Meal Planning, Meal Planning, Meal Planning!

I cannot say that enough.  We are all busy.  Best intentions can often fall short without proper planning – and this certainly holds true for me!   Think about it this way – it’s only 21 meals a week.  I make a big batch of something for breakfast all week (usually oatmeal and muffins or pancakes), so that brings me to 14 meals.  I also make enough for dinner to cover lunch the next day, so I am really only planning about 8 meals a week!  And truthfully I don’t plan meals on Saturday, so I am only actually planning 5 meals.  (I leave Saturday’s open to clear out any remaining left overs, or to try new recipes).  Try our Meal Planning Template.

Commit to Making ONE Change a week.

This isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon!  We are going for long lasting changes.  Start today and read ingredient labels.  Next week, plan your meals.

Cook more, eat out less.

 This allows you to control the ingredients and the amount of sodium in your meals.

Read Ingredient labels

Remember ingredients are listed in order of volume, highest to lowest.  Avoid hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup and any ingredient that looks like it was created in a lab.  Ingredients have to be listed in their “most common” name, for example, tomato is listed rather than Solanum lycopersicum.  This will help you spot questionable ingredients.

Avoid GMO’s

Buy organic when possible.  High risk GMO crops include soy, canola and corn, so be mindful of products with those ingredients.  Get to know the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 published by the Environmental Working Group, www.ewg.org

Buy Organic Dairy

The organic seal ensures that the cows have not been treated with growth hormones or antibiotics and have not been fed GMO corn or soy.

Buy Better Meat

If you eat meat, make sure it’s high quality.  This means grass-fed beef, pastured raised pork, free range chicken and eggs and wild caught seafood.  Take it one step further and look for the humanely raised seal on animal products.

Make Monday’s Meatless

One easy way to decrease your meat consumption is to join the Meatless Monday movement.  It’s easier than it sounds!  Breakfast could be oatmeal or an egg burrito.  For lunch, how about a salad with avocado and northern beans  Tacos and pasta are easy dishes to keep meatless, give it a try!

Buy Butter Junk Food

Look for products without unnecessary ingredients.  Switch from cheddar crackers to organic cheddar crackers.  Make your own trail mix.  Buy tortilla chips with the organic seal or the Non GMO Project verification seal.

RELAX!

There is a lot of noise out there about “Healthy Eating”.  So many diets – should you go paleo?  What about gluten free?  Should I be vegan?  My advice is to take it one step at a time.  Do what feels right for you.  Ease in.  As you begin to eat healthier you’ll start to see what is working for you and your family.  Pat yourself on the back every day – you deserve it.  Making changes aren’t easy, but I promise this is worth it.