Hey All,

Today’s post is inspired by a new client of mine, who’s diet issue is one I hear almost daily.

“I don’t have the time to cook. Frozen dinners are just faster and easier.”

Listen, I get it. I work 12 and 13 hour days too. The last thing I want to do when I come home at 8 o’clock is come up with some elaborate meal that’s going to take 50 ingredients and an hour to cook. And I only have myself to worry about, so not to mention most of my clients have a family to take care of on top of that.

So what’s the solution? I revert to an annoying but true saying: the 5 P’s. Proper preparation prevents poor performance. I get that any plan needs flexibility in order to be compliable and successful, but if you have a good base to work around, your chances of failure decrease significantly. Here are some things you should focus when doing your meal planning:

Figure out your go-to healthy essentials

Make a list of your favorite proteins, veggies, fruits and packaged foods. Make a list of the healthiest options that you’re most likely to eat. To give you an idea of what it might look like, this is what mine usually entails:

Protein: Always chicken breast, eggs, and whatever fish is on sale. About once a month I’ll pick up a pack of lean beef, bacon, or all natural turkey sausage just to mix it up. Dairy includes plain greek yogurt, low fat cottage cheese or sour cream, goat cheese, and coffee cream.

Veggies: 2-3 bags of spring mix, red onion, green onion, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, avocados, baby carrots, eggplant and zucchini. This honestly doesn’t stray too much because I have enough variety in my essentials. And um.. I hate broccoli.

Fruit: Apples + bananas and one other seasonal fruit. Summer is usually watermelon or pineapple, winter is usually grapefruit.

Prepackaged Foods: Almond or peanut butter, quinoa, quick oats, salsa, dark chocolate (yes that is an essential), almonds, flax wraps, salt-free rice cakes, coffee. Every once in a while, I too will have some frozen food. (Remember I told you, I get it?) However you will not catch me eating Hungry Man meatloaf and mashed potatoes. I’m selective with my frozen foods. Some favorites are Garden Lites Souffles, Nature’s Promise Breaded Chicken Strips, and Amy’s Organic quinoa veggie burgers.

Pick a day you have some extra time for food prep, and use it wisely

I would venture to guess that this is usually Sunday’s. Chop your veggies, marinate or cook your meat, display your fruit to resemble an Edible Arrangement (joke (kinda)).

The swan melon… super easy…

Individually pack your snacks or lunches.  Snacks are usually baby carrots and chopped veggies, greek yogurt, oatmeal or a protein shake. Lunches are usually a pre-made salad, tuna, left over chicken, hard boiled eggs, or veggie burgers.

Make a list of your go-to quick meals

Without giving you formal recipes, I can tell you what some of my usual meals are:

  • 1/2lb of the fish that I bought, pan cooked with coconut oil and spices + store bought taboule or 1/2 an avocado
  • pan cooked chicken breast with dry spices (usually cajun or lemon pepper) with oven baked zucchini with marinara sauce, baked sweet potato fries (with olive oil and cinnamon), or sauteed spinach with grass-fed butter and lemon juice
  • ranch tuna salad (i make it with greek yogurt and dry ranch seasoning)
  • mixed greens/veggie salad with goat cheese and almonds
  • eggplant parm is always a staple (no breading and light on the cheese)
  • taco salad (chopped romaine, lean beef or turkey with taco seasoning, red onions, tomatoes, shredded cheese)
  • mixed greens wrap with chicken
  • scrambled eggs, frittata, or veggie omelet with salsa and avocado
  • if i really don’t feel like cooking, i’ll probably have an Amy’s veggie burger with BBQ sauce with greens, or heat some breaded chicken

Here are some other lists of great ideas (eggplant pizza?? yes please)

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/10-primal-meals-in-15-minutes-or-less/#axzz2BTfAXOqZ

http://www.greatist.com/health/cheap-healthy-recipe-collection

Clean your kitchen

I aint talkin’ Windex folks. The best solution for not eating crappy food at home is not HAVING crappy food at home. Stop buying it, and stop keeping it in the house. That way you can separate actual cravings from ‘just eating cause it’s there.’

Conclusion

Alright so I understand I just basically laid out my entire diet plan for you to read. But the point is that the format of the planning and the importance of food prep should be standard; you have to adjust things to your taste. If you hate eating plain chicken breast, don’t cook it that way. If grilled zucchini sounds…’meh’ to you …don’t buy it.  But you do have to take some responsibility in finding what works best for you. The idea is to just put thought into it and actually pay attention.

I hope this helps! Feel free to use the comment section to share some of your go-to easy meals.

Get cookin!

-L

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