NUTRITION: HOW TO REALLY STAY ON TOP OF WHAT YOU EAT!
P I L L A R I: N U T R I T I O N
Hands down, the first pillar to overall wellness is nutrition. I don’t care who you are or what you do, nutrition reigns supreme. You can workout 5 or 6 times a week, but unless you are fueling your body with the appropriate food, AKA nutrient dense foods, it does not matter how many miles you did on the treadmill and poor nutrition will always shine through.
So, here is the question, how can you make sure you stay on top of what you eat? It can be hard, especially for those of us that have demanding schedules. Our time is calculated and we have very little of it to exploit.
I will venture to say that the best way to ensure that you are “staying on top” of what you are eating is to head back in the kitchen and cook more than you eat out.
Now, here is the conundrum, you are saying, “if I have no time, how will I find time to cook every night?” Ah! Here is the beauty of that…you don’t. You absolutely don’t have to cook each night in order to eat healthy and from your own kitchen. How do you do this? Totally easy…meal prep!
Now, meal prepping, I know it sounds like a lot of time, but it does not have to be! We chatted all about this at our semi-annual Sip & Chat event! And one thing I shared was that “it does not take me any longer to cook one serving of something, than it does to cook ten!”
Now, let me give you a two tips that guide my meal prepping; and I promise these tips will have you eating quality foods like a boss!
First off, you need to know that at times I can be a procrastinator. I have found that I have to actively work on being proactive. And yes, this even applies to my good intentions of eating well. So, one thing that I found to combat this when it comes to food and cooking, is to do it as soon as I get back from the grocery store! That's tip number one!
DO IT A SOON AS YOU GET HOME FROM THE STORE
Yep. I don’t even let the food hit the refrigerator before it is prepped. What does this look like? Well, let me paint a visual for you. As soon as the Kroger or Whole Foods bags reach the kitchen I am pulling out grains, like quinoa, from the bag and a pot from the cupboard and cooking up the contents. It doesn’t even stand a chance with me! That box of quinoa will never see the light of day in the pantry. Why? Because if it does, I will not cook it after I have worked all day and sat in traffic for over an hour. Period. That’s it. So, I pretty much nix the excuses right off the bat!
Items to prep or batch cook really quickly and in large quantities are grains and pastas. A fan favorite at my house is Mediterranean inspired orzo salad!
Think about it. The time it takes to boil water is the time it takes to boil water. There is minimal effort to scoop 1 cup of orzo and put it in boiling water as it is to scoop 2 or even 3 cups! And there it is, multiple servings of orzo for the week ready to go at a moments notice!
Put your newly cooked food in a well seal container (preferably glass) and use it throughout the week as a meal staple or and greens to it as an additional veggie boost! Now, the second tip I follow tried and true? To-go snacks.
TASTY ON THE GO SNACKS ARE YOUR FRIEND
If you are American, I am sure you at some point or another indulge in “snacking.” It is pretty much part of our food culture. The issue is, that snacking usually entails eating processed foods that are loaded with preservatives and added sugars. On top of this, when we snack we do it mindlessly. Why do you think Pringles have made millions? Because as they say, “Once you pop you can’t stop.” Why is that? Because you are not necessarily thinking about what you are eating, you are focusing on chatting with your friends, working or watching television. So, you are not consciously available to realize how much you are eating, which causes indulgence. A way to cut down on this would be have nutritional snacks that are ready to go at a moments notice. Here are a couple you can keep on deck:
Boiled eggs: they are packed with protein, easily transportable and can be up leveled by sprinkling a bit of salt and pepper on them
Veggies and salsa: think carrots and orange bell peppers! Use them as a "chip" and scoop up a healthy salsa mix
What you need to remember? All in all, nutrition is king and you can most certainly get a handle on it, this just takes a little attention. Don’t think that you have to completely change everything that you do in regard to what and how you eat at once. This will lead to nothing but frustration and reverting back, and more aggressively so, to the habits that you are attempting to adjust. Remember, small steps compounded over time give you massive results.
To your health!
PS… Let me know below in the comments what you are going to meal prep this week!