Do you walk through the door after a long day of work or spending the day with the kids and think: “Oh shoot! What is for dinner?” You stand in front of an open refrigerator and see a bag of raw kale, two green peppers, a red onion and some raw chicken. You had planned all week to make that fabulous dish from Cooking Light. But right now, at ten of seven you cannot even think of mustering up the energy to cook. You rashionilize with yourself and realize by the time the dish is cooked and ready it will time for bed. So you do what most of us do in a jam, pick up the phone, call the local take out place that you have stored on speed dial!
It is now 9:00 PM, siting on the couch catching up on last weeks Mad Men, your belly starts to bulge over your pants and this sense of frustration comes over you. “WHY did I order that? WHY did I finish it? Ahh and it cost so much and really wasn’t that great! WHY do I keep doing this to myself and my family?”
The reason you did it was because you were tired and worked all day. It’s not that there is something wrong with you or that you lack the willpower to change; you were just tired!
One of the biggest obstacles I face with my clients is to stop blaming yourself. Rather take action and start to manipulate your environment to support the changes you want to see. Will power will only carry you so far, but if you start to plan and manipulate your environment you will set yourself up for success. One of the best ways to do this is with what I call Prep Day.
Prep Day is a few hours you dedicate each week to plan, shop and prepare your food for the week. By having a Prep Day you can have on dinner on the table in a flash all week long. Prep Day takes the guess work out of what’s for dinner/lunch/breakfast and allows you to make healthy choices at each meal. It requires some extra time up front, but in the end it will save you time, money and calories!
Here are the steps for success with Prep Day :
(1) Choose a consistent day. Make sure you place that day in your planner or calendar.
(2) Choose meals and recipes you would like to have for the week. Some of my favorite places to get recipies from are” Cooking Light, Women’s Health, Self and blogs (Eat Well with Janel, Green Thyme, Green Grapes Nutrition, Nutrition Blog Network to name a few!)
(3) From those meals and recipes create a shopping list.
(4) Go to the grocery store and shop. Only buy what is on your list!
(5) When you arrive home don’t put those groceries away… Start prepping. Most of us come home with great and healthy food, we put them away, they sit in the fridge and rot and we just end up throwing lots of food and money away.
(6) Prep your foods. Clean, chop and cut up all your vegetables and fruit so they are ready to use for recipes and easy to grab for snacks. Cook, grill or bake any of your proteins and grains ahead of time. Make soups and casseroles and keep half for the week, while storing and freezing the other half. Basically prepare and cook anything you can ahead of time.
(7) Portion out meals into reusable containers. On top of my refriderator I have a basket of all types of containers.
(8) Grab and go, healthy and delicious meals all week.
This has been a life saver for myself and many of my clients. And when I don’t do this I certainly notice. I spend more money, tend to eat out and/or get take out way too often and usually see the scale go up.
My Challenge for you is to try using the Prep Day for 4 weeks, I guarantee you will notice the difference in your stress, your food choices and your waist line.