For any of us who want to live a healthier life, the biggest obstacle is nutrition. It is also the one thing that is the most important. You can do 30 minutes of the most intense cardio and ruin it with a doughnut. Yes, just one doughnut. For years I did the “well I worked out so I can have this snack.” or “for every unhealthy thing I eat, I’ll drink a bottle of water.” While I was pretty strong from my size, I certainly didn’t look like the girls in the fitness pictures I aspired to be.
Changing my eating habits has not only helped me hit goals physically, but financially and mentally as well. My depression flares up almost instantly when I eat sugar. I only notice this now having stayed away from sweets for long enough to know how my body feels without it. I’ve taught a few meal planning classes and I’ve got my weekly prep down to a science.
Before we get started, it’s helpful to know the basics of nutrition. Ever hear gym rats talk about our macros?
Macros are macronutrients that need to be balanced in order to acheive optimal results. They consist of protein, carbs and fats. Yes, Carbs and Fats are good for you!!! I’ll go into why later but here is a cheat for what nutrients are ideal:
I personally stay away from Pasta but if you’re going to eat it, try to limit it.
There are a few things that make eating healthy MUCH easier!
- Make a plan. Going to the grocery store with a list of what you’re going to make that week is imperative. Here’s my easy grocery list broken down by macros I eat every week.
- Once I get home, I start cooking before I even put away groceries. I pull them straight from my bags and start chopping, washing, prepping. This way I’m already in the mindset. Once it’s in the refrigerator it’s easy to say you’ll do it later, but later never comes.
- Preheat the oven as soon as you walk in the door. Chop anything you plan to roast and put it on your roasting pans. Season and into the oven they go! For me, this is usually my broccoli, brussel sprouts and potatoes.
My favorite way to season my brussels are with garlic, ginger, olive oil, salt & pepper!
- Set up your crock pot and put your chicken in with the low sodium marinate of your choosing. If your chicken isn’t frozen, it’ll be ready in 3-4 hours on low.
- All that’s left is stove top stuff. I brown my lean beef or bison with either taco seasoning or oregano, basil, onion & garlic. Sometimes I’ll add in mushrooms & kale. I buy my green beans & rice to microwave. I usually will pop one bag of each in so it’s ready to go for the week.
Now that everything has been cooked, I clean up my kitchen and put anything else away. While my veggies finish roasting, I’ll sit and plan out meals for the week. If something needs to be marinated or chopped, I’ll do it right now so that when I get home from a long day at work, it’s ready and easy to go. Even better, it’ll be easy for my husband to do it!
Here are some other tips that make it easy for me to stick to my plan.
1. Know your triggers: Someone once asked me what kind of snack could they eat a lot of that won’t mess up their diet. The answer to that is water. There is nothing that you can mindlessly munch that will be okay. There are healthy snacks though! I like Chocolate Rice Cakes with Almond Butter or just snacking on some cucumbers.
2. Avoid empty calories: Sodas, juices, even premade smoothies are packed with calories that have no nutritional value.
3. Make back up meat/veggies: There will be days that you don’t feel like cooking or you just need a quick lunch to put together. You can almost never go wrong with chicken and broccoli or lean ground beef and green beans. I always have a big tupperware of shredded chicken and taco seasoned ground beef in my fridge. We also always have broccoli, brussel sprouts, asparagus cooked and in the fridge. You can make bulk amounts of rice and potatoes too so that you have the option to make good choices.
4. Watch your portion sizes. A palm size for protein, a handful for carbs, a thumb size for fats and unlimited green veggies!
5. If you’re not hungry enough to eat something healthy, you’re not hungry…you’re bored. Drink Water.