My Mom says, "A step in time saves 9". I use to roll my eyes at her in my young years, now I live by it. I have thought about having it framed and put in my office and kitchen. This statement although old, never gets old. In order to stay healthy in a world full of easy temptations and indulgences you must be prepared. Here are a few ways I stay prepared.
1. Create a Menu, Shopping List and Shop Responsible. Read more about this in my Eat Well On a Budget article.
2. Once I have gone shopping I prep as much as I can. I cut up vegetables to be used in the week for stir fry's, steamed on the side of dishes, for salads and for dipping. I make 1-2 dressings for salads. I prepare any bone broth/soup stock to use during the week. I put my menu on the fridge and freeze or defrost any meat that will be used in the next few days.
3. If you work early and late hours being prepared is even more important for you. This tends to be my prep schedule on days like this. Come home from work. Prep lunch for the next day. I keep my weekly lunch menu as simple as possible or utilize left over dinner for the next day so that it can be prepped in about 5 minutes. I then start preparing dinner and any necessary sides for the next days lunch. I already know what dinner is going to be since I made a menu. If I am using left overs for the next day I get those ready at the same time I am dishing out my dinner plate. After dinner I clean up and if needed get my food product ready for the next day or for me it is my coffee. I can grind my beans, put them in the french press, put my grass-fed butter and MCT oil in the blender and put my purified water in the tea kettle. I also put out any supplements that will be needed for the next day. Now all of this can be prepped the morning of, but I like my sleep so after work/dinner works best for me.
4. Find 5-10 dishes that you know your family loves. Take one day a month or every couple months and cook up a storm. Have glass dishes available that are oven and freezer safe. Use as many kitchen appliances as you can at once to save time. Have a roast roasting, soup simmer and slower cooker cooking. Freeze meals into portion sizes. Now you have meals that can easily be defrosted the night before or day off. No excuse to eat that Chinese food or packed meal.
Take this process to a whole new level. Get a few of your friends together who share the same dietary principals as you and pick a day to cook 3-4 batches of several dishes. Shop together, cook together, enjoy support, friendship and community and get some new dishes out of it. Another idea is to just swap meals with others, a great way to spice things up and try something new.
5. Eating out, traveling and friend/family gatherings can put a kink in your food plan. Don't fret you can still be successful as long you prepare. Look at menus before going out. Make a list of restaurants that you know you can just swing in and get a good dish. See the local food page for ideas. I really like Chipotle, Sushi and sandwiches in lettuce instead of on bread for a quick lunch. When traveling look for local healthy restaurants and grocery stores before leaving. If you are invited to a birthday party, BBQ, or other gathering bring something delicious and nutritious. Fill up on the healthiest options available or even have a little something at home before heading over. Make better bad choices and always eat without guilt and shame.