Effective training programs will change the shape of your body. You’ll have more energy when you’re fit, you’ll sleep better, clothes will look better on you and you just feel awesome knowing you can ask your body to do whatever you want, and it will be capable. Running with the kids, carrying heavy loads, gardening, playing sport, it all becomes easier or even just plain possible.
Losing body fat also requires that you clean up your nutrition. Following a healthy eating plan is a lot easier when you’re prepared and organised. Here are some ways to help you be prepared to eat healthy food all day every day.
- Start the Sunday Ritual: Take some time on Sundays to plan and prepare meals. Get your family involved in a fun way to help you prepare the meals for the week. Give everyone (kids and partners) an appropriate job to help this get done more quickly. My family actually has all our week day evening meals planned 4 weeks ahead. On Sundays I look to the week ahead do 2 things. Firstly, make sure I have everything I need to make each meal. Secondly, what can I prepare ahead? Slow cook recipes, soups and some other dishes can be prepared and reheated on the day you plan to eat them. This saves me heaps and heaps of time during the week when I’m busy running my 5 children to their various sporting and other appointments. It means we eat a totally home made (not prepared, packaged or processed) meal every night of every week.
- Boil a dozen eggs at a time and refrigerate. You don’t have to eat the whole egg; you can break away the whites (protein). Hard-boiled eggs will last at least five days in the fridge, and are a great compact snack. This is so, so handy. Hard boiled eggs can be added to salads, vegetable dishes, mashed or just eaten as they are. Combine with a carb source and some fats, and bingo, meal or snack made in a few minutes.
- Cook lots of chicken (or other proteins) at a time. Grill, BBQ, bake, poach or broil with your favorite seasonings. I often poach a few chicken breasts at a time. Simple simmer in stock or water with added herbs, spices or lemon. Don’t over cook and put into a covered container as soon as you get them out so they don’t dry out. Great for slicing over salad, or even having a portion as a snack. Keep 3–4 in the fridge, and individually freeze the rest. Take out a frozen breast the night before for a ready to eat protein source.
- Chop up vegetables and store in individual containers. Chop up whatever vegetables you like to eat raw. Keep in a covered container for best storage. You can eat them as is or cook them. Makes meal preparation on a day to day basis so much quicker. Also make use of frozen vegetables. I use a lot of the mixed frozen veggies that you can buy from the supermarket. Simple heated through in the microwave or in a small amount of water in a saucepan. Easy and quick.
- Make a vegetable soup. Make enough of your favourite soup recipes for the week. Store 3-4 servings in the fridge for quick lunches or tea later in the week. Put the rest in individual containers and store in the freezer. A couple of our favourites are lamb or chicken soup. I simmer chops, shanks or chicken on the bone in water till the meat is falling of the bone. Cool (for a few hours or overnight) and skim off most of the fat and remove bones (leave some fat as it gives the best flavour) Chop veggies finely, all sorts and in huge amounts. Simmer till vegies are soft and eat. Yummo. Eat some now and take the rest in portions to work for lunch or snacks.
- Cook a huge amount of vegetable stir-fry. Throw a bunch of vegetables into a wok and stir-fry with unlimited herbs and spices of your choice. Store in the fridge in individual containers, so they are ready to grab. Add your pre cooked chicken breast to it. Or eat cold with your hard boiled eggs diced through. This way, a meal or snack is almost ready without having to cook when you get home from work. You can even eat this cold if you don’t have anywhere to reheat it.
- Pick 1–3 recipes and cook ahead of time. Using healthy balanced recipes, cook and freeze. Take out the meal in the morning, so it will be defrosted by dinnertime. Add a side of stir-fry or salad. As above, I do this a lot. I cook meals ahead all the time. While i’m in the kitchen preparing one meal, I may as well be preparing another at the same time. If you’re going to have it within a day or 2, just pop covered in the fridge, otherwise, there are plenty of options that are fine to freeze.
- Portion out nuts/seeds. Buy your favorite nuts/seeds in bulk and store in containers in the fridge. Portion out your servings into snack bags. This makes it really handy to grab and go. Always have one of these in your hand bag ready to go. Grab a piece of fruit or some cut up veggies and a hard boiled egg or precooked chicken and a complete meal, ready to go, no prep needed.
- Create a standard grocery list. Create a standard list of the foods you run out of on a weekly basis. Ask your husband and your children to get the items on the list for you. Have the standard list on a printed sheet of paper and just add the extra items you need this week. We have a shopping list saved on my computer that lists just about everything we ever buy from the supermarket. Each week I make a copy, delete anything I don’t need and print it out to go. I hardly ever get home and realise I forgot something these days. Used in conjunction with a meal planner listed above, you won’t be short of ingredients in the middle of cooking anymore.
- Eat the same lunches and snacks on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and then switch on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Planning to eat the same things on alternate days cuts down on the need to plan, grocery shop and prepare ahead of time. This way, you always know what you are having and can use the leftovers for lunches. Eating the same things can also stop you thinking about food all the time and make urges to eat unhealthy foods a less often occurrence. Plan ahead and get everything ready on Sundays or once or twice a week when this suits.
Its all about being prepared and organised. There are NO EXCUSES when you plan ahead. Even last minute outings can be catered for by having food ready to grab and go in the fridge. If it gets a bit later in the week and you know you’re not going to use those cooked chicken breasts or that last couple of serves of fruit, pop them in the freezer and get them out next week.