Sometimes the easiest way to stay on top of your game is to plan and pack your meals. Bringing a lunch, making overnight oats the night before, these are all great ways to look forward to food and what you’re going to eat. It keeps you from getting super ravenous and hungry that you want to give up or cheat and put everything in your face.
I know it can take a little effort and is something to adjust to, especially if you’re used to going out to eat all the time or just grabbing whatever before you head out the door.
Here’s a breakdown of what I’m eating today at roughly 1200 calories.
- Overnight Oats for breakfast – recipe coming soon!
- Fiber filled snacks for mid-morning and afternoon: apple slices with peanut butter, blueberries, and raw almonds
- Mesquite turkey breast sandwich on Dave’s Killer Bread thin slices (I LOVE this stuff) with 1 TBSP mayo and some horseradish
- Lean turkey burger with a lettuce wrap instead of a bun, onions, and either mayo or avocado
Here’s some great tips for packing and planning meals to make it easier and less stressful. Soon you’ll be in the habit and it won’t feel like effort at all 🙂
- Portion out your snacks ahead of time. When I buy raw almonds or any of my favorite snack, I like to take time to make snack packs for either the week or with the entire package. With almonds, I portion out 15 or so (100 calories) into snack-sized ziplock bags. Then when I’m making lunch I can just throw them in or grab a bag on my way out the door for a snack later.
- Find ways to make healthy versions of meals you love. Just because you’re trying to eat healthier and change your lifestyle habits, doesn’t mean you can never think about cheese ever again! Find ways to make a healthier lasagna with whole wheat noodles or squash instead. Substitute lean ground turkey for ground beef. Use lettuce instead of burger buns. I recently found a great recipe for buffalo chicken wraps that I’m going to make with my Mom this weekend. They look delicious and will be healthy!
- Find creative ways to transport food. Mason jars are all the rage lately for storing salads (with all of the wet ingredients at the bottom and the lettuce sitting on top). They are also great for making overnight oats and smoothies and then you can just take them with you on your way to work or where ever you may go!
- Don’t make rules for what can be eaten when. I am guilty of this all the time. it doesn’t have to be breakfast time for you to eat eggs. Healthy food can be eaten at any time of the day. As long as you are getting great nutrients and feeling full you can eat cereal for dinner and a sandwich for breakfast. Don’t put limits on yourself. Make things easier.
- Buy a water bottle and use it. Keeping yourself hydrated is one of the most important things for maintaining energy, staying healthy, and fueling your body. Buy a quality water bottle for your home and office so you are always an arms reach away from drinking those 64+ ounces!
- Plan meals and pack snacks that you’ll look forward to! Sometimes the hardest part about making healthy habits is feeling like you’ll never have good food to look forward to ever again – not true! Plan times for special meals and moments of indulgence to help keep you on track during the week. Knowing you get to have a glass of wine or a piece of pizza on Friday can help keep you focused and truly appreciate these foods and drinks when you do get to have them.
- Food doesn’t have to be an event. I’ve always felt like I needed to plan some elaborate dinner when I got home but the truth is, food is fuel and it doesn’t have to be the main event surrounding everything we do. It’s okay to get home and have a hodgepodge dinner of whatever you have around the house.
- Choose foods that come in their own container. Foods you can throw into your lunch bag without worrying about more bags or containers are great. Make hardboiled eggs for the week and keep the shell on and then take them to work for an easy, protein filled snack. Apples, pears, oranges, avocados, yams, and other fruits are great for this, too! Ready to go foods like low-fat string cheese and greek yogurt are also easy to throw into your lunch (they can just become a little expensive if you’re always buying ready-made snacks).