Flip flop and shorts in January in Ohio seems like a bad idea to me.
And yet, there was a man who used to come into the gym where I work every single week, all winter long, dressed for a sunny summer day.
Shorts. Sandals. No coat.
I kid you not – even when it was snowing.
Now, this person clearly doesn’t mind the cold, or maybe he just doesn’t remember to check the weather. Either way, he should know better. Winter in Ohio is cold and snowy, and not dressing appropriately is just poor preparation.
Maybe this person is very busy and doesn’t leave himself enough time to find the necessary warm clothing, coat, hat and gloves. Maybe he is overworked and tired and finds he doesn’t have the energy to do what he knows he should.
Does this sound at all … familiar?
Just like Mr. Shorts & sandals, I suspect you’re busy. You have a lot of responsibilities and if you don’t think ahead and plan for your meals, you’re very likely to come home tired and hungry and not in the mood to cook. You probably won’t have the right ingredients either. So you’ll end up having a bowl of cereal for dinner – the meal time equivalent of wearing flip flops in snow.
Without proper preparation, healthy eating is ten times more difficult. Even if you have a plan, if you don’t make things as easy as possible for yourself you’re likely to throw that plan out because you’re simply too tired or busy to execute it.
What I propose you do instead is plan your meals, purchase the food then prepare as much as it as possible ahead of time, so when the time comes all you have to do is heat it up and eat!
3 Step Meal Prep:
1. After you’ve planned your meals and done your shopping, divide your foods into categories.Separate out your proteins, your carbs and your veggies. (Fruit generally does not need to be prepped, but veggies can be cooked or cut ahead of time for less work later.)
2. Determine how each item needs to be prepared. If you have whole recipes on your plan you can make them now and just reheat or you can bulk cook items and put them together later.
Proteins: chicken, beef, fish and turkey can be grilled, baked or cooked on the stove then stored in the fridge.
Carbs: rice, sweet potatoes, quinoa. oats, squash etc. also can be cooked in large batches then portioned individually.
Veggies: you can bake, steam and even grilled or sauté veggies as well. Be aware storing them in the fridge will take away some of the crispness when reheated. Sometimes I choose to make my veggies day of and just add my pre-cooked protein.
If your veggies will be eaten fresh (not cooked) you can still slice peppers, cucumber etc and keep them stored in the fridge and even assemble salads into individual containers to add a protein, grab and go!
3. Once the food is made, use your food scale to measure out portions, or if you made a large batch just divide it into however many servings you need. Then when Monday morning comes, you just open your lunch box and toss the tupperware meals inside. Since you have healthy, prepared food at work you have no excuse for heading to the cafeteria! You can even do this for meals you will eat at home to save time and prevent coming home late and ordering pizza, or eating cereal for dinner.
Most meals will keep in the fridge 5-6 days. Frozen meals can be kept for weeks or months!
Having a plan is great, but being prepared is even better. Don’t be caught in the snow in sandals. Prepare your meals ahead of time and remove the excuses. A little time spent getting yourself set up for the week saves you time later and pays off big over time.