My journey to a healthier me

Tales of my life

Weekly Food Prep or How I stay on track

on April 23, 2014

When I tell people my story, one of the things I get asked about quite often is how I stay on track with clean eating.

And there are always 2 things I tell them.

First, keep a food journal.  I have kept one for 2 years now.  And let me tell you, it works!  I write down what I eat, what time I eat it, and the calories.  The only things I don’t include are water and coffee, because neither has any calories. (I drink my coffee black.)  At the end of the day, I total the calories.   I thought I ate pretty good until I started doing this.  It really makes a difference.

When I first started keeping my food journal, I carried around a little notebook with me at all times.  Now I just type it in my phone, in the notes section.  If that doesn’t work for you, there are many free apps out there you can use.  I’ve tried a few, but haven’t found one I really like.  Do what works best for you.

Second, I do weekly food prep.  Different people do this differently.  Again, do what works best for you.  In my case, once a week I cook up big meals that I divide into lunches and dinners for myself for the week.  It could be anything really.  I might make a large pot of turkey chili.  Or a big pot of homemade soup.  I might make a giant turkey meatloaf or a big batch of turkey meatballs.  Whatever I feel like making.  Sometimes I make 2 or 3 different things just to mix it up.  My husband and I do our grocery shopping once a week, so before we go, I know what I plan on making for myself for the next week.

In addition to making up several lunches and dinners, I put together healthy snacks for myself.  I buy a bag or box of granola and divide it into small portions.  I buy a container of cottage cheese and portion it out too.  I take plastic bags and put together snacks for after my workouts.  These often include fruit, cottage cheese, and granola.   I also put cut-up veggies into little baggies so I can just grab and go.

I almost always start the day with a smoothie and some turkey bacon.  And I almost always make the smoothie the same way — milk, plain Greek yogurt, dry oatmeal, protein powder, and frozen berries.  I do a few things ahead of time to save time in the morning.  I buy a large bag of frozen berries (can be any kind, I usually get a bag of mixed) and I divide into smaller portions for my smoothies.  I also put portions of dry oatmeal and my protein powder together.  I will often buy the small containers of yogurt because they are already pre-portioned for me.  I also will precook a whole package of turkey bacon, so all I have to do is take a couple pieces out at a time.  Doing these few things helps to make making breakfast a lot faster.  Perfect if I’m short on time in the morning.

 

That may seem like a lot of work to some people.  But it’s really not.  I usually do this on Sundays; sometimes I divide it over both Saturday and Sunday.  It really doesn’t take that much time to get it all done.  And it saves me oodles of time throughout the week.  The best part is by doing this, I have no excuse for not eating healthy meals.  The work is already done.  The meals are just sitting in the fridge waiting for me.

Now this does take a bit of pre-planning.  I have to decide what I want to make, what ingredients I have and what I need, how much to make, do I have a recipe or is it something I can just throw together.  Luckily, I love to cook, so it’s not that big of a deal for me. But if you’re someone who doesn’t like to cook, or maybe you’re not really comfortable in the kitchen, it might be a little daunting.

Maybe you could get together with friends and have a cooking party.  Decide on who’s house to cook at, each person makes a dish, and you share what you make among the group.

Another suggestion would be to use a slow cooker.  Personally I have 2 and I love them! I make tons of different things.  They are so versatile.

You can do an online search for recipes for anything and everything.

I also use Pinterest a lot.  If you don’t already use it, you’re missing out!  It’s a great resource for so many things, not just cooking.

I’ve not always been in control when it comes to food.  It has often controlled me.  My food journal and weekly food prep helps me take back some of that control.

Do I always eat at home?  No, I love to eat out.  But taking control of what I eat at home has helped me take control of what I eat out.  I’ve learned to pay attention to the ingredients used, the cooking methods, the add-ons.  Almost every restaurant has healthy options, it’s a matter of looking for them.

Do I always eat clean?  No, but I do my best.  I often follow the 80/20 rule — I eat clean 80% of the time, and 20% of the time I indulge.  Am I perfect at it?  No, but again, I try my best.

And probably the most important thing I’ve learned is to take it one meal at a time.  Don’t beat yourself up because you ate pizza at a party.  Or maybe you had a few too many appetizers.  Or maybe you decided to have dessert.  Just do better at your next meal.  And remember, it’s okay to indulge once in a while.

 

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One response to “Weekly Food Prep or How I stay on track

  1. leannenalani says:

    Both great things to do! I don’t do a whole lot of food prep but when I do it sure saves a ton of time during the work week when I’m tired from the day.

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