Sunday, February 15, 2015

Simple, Healthy Eating

Many people have asked me how I manage to eat so healthy or to give them ideas for meals or help them with a weekly shopping list. I thought a post sharing some tips and tricks might answer some questions or help to inspire other people who maybe aren't sure where to begin (you can read more about how I eat in this post).

Keep it simple. I used to go totally overboard planning these elaborate dinners to make during the week. But then when I got home from work, errands, the gym... the last thing I wanted to do was start cooking up a storm. It's just not realistic for my lifestyle and probably not for yours either. Most of us are running around like crazy from one place to another. If you keep it simple you'll have no excuse not do it. I think a lot of people feel that cooking takes too long and they don't want to deal with all the hassle so it's easier just to stop and pick something up. I totally get that and there are definitely nights when I do that as well, but keeping items on hand that I know I can throw together for a quick and healthy meal has really eliminated a lot of eating out. And I feel healthier for it.

Plan ahead. Make a list before you go and organize it by location in the store. This makes food shopping a breeze. Think about what meals you want to make during the week. I don't sit there and plan every single day out but I make sure to have about 3-4 dinners planned ahead and then a couple of easy extra items. For example, I might plan to make a chicken stir fry, taco salad, and sausage and peppers as my weeknight meals. But then I'll throw in some hotdogs (Applegate, free of nitrates, antibiotics and other garbage) or an extra package of ground beef or turkey to have on hand just in case. These are items that can be made in less than 10 minutes if I have a night that I get home extra late, which is usually about once a week if I go to a late yoga class. Just knowing that I have something at home I can make that quick will prevent me from stopping somewhere.

Normally I will plan a lunch for the week that I can make ahead on Sunday and will last me and Greg 2-3 days (chili, ground turkey and a vegetable, soup, etc). The rest of the days will be leftovers from the night before.

Breakfast is easy- most days we eat eggs, sweet potato and avocado. Sometimes we throw a vegetable in with the eggs. Some days we make a green juice with whatever we have on hand. About once a week we will have gluten-free oatmeal just to switch it up.

Snacks are nuts, seeds, fresh and dried fruit, and Lara bars.

I normally go food shopping at Trader Joe's. They have a great selection of meats that are free of antibiotics, gluten, casein, nitrates, additives, etc. as well as organic fruits and vegs. I find that the smaller footprint of the store makes it easier to shop. As I mentioned in the linked post above I do get certain items at other places (Target, Home Goods, Amazon, etc) but I probably do about 80% of my shopping at TJ's. Here's an example of a typical shopping list:

Fruits/Vegs: Bananas, Avocado, Apples, Berries, Pineapple, Spinach, Sweet Potatoes, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Snow Peas, Mushrooms, Peppers, Tomato, Lemons
Meat: Chicken breasts, Ground Beef, Ground Turkey, Sausage, Hotdogs
Dairy/Refrigerated: Eggs, Coconut Milk, Shredded Cheese
Pantry: Cashew or Almond Butter, Walnuts, Dried Apricots, Raisins, Sauerkraut, Tomato Sauce, Diced Canned Tomatoes, Canned Coconut Milk, Gluten-free Oatmeal

Meal prep is so important. We normally do this on Sunday, but choose whatever day works best with your schedule. As discussed above, nobody has time to be prepping and getting all fancy when they get home from work. Meal prep is a huge time saver for the week to come. A normal Sunday meal prep for us goes like this:
-Sweet potatoes- either baked in the oven with coconut oil or seasoned hash browns in a skillet
-Vegetables- cutting and prepping anything needed for breakfast/lunch/dinner. This could be broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, peppers, etc. Depending what we want to use it for we will either cook it or just chop and store for later use
-Lunch for the week- lately this has been a big pot of chili or soup, could also be cooking ground beef/turkey/chicken in a skillet with a vegetable to go with it or cutting up chicken breasts (seasoned and cooked in a skillet)
-A big pot of rice is also made- Greg has incorporated white rice back into his diet due to the frequency and intensity of his workouts. He needs to consume something that will be burned off easily and give him energy. I sometimes include a small portion of rice with certain meals

And that's it. All you need is 1-2 hours and I promise you, this will set you up for success for the whole week.

Coming soon I will post specific meal ideas and recipes for breakfast/lunch/dinner as well as products that I love. If you would like help with meal planning and recipes ideas please contact me for details.
Happy Sunday!