The reality of a healthy and fit life is that diet is key. You can run or do cardio all you want but if you don’t put the right foods in your body, it is nearly impossible to maintain a healthy weight. The biggest thing I hear from most clients is that eating healthy is too time consuming. Sure driving through McDonalds or calling the delivery guy is a sure fire way to get easy food, but truth is there are some pretty simple changes you can make that will have dinner on the table pretty quickly.
The first thing I do every week is make a grocery list. It looks a lot like the sample below. I always write my grocery list out according to the store layout. Typically you will enter at the produce department and then work your way through the meat department, the staples and finish with dairy. By building your list accordingly you can map out in your mind what you need for meals for the week and not have to bounce around the store. This can make the entire experience way more efficient.
The key to a healthy diet is to have the majority of your grocery list come from the outer edge of the grocery store. If you picture the inner workings of the store, all of the fresh food is on the outside with cans, boxes, and other staples making up the innards. Aim for most of your food to come from the outer areas.
I like to start my day off with a warm glass of lemon juice followed by a quick shot of cherry concentrate. The lemon juice is a way to start off on a fresh detox and the cherries are a fantastic anti-inflammatory/heart healthy diet additive. Skip the Advil and go for the cherries!
Second I stock up on veggies. The best way to have a filling lunch is to go with either a nice big salad or a mostly clear soup. Salads allow you a good helping of food with very few calories. Pile your plate full of greens and other veggies and then add some protein that we will pick up in the meat department. All of these yummy veggies can also be thrown into a nice easy soup. Stick to clear soups for fewer calories. Vegetables also make delicious and easy sides for weekly dinners as well as stir fries. I also take my left over veggies from dinner and save them to put on top of salads for a little extra flavor. Fruits and vegetables are also full of fiber which will keep you feeling full.
While in the meat department I also pick up a few pre-grilled chicken breasts that can be thrown on my salads. The added protein keeps you feeling fuller longer and is essential for muscle repair. Although a little pricier, I find this to be a nice and easy way to have lunch ready during the week. I often grab a prebaked potato or even a twice baked potato for my husband and I to split for dinner. Stock up on boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I go for antibiotic and hormone free) as well as lean cuts of grass fed steak, pork chops, and lean ground beef or turkey which is great for crockpot recipes.
Pick out staples from the center of the store that can be used for soups, stir fries, and the crockpot. Try to be creative when it comes to dinner. Italian night doesn’t have to mean spaghetti. Try couscous or quinoa. Keeping beans, broths and other canned veggies on hand means you can whip up a soup in no time.
Veggies in the freezer are an excellent option. They are super nutritious and often come in easy microwaveable options. All you need to do is grill a piece of meat, add a side and dinner is served. Throw some veggies on the stove with some low sodium soy sauce and you have yourself a tasty stir fry to throw over some quinoa or rice.
As soon as I get home from the store I clean and put away all the produce so that it is ready to go. If I don’t wash the apples right away I might pass over them when I am hungry for an easier option. Use a day off to go get groceries, prep them and then while you are at it make a crockpot recipe right away. Keep it in the freezer for dinner or multiple dinners later in the week. If you are home all day Sunday with the family put a soup on the stove for later in the week. Pull out lunch containers and make salads in advance so that you just have to grab one on the way out the door to work.
I know that it can seem like a lot of work when you have to schedule everything around work, family, and extra curricular activities but with a little practice and creativity this can become just another part of your routine. Plus if you stick to this Sunday through Thursday you will feel so much better about a few meals out over the weekend.
What are you go to grocery staples or easy dinners?