WRITE A PLAN FOR THE WEEK
Written planning is the key to successfully eat well. Let’s think back to a time before fast food restaurants on every corner and grocery stores filled with processed packaged instant/microwavable/ ready-to-eat “foods”. Grocery stores were smaller and contained recognizable food items (ingredient lists were short and we could pronounce the words). We thought about our next meal before leaving the house because food was more expensive (relatively) and not as readily available. One source of statistics finds we eat 50% of our meals out today, and one-hundred years ago we ate 2% out. Ok, I did the math for 3 meals a day: that’s 22 meals/year eaten out 100 years ago versus 548 meals/year eaten out today!
Taking some time to consider your meals for the week will greatly improve what you eat. Make a plan, stick to it. Consider which meals will be eaten out during the week. Consider where you will eat these meals. Do you eat/need snacks, if so add them to your plan? If you go to the same job each day – can you keep snacks at work? Bring a fresh supply of vegetables, fruits and nuts on Monday. What are your quick and favorite breakfast choices? Can you make foods ahead for lunch or dinner for the time-crunch days? When will you do the food preparation? Can you pack a sandwich? Can you make a larger amount at dinner and have an extra lunch or dinner? How many family meals do you have each week? Remember Crock-pot meals for a fresh hot dinner, ready when you get home.
|Avocado – A yummy source of fat!|
■Write a plan for all of your meals and snacks for the week.
■Write a grocery list.
■Prepare foods ahead.
■Think fresh and keep your food safe.
This is what works for my lunch: I don’t allow time to prepare lunch in the morning – only time to pack it in a cooler so I cook the meat and small portion of soaked and cooked whole grain ahead in large batches (or a dish with meat, grain, vegetable), for a few weeks. (Food intolerances prevent the sandwich choice). Portion and freeze it in packable containers. On Sunday and Wednesday look at which days I need to take a lunch – chop vegetables, season and add to the frozen meat/grain containers. Add fruit, nuts or other snacks and lunch is ready to be packed. Great way to make fast dinners ahead for busy evenings during the week – make your own fast food.
Eating well is actually easier today than 30 years ago. Salad bars and pre-cut vegetables can decrease preparation time. Most sizeable cities have pack your own dinner businesses (Dinner by Design, Dream Dinners, etc.). However, chopping and cooking your own will ensure a fresher, more nutritious meal! Consider how you choose your meals today and start planning for a healthier tomorrow.
Start where you can, each step will help. Don’t know how to cook using a stove – take a class or check the web resources for easy recipes to follow. If you can read this – you can cook!
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