Sorry, there will be no recipes here. This is not a food post, but I think I still have something worthwhile to offer.
Food has to be hands down THE most important component to leading a healthy life. Food also has to be THE biggest thing I hear people make excuses for consistently. Let’s review The Healthcare Maquis’ top reasons why people cannot eat better:
- It is too expensive. Nope, not buying it. I have traveled the country and have not found that mythological place where doughnuts are cheaper than spinach. Try again.
- I do not have time. Sorry, still not buying it. Have you ever compared the time it takes to pick up fast food versus a trip to the grocery? There are pre-made options at the grocery store, even at gas stations. What else you got?
- I do not like the healthy stuff. Well, now I am just glaring at you. My argument is you did not like ill-prepared healthy food. I thought salmon tasted like fishy sawdust until I learned how to prepare it. There are good options for every palate, you just have to keep trying. Give me some other excuse.
- I do not know how to. Now, we are getting somewhere. This is where I am here to help.
Healthy Eating is a habit
Forgive me while I invoke a cliche’
Those who fail to plan, plan to fail.
Overused, but definitely true. We are the sum total of our habits. The small decisions, that run mostly on autopilot every day, shape the outcome of our lives.
Getting into the habit of eating nutritious, delicious food is hands down, the most life-changing thing you can do for your health. This is where meal planning comes in.
I am not here to sell you a pre-made meal plan or ask you to download something I quickly made up. Instead, everything I am about to suggest are tactics that I currently use or used different stages of my life, like having a house full of toddlers or being in school.
Seven tips, tricks, and gimmicks
Yep, I might just be one of the most genuinely gimmicky people you will ever meet. I am always coming up with tricks in my head on how to navigate through life. If there is an acronym, alliteration or some scheme that I can come up with to be successful, believe me, I am trying it.
Here is the list of seven ideas on how to plan seven days of food, not a menu, but how to come up with the list itself:
- Repeating Meal Days. Referring back to habits, I currently use a seven-day rotation of themed meal days. Soup/Sandwich/Salad day, Chicken Day, Pizza Day,etc.. It is easy to mix up what to have on each day or keep it the same. My kids are VERY particular about their pizza, so it is the same thing every week. It gives you something to look forward and creates stability in your eating patterns
- Cook once, eat multiple times. I use several variations of this tactic. With the warm weather, I have been grilling meat on Sunday. Grilled chicken can be wraps, soup, salad, etc…the list goes on. If you can not grill, rotisserie chicken is the next best option. Pre-prepping a protein can take SO much of the excuse factor out of your weekly meals.
- Designate an eat out day. I eat out, but it is not an easy feat trying to eat clean. I have a very small list of restaurants that I can eat at. I look forward to not cooking once at week. What does that do with meal planning.? I can only do it once a week. I have to stay committed and stay on plan because it is not my day of the week.
- Treat Days. I hate the term cheat days. I am a grown person who is in charge of ALL the decisions I make. I choose to eat kale, and I can choose to eat cupcakes. However, it is not a treat, when I eat it all the time. We all make excuses and blame life’s obligation as a reason why we should make an unwise choice. I worked hard today, so I am going to eat that or I am upset so I am going to drown my sorrow in this. Have a day of the week when you eat highly preferred foods that are as clean and healthy as possible. I can not eat fruit every day of the week or I will be a fat, blind, insulin dependent diabetic with a spastic colon. However, when it is in season, I treat myself to a serving high-quality produce once or twice a week. Enjoy life, just don’t abuse it.
- Themed meal days. Similar the repeating meal with a topical twist. I love alliteration, so I have tried Meaty Mondays, Taco Tuesday, etc… I have also tried different days of the week with different cuisines. I did that for many years. Sunday was always Soul Food/Southern comfort classics, as that is the day for the hearty comfort food meal. Other days would consist of Italian, Mexican, Asian,etc…you are free to explore different options on that day, but when you shop you know you are going to have that cuisine on that day.
- Eat the same thing, every day. I will have to admit this is my spouse’s current weekday option, not mine. I like to taste food too much to eat the same thing daily. He eats the same rotation of nutrient dense food daily. No surprises, no thinking. The weekend is his time for variety. Might not work for you, but then again, you never know until you try.
- Get help to plan your meals. I understand that sometimes life kicks you in the butt. We all need a little help every now and again. Although I am not posting a meal planning sheet or program here, there are tons online. Do not let life overwhelm be an excuse for you not give your body high-quality fuel.
That is all for today ladies and gents. The takeaway I hope you got was that you have tons of options when it comes to planning food for you and your family. You can try some of my tips, or not. Just try something. Make good food choice a part of each and every day, so you can many more days to come.