Happy New Year to each of you, I hope January has treated you well! Each year is almost like a new beginning. Typically, you may read or hear from your fellow acquaintances “New Year new me”, about their New Year resolutions to eat right, work out more, or even take time for self-care. If you made the pledge to start eating better and working out then start slow. Along with starting slow, set small realistic goals, which may help you turn a temporary goal into a lifestyle change.
What I mean by setting small realistic goals is, rather than shooting for running a marathon, or cooking 7 days a week in a month, minimize that. Try walking/meal planning/cooking 3-4 days a week instead. That way, you develop a habit that can then be increased to more days, if you would like of course.
Meal planning is a topic/question that many find tedious, difficult, and just plain unrealistic. However, executed correctly, it can be as simple as you make it. Here are a few tips that I find help keep me on track with meals and meal planning/prepping.
Pick ONE day and stick to that day each week. – Choose ONE day during the week that is less hectic than the rest, or just convent for your busy schedule. Pick out a few meals that you would like to make, and write them on your calendar, dry erase board, in your planner, etc. That way you have a constant reminder of what you will be cooking on that particular day of the week (accountability), then pick ONE day to grocery shop. Whether that be the same day that you make your list, or a separate day, that is completely up to you. Then you have everything that you need in your fridge to cook each meal for the following week. Hopefully, being prepared each week will decrease the likelihood of needing to pick up food on the way home or make something fast and convenient that may not fit into your healthy eating goals.
Keep it simple. – Who here wants to stand in a kitchen for over an hour cooking dinner after working for 8 hours? No one? Yeah, me either, which is why keeping it simple will decrease the dread of making dinner during the week. Find a handful of recipes that you know will not take very long, but that you and whomever is in your home enjoy. Personally, I have about 20-25 recipes that are my go-to during the busy work week (hint, hint, they are located on the WeightWise blog). Keep those recipes in a notebook, typed up on your computer, or in the notes on your phone. That way you also have that as a reference when you are making your weekly menus, and you can add new recipes to it as you go.
Get creative on the weekends. – I know the previous paragraph stated to “keep it simple”. However, to prevent “food fatigue” from eating the same things all the time, get a little creative on the weekends when you have a little more time to cook. I do not mean make something different every weekend of the month. Maybe pick one or two days to try a new recipe. If it is easy and you like it, it could even be added to your weekday meal rotation.
Keep a few easy go-to meals in your fridge/freezer. – This will prevent you from feeling like you need to stop and pick something up because you are unsure of what you have at home. Some of the things I alternate between are pork/turkey loin, smoked turkey sausage, frozen turkey burgers, bratwurst, lettuce wraps (deli meat and cheese, tuna/chicken salad), and even a few frozen meals that only contain meat and non-starchy veggies.
Contact our team at WeightWise for more information regarding meal planning, goal setting, and other options to get healthy. Wishing you a very joyful and productive year!