What starts out as “Stellar” nutrition at the beginning of the week, can quickly turn to “So-So” or worse...“No-No” nutrition by the end of the week.
Why? Usually because of the lack of meal planning and preparation! Many of us can easily let our often over-scheduled lives (or at this unprecedented time of current affairs, a disruption to our normal schedules) force the act of meal planning and preparation to the back-burner. We start the week with focus and determination, only to allow hectic schedules and ill preparedness to cause us to lose our conviction. Without planning, we can easily be trapped into the quick-grab, quick-prep, or even the “drive-thru” options by mid-to-late-week. In other words, processed foods win out over clean foods…and our performance, our health, our waistlines, and usually our finances pay the price.
Shop, Plan, and Prep for a Week of Healthy and Wealthy Eating
Spending an hour or so at the beginning of the week to shop for (again with the current crisis we want to make the grocery trip as efficient as possible) and prepare healthy, nutrient rich, cost effective food choices, in bulk, is critical to staying on track for the entire week.
Below are some of our favorite picks (and some preparation tips) to help you plan your beginning-of-the-week grocery store run, and get a jump start on your healthy week of eating.
Of course, these foods are just examples: you can swap out proteins, vegetables, complex carbs, fruits, and fats, based on your family’s size, calorie needs, food preferences, and dietary restrictions as well as more seasonal, budget friendly alternatives.
Shop for and prepare at the beginning of the week:
Chicken Breasts, 5 lb. economy bag – grill 4-5 pieces in advance
Eggs, 18 pack– hard boil (and dye year round, it’s fun)
Edamame, large bag of frozen and shelled - boil 1-2 cups in advance
Carrots, 3 lb. bag of whole carrots – cut into snack-size pieces
Celery, whole stock – cut into snack-size pieces
Raisins, Peanuts, Coconut shavings, Pistachio - mix together for large container of trail mix
Quinoa, economy size bag – cook 1-2 cups in advance
Rice, economy size bag - cook 1-2 cups of each in advance
In addition to the above items, consider shopping for and/or having the following nutrient rich, more cost effective, and longer shelf life foods on hand:
Frozen Cod and Salmon Filets
Greek Yogurt, plain and low fat
Spinach or Mixed Leaf Greens, bulk
Butternut or Spaghetti Squash
Frozen Vegetable Medley
Frozen Berry Medley
Lemons & Limes
Whole Wheat Flour (make your own bread and save, save, save!!!)
Sweet Potatoes (light and dark flesh varieties)
Chickpeas (Garbanzo beans), 1 lb. bag
Black beans, 1 lb. bag
Nuts, such as Macadamia, Almonds, Pecans, Walnuts
Herbs, Spices, Dressings
Vinegar, balsamic and red wine
Mustard, brown and yellow
Seasonings, such as black pepper, cajun, and rubs for chicken, steak and seafood
Salts, such as Himalayan, sea, garlic and table
Low Fat Milk
Plain Low Fat Yogurt
Plan for a “Celebration Meal” on Sunday
For many of us, Sundays provide a time when we get together for a big meal with family (well, up until these chaotic times that is). These special occasions are a wonderful part of life and should be celebrated (and we can still have these special occasions with our immediate family). But we will all feel better about enjoying that one delicious, larger-than-normal, extra-calorie-packed meal if the week leading up to it has been one of clean, healthy, and wealthy eating. Remember, not every occasion is a “special occasion”...Earn the right to indulge!
Additional Keys to Healthy eating:
We suggest keeping your breakfasts and snacks simple; these meals can easily be repeated day to day
Where possible, stick to fresh or even frozen vs. canned fruits and vegetables.
If you’re a coffee drinker, remember not to add unnecessary calories (and costs) by pouring extra creamers and sugars into your cup.
Avoid drinking sugary (or even diet) drinks as well as other carbonated (and costly) drinks – water with lemon is the perfect quencher – try it and you’ll be hooked.
When you feel hungry outside of the meal and snack times – reach for your cut up carrots and celery (there is no need to limit your vegetable servings to your palm size, go hand size or more), and have a glass of water too.
Week 10 Quiz:
1) Which of the following is not a "healthy" fat source: a) Creamy salad dressing b) Walnuts c) Olive oil d) Coconut oil
2) When estimating vegetable consumption, it's best to keep it to no more than a palm sized serving: a) True
3) Deep frying 4-5 chicken breasts at the beginning of the week to have on hand for the rest of the week is a good idea: a) False
4) Which of the following are all predominantly protein sources? a) Cod, Salmon, Shrimp, Cottage Cheese b) Tilapia, Brussel Sprouts, Tuna, Cottage Cheese c) Turkey, Tuna, Cantaloupe, Chicken d) Oatmeal, Tuna, Chicken, Turkey
Once you've taken the quiz, click here to see how you did.