No matter what your physical goal is, preparation is key in order to stay on track and progress from the efforts you have already put in. You won’t go on a 10-day vacation without being prepared by taking the days off work, kenneling your dog, packing clothes and other items, right? So why do we think allowing ourselves to be unprepared for our day will yield success?
There are so many things that happen in our day-to-day lives that mess up our routine. We don’t need to add to the stress by ruining our goal and being consumed with that disappointment when it can be prevented. We can’t keep doing the same thing and expect different results. More specifically, I’m talking about food preparation and planning.
Prepping Meals Can Help You Count Calories
Many people are tracking their food with different apps on their smartphones to ensure they are where they need to be with their calories and macronutrients to lose or gain weight. However, at the end of the day, they still find themselves way off from their calorie goal or target amount of proteins, fats and carbs. You think you are making great choices all day long, and then at the end of the day you look at your totals and you didn’t do as well as you thought.
“This is frustrating,” you think. “I might as well have had that donut with my afternoon coffee or the burger I wanted from my favorite place our lunch meeting was at.”
How do we fix this problem? Preparation! In a perfect world, we would all prepare our meats and vegetables and healthy grains at the beginning of our weeks so we would have everything planned and prepared. The next hardest thing would just be to eat only those prepared meals. However, life happens or preparing meals is simply not a priority for you because you truly don’t enjoy the food you’re making.
My first piece of advice is to make a menu you enjoy eating throughout the week that has variety so you’re not eating the same thing for every meal.
Plan Your Day
If you find yourself not prepping your meals or you’re like me and forget your meals in the fridge before you leave the house, it’s good to take 10 minutes and plan your day. What will you have for:
- Midmorning snack
- Afternoon snack
- Late night snack
If you know you are going to be going out to lunch during work, look at the menu online and find an option that has protein and vegetables and order appropriately such as no butter, no bun, maybe sauce or dressing on the side.
As I mentioned before, being prepared is key. You can’t wing it every day and expect continuous results. Most the time, just getting through the day making as healthy choices as we think are possible will only maintain at best. If we want change, we have to change what we are doing – sometimes more than we would like to admit.
Don’t Neglect Crockpots
If taking the time to cook is an issue, the crockpot is my best friend. Many mornings, I will throw 6-8 frozen chicken breasts in the crockpot, turn it on high and out the door I go. When I get home at night the chicken is piping hot. I shred it with two forks, put in garlic, salt, pepper, and balsamic vinegar and that’s that. I now have a week of chicken prepared and I just have to measure out what I need for different meals.
The same thing goes with sweet potatoes. I will stack my potatoes in the crock pot and leave the house, and they are ready when I get back. I simply transfer the potatoes to my mixer and mash them up, adding salt and pepper. I have also used this method to easily prepare fajitas. If time is an issue, a crockpot is a simple solution.
Take Advantage of Healthy Food Services
There are also companies that can meal prep for you, like Prepped, that provide portioned, fresh meals that you can just heat up. You can either order from their menu online or have it delivered or picked up at their store if they are local. You might pay a few dollars more than you would if you made it at home, but if it is benefiting your health, it’s worth it.
Avoid Fast Food
Another situation people find themselves in when they are not prepared is going through fast food lines for convenience. Avoid the temptation of fast food convenience and go to your local grocery store, where they will make you a deli sandwich right there, or meat and cheese for a low carb option. The grocery store will also make you a plate full of grilled chicken and whatever vegetables you want. This option is just as quick as waiting in the line during lunch time at any fast food restaurant.
Don’t allow yourself to be put in a desperate situation; it only leads to failure and setback. Be proud of yourself at the end of the day and at the beginning of the next by being ready to get another day closer to your happiness.