Having a set plan for your daily meals will more likely make you stay on top of your nutritional intakes. I find that the best part is that when hunger strikes, there are plenty of healthy food options ready to choose from and be eaten. I like to meal prep on the weekends, but any day works just fine.
I start by making a list of all the meals that we will have throughout the week. That way, I know which foods I need to stock up on, but still, incorporate as much fresh fruits and vegetables that can be found on the garden. There is a small garden behind our house that boasts biologically grown vegetables, fruit, and spices. And all of those usually dictate what I’m basing my meals around. Then I head to the grocery store and tick off every item separately.
Then the fun part for me begins. Preparing different meals for the week and pre-cooking what can be safely stored and eaten in a couple of days. Like chopping salads, making dressings, pre-cooking quinoa, Kamut, baking pancakes, mixing trail mixes, and taste-testing most of it.
I even have the smallest snacks planned in case I need them. I would make a batch of trail mix with possibly some spices like cardamom to add sweetness. I would dry out fruits when I know there are too many for us to eat them all fresh. Or mash fresh fruit that is about to go bad and put it in tightly sealed jars. They even hold for months like that (it is just like making baby food). When I have just a little too much fruit, I also like to mash it a little and freeze in ice cubes so when I need a refreshing drink I can easily pop that into a water (sparkling or still) or in my kombucha.
What really helps me stay on top of my nutrition is drinking plenty of unsweetened fluids throughout the day. Let that be water, fruit-infused waters, teas, barley coffee with chicory, etc. I find that often when I feel hungry in between meals, I am just a little thirsty. Plus, a huge part of me avoiding sweets is that I don’t usually keep them around, and I would highly unlikely go to the store for just one thing, which is not on my meal plan to start with. And even if there is no stopping me in having a bar of chocolate, I prefer running, walking or biking in my spandex leggings to the store and that way burning out the calories on the way anyways.
On top of all the healthy choices that I make throughout the day, I am not going to beat myself up when I do indulge in chocolate. After all, it does come from cocoa which is a tree. That makes it a plant. It might not be salad, but I only live once. I also like to pair it together with a healthy alternative. Say I LOVE chocolate, and would, therefore, pair it with a couple of almonds. Almonds are high in fat and can even out your blood sugar levels.
One important part to remember is to account all the liquids, not only during warmer months; hydration is essential year-round. Have your water bottle always nearby. And throw in some fresh fruit or steep some tea for healthy drinks alternative, as water can get a little plain. Remember that sometimes when we start to feel hunger, it just might be a little thirst talking.
When you’re prepared, you’re less likely to fail. It is the times when you’re not ready that you’ll go after the processed foods, because go figure, they were made for convenience. Plus, with all the added sugars in most of them, they’ll get you addicted quickly. I believe it is smart to take a little time, plan ahead and feel well later.