We have all heard the quote, “If you fail to plan you plan to fail”. Some people believe Benjamin Franklin said it – others think it was Winston Churchill. Regardless of who said it – it is a truthism that we can apply to many different areas of our life.
Let’s start with Diet and Health- If you fail to plan you plan to fail.
What’s for dinner? Is a simple benign question, or so it seems, but planning to fail shows up here on a daily basis. The hope is that we can answer that question with a meal that is healthy and palatable (preferably spouse and kid approved). To be able to pop a dinner out of the oven in 30 minutes or less (and not take a detour through the drive thru) starts a week or two before. It might entail shopping the ads to find out who has the best quality beef, chicken and pork at the most reasonable prices. Who has the freshest veggies (what’s in season) and is there a local farmers market open at a time you get there. It probably also involves spending an hour (or more) shopping. But before we ever even get to that point it takes finding healthy go-to recipes and menu planning.
One thing is for certain if you bring it into your kitchen you are planning on eating it. So if you don’t want to eat that pint of Ben & Jerry’s, if those hot Cheetos are calling your name and if you can’t stop with just one chip – the safest place for them is on the grocery store shelf.
If your goal is to eat more fruit – then you have to buy it. And it actually has to come home with you and actually make it all the way into your lunch bag. One of the things I do with fruit is prep it before I ever put it in the fridge. If it’s a melon cut the fruit into bite size pieces and make to-go portion packs using Mason Jars. Grapes? Wash them, dry them – they also go in a Mason Jar with a ¼ cup of whole almonds. Are you using frozen berries? Portion them into Mason Jars and top with Plain Greek Yogurt (if you want some crunch – then a few almonds or pecans work well).
What if your goal is to eat better lunches? Make a bit more for dinner. A pint Mason works great to store and reheat the leftovers (remember to take of the metal ring). Speaking of lunch or dinners either one…when I bring home ground beef from the grocery store I typically brown it all – then I cool it and divide it into quart Ziploc or Vacuum Seal Bags. This gives me a jump on things like Spaghetti, Tacos – any recipe that calls for browned ground beef. I do chicken the same way-don’t be afraid of buying the family pack that’s on sell. Cook it all at once time – reserve the broth by freezing it in silicon muffin cups – this gives you about 4 oz. portions. Then the Broth cubes can be thrown in a freezer bag. I usually buy thighs – I take the cooked thighs lay them on a cookie sheet so they don’t touch, first cover cookie sheet with a silicon mat or parchment paper. Pop in the freezer – once frozen put in a gallon bag and put back in the freezer. An easy short cut for any recipe that calls for cooked chicken – and you can control the ingredients and prep method.
Eating healthy doesn’t have to be difficult – but it does take planning. While you are building the habit of planning it feels cumbersome – then it becomes second nature.