrition. Pick their brains about what they do that helps them be successful and implement the things that work for you.

Long story short:

  • Quit the excuses
  • Do not justify poor food choices daily or even weekly
  • Eat clean and obey the clean food rules (Pronunciation and Great-great Grandma)
  • Prepare your food
  • Package it for convenience
  • Change your food habits
  • Be successful in your goals

 

Tune in next Monday for our next section of Healthier & Happier You.

 

Photos & Charts:
http://www.good.is/post/a-guide-to-when-fruits-and-vegetables-are-in-season/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/maryamandathompson/4726774336/