Well me neither. And until I do (a girl can dream), I have to make this happen on my own OR eat out/pick up food every night (there goes my personal chef savings to Whole Foods a.k.a. Whole Paycheck).
Imagine this: You wake up early for a kickass workout. You follow it up with a healthy breakfast and head to work feeling on top of the world. Lunchtime rolls around, and instead of following your co-workers down to the “not-so-fresh” cafeteria salad bar (food sitting out collecting dust since 9 a.m.) or the nearby Chipotle (AGAIN), you close your office door, put on some good music, kick your feet up and enjoy a fresh (because you washed it), healthy (because you sauced it), and cheap (no tax, no tip) meal. You’ll be ready to take on the afternoon’s workload instead of crawling under your desk for a fatty food-induced nap.
The number one thing I preach to all clients about eating healthy is to put a stop to that desperate search for a tasty AND good-for-you meal that can keep up with a busy schedule. There just isn’t a food in a package, bottle, or bag that will match what eating real fruits, vegetables, and lean protein can do for your health and waistline.
So how do you get this kind of food to keep up with you? You guessed it; you have to take a little time and Prep For Success! Make a regular date night with your cutting board, knife, tupperware drawer, good music, and even a glass (or two) of wine. Do this once a week following my simple tips below, and you are creating a healthy habit that will save you money and time and undoubtedly help you drop pounds. You’ll get better at this the more you do it, so even if you don’t have time for an entire week’s worth of prepping, just do a “snack prep” (below) and get some color in your diet.
Tips for a successful Prep For Success session:
- Keep it short and sweet. Prep food that will get you through the majority of your meals for just 3-5 days at a time so you avoid over-buying produce that goes bad in your fridge or containers.
- Have a few easy ways to prepare protein with ingredients and equipment you always have on hand. For example, simple lemon herb chicken breast in a crock pot or baked fish. Check out different and simple cooking methods to find ones you love.
- Start simple with having a salad bar in your fridge or fresh fruit bowl for grabs. Work up to having full recipes or frozen pre-made entrees (that’s too much to start thinking about now). At first, you may eat a lot of the same dishes and that’s okay!
- Invest in nice kitchen wares you’ll want to use–divided Tupperware, knives, cutting boards (anything that will make your counter look good) since they going to be sitting out more often.
An example of how Prep for Success goes down in my house:
1. I put a list together that will give me basic snacks and staples for meals and try not to focus on recipes until I want to make something more creative. My list usually looks something like this:
- Vegetables for dipping, salads, omelets, and roasting: Zucchini, bell peppers, squash, tomatoes, brussels sprouts, asparagus, carrots.
- Lettuce for salads, smoothies, and dinner sides: Kale, spinach, mixed greens (usually pre-washed, boxed), basil, and cilantro.
- Fruit: Apples, bananas, berries, lemon, mango, and papaya.
- Fats: Avocado, walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, or a blend.
- Staples and starches: Quinoa or brown rice, sweet potatoes, corn tortilla chips, salsa, hummus.
- Protein and cheese: Boneless skinless chicken breasts, eggs, thick sliced turkey from the deli, a piece of white fish (if they have wild caught), goat cheese for salads, mozzarella or cheddar cheese for snacking.*Keep in mind I have a family of four to feed, so if you’re a single person or a couple, your list and prepping session is going to be much less intense.
2. I come home from the store and dump everything on the counter immediately, turn on the oven for roasting (350-450 degrees), the crockpot for chicken (on low), and water boiling for eggs and/or rice.
3. I throw everything that needs washing in the sink and pull one thing at a time out like an assembly line of slicing.
4. I put it all in containers and take a beautiful picture of #MakingHealthyHappen as I sip on my second glass of wine and enjoy a fresh salad and/or roasted veggies and chicken from the crock pot.
And now, here are some simple meal ideas to get you thinking.
Baked eggs and bacon:
These are a hit with everyone, and great for eating on the go. Simply spray/coat a muffin tin with butter or oil, and crack an egg in each one (you can use egg whites or the whole egg). Add diced vegetables, spinach, cheese, and even crumbled bacon. Pop in the oven at 350 for 15-20 minutes depending on how well you like your eggs cooked. Eat alone or on a piece of toast. I also love to cook turkey bacon in the oven (on parchment paper or foil) for less mess and crispier pieces. For the bacon, turn up the oven to 400 degrees and cook for 20 minutes or until you see the crisp you desire.
Make an “omelette station” in a tupperware container so you can pull it out in the morning for quick vegetable scrambles or omelettes! Mine has diced zucchini and peppers, tomatoes, goat cheese, and I always add a little avocado. All you have to do now is toss what you want in a skillet and crack eggs on top for a healthy omelette made in minutes with no mess.
Roast your veggies so they’re easy to add to quick dinner recipes, salads, and to snack on. I drizzle olive oil, lemon, salt, and pepper and roast at 350-400 for about 20-25 minutes until crispy. If you don’t want soggy roasted vegetables, then bag and season them like you see below so you can quickly toss them in the oven while you unwind from your day and open a bottle of wine (are you sensing a theme here with the vino?).
For easy-to-grab lunches and snacks for work, I suggest fruit salads, lettuce/veggie salads, hard-boiled eggs, leftovers (cold chicken from the night before on a salad is always delish), and hummus with vegetables.
And that, my friends, is how you Prep for Success for a healthier lifestyle! Don’t be intimidated–it’s a lot to take in, but at the end of the day, it’s just about buying REAL food and making it easier on yourself to whip up a quick breakfast, grab something to take to the office for lunch, and make dinnertime easier and more efficient.
Here’s to #MakingHealthyHappen!