Meal planning is a huge part of making healthy choices and sticking to them. This week, I learned just how important prepping food and planning is! As I've mentioned before, I am doing an internship this summer in Palm Springs. Most of my shifts are 7am-3:30pm, which means I have to leave the house at 6am! By the time I get home in the afternoons, I am exhausted and usually end up eating out. I like to make healthy choices when I eat out; however, I do miss cooking and actually knowing what is in my food! This week, I was not a great planner. I ended up eating out frequently and spending a lot of money! Even though I made pretty healthy choices while eating out, it was nothing compared to how I feel when I cook and prep my own food with whole ingredients! Luckily, today, I have a 9am-5:30 shift, which gave me some time to plan out some pre-workout meals and snacks for the day so I don't get hungry, cranky, or tired midday! I woke up this morning, had a peanut butter wrap before my workout, and headed to the gym for 3 miles on the elliptical. I usually would rather have an egg in the morning because it gives me great fuel (protein + fat= ideal!) But I did not have any boiled eggs ready, so the wrap was my only option.
I came home from the gym, showered, and decided to boil some eggs for the next couple of days so I would have them on hand and ready! This little step motivated me even further. I decided to cook my own breakfast since I have been waiting to get to the hospital to eat and I have just gotten too hungry on my hour-long drive!
I also packed some veggies (I love carrots and snap peas!) along with a 100 calorie pack of almonds for a healthy midday snack since I have a longer shift today!
I already have plans to meet with a friend tonight, which I am so happy about! We are checking out a vegan/gluten free cafe in Palm Springs. Should be great! But I am so glad I was able to multitask and prep my meals/snacks for the day! I already have a plan stirring up in my head for next week, which I will share in the next few days! Here are a few things that have worked for me in the past regarding meal planning and following through with healthy intentions:
*Go grocery shopping at the beginning of the week! Buy veggies, healthy and lean chicken and meats, and seasonal fruits to stock up and always have options in the house! I know that I for one feel guilty eating out when there is a whole fridge stocked with healthy food waiting for me at home!
*Cook 2-3 healthy meals on Sunday or Monday night, when energy and motivation are still high for the week! Cook in big batches, then individually store them in the fridge for quick and easy reheating and eating! I love making a chicken or meat dish with veggies, and a side of sweet potatoes (reheating sweet potatoes is basically fool-proof!)
*Don't let yourself get too hungry. This is why I made sure to pack a satiating snack of crunchy and fibrous veggies and almonds so I will stay full today and not resort to quick fixes when hunger strikes! This hunger will make you more prone to abandon your good food intentions and turn to not-so-healthy options.
*BE FLEXIBLE! Sometimes, plans don't always go the way you wanted them to. Last minute things come up, but this doesn't mean you just throw your good intentions out the window! Healthy choices can be made at any time, and any place. I always make sure to have some almonds or some kind of healthy snack on hand so, when plans do change, I have a back up healthy snack to keep me going!
So there you go! I plan on coming back to my apartment after my weekend and home and cooking a meal Monday night to last me a few days! I get such joy out of cooking and it actually energizes me, while allowing me to make healthy choices! Making it a win-win...win? Look out for some healthy recipes coming next week and a more detailed outline of my meal plan!