So March is Nutrition month and I’ve always thought of it as a way the food companies and their nutrition sponsors would get together to promote some some food stuff that was considered healthy – low fat yogurt, high fibre crackers or some new high protein cereal. I know this sounds a bit jaded. After being in the nutrition business for 18 years I have to admit to being a more than a little disappointed in the food industry. As much as I want to get on my soapbox, this article is for you and I wanted to provide you with something a little different – something that will actually help you!
This year I wanted to help you get back to basics and provide you with something practical this month. Giving you information on healthy hormone eating is great but not if you don’t know how to apply it. Achieving a healthy weight and eating to support hormone balance takes a slow and steady approach that requires setting some doable life-style goals. We know that quick fix diets don’t work, however up to 50 percent of women are on a diet at any given time, according to Judy Mahle Lutter in her book “The Bodywise Woman.” It’s a type of insanity…doing the same thing over and expecting different results.
Focusing on calorie counting while writing everything you eat in a journal usually loses it’s appeal super quick and doesn’t last. When this is your main focus eating becomes boring because your focus is strictly on calories not on preparing easy yummy foods or habits that stick. I’m not saying that calories don’t count but the focus needs to be on behaviour that makes your life easier AND keeps you happy. Lets face it, the thought of dieting conjures up images of restrictive boring, tasteless meals. In fact, it’s damn near depressing. Sure, you can white knuckle it for a while and drop 5-10 lbs., but for how long? Usually you end up losing weight, getting really sick of eating chicken and leaves for lunch and fall off that wagon by day 10. At menopause it’s even worse. Yoyo dieting just shuts off your metabolism and sugar cravings become severe IF you don’t know how to shut them off. So what do you do?
I’m going to share with you some basics in food preparation. This is important for you newbies who somehow didn’t get the “love cooking” gene or just have a lacklustre relationship with food.
Weekend Food Prep – The Best Way
I feel like I have this hidden secret of eating healthy. We’re all busy and I think the best way to start eating healthy is weekend food prep. If you’re anything like me and you don’t like to cook this can seem like a daunting task but it doesn’t have to be. So here are some helpful weekend prep tips.
When starting out don’t try to make ahead your entire week of food. You want to start slow. The first time you want to prep one or two recipes ahead of time until you get comfortable with the process then you can make more.
Keep it Simple
Don’t try new or complicated recipes when learning to prepare food ahead of time. When you’re starting out with food prep it is best to stick with what you already know. This way you’re less likely to become frustrated and your focus is simply prepping food ahead of time. As you gain confidence you can add more recipes and meals. This is where I started with food prep. I took some recipes that I knew how to make like cabbage slaw or a couple of mason jar recipes. I was able to focus on what worked and what didn’t – ie don’t shop and cook for 8 freezer meals in the same day OR don’t prep the same Mason Jar Recipe two weeks in a row (yawn). Most importantly it allowed me to experience the benefits of having food ready for me. I know that the two recipes I chose were really easy but I found having these meals prepared ahead of time very beneficial.
The Biggest Bang for Your Buck
Choose recipes if made ahead of time would make the biggest difference in your week. This is really important if you are short on time or you don’t have the energy to prepare a lot of food. Prioritize your meals. What recipe if made ahead of time is going to make your week easier. If you’re rushing around every morning then maybe you want to focus on preparing breakfast in advance – breakfast burrito’s (see below), overnight oats or egg muffins. If dinnertime brings you the most stress then start with a couple of slow cooker freezer meals. If you find yourself always eating something sugary at 3 p.m. then maybe you need to pack some grab and go snack bags. I use little baggies and pack almonds, carrots or even breaded chicken strips from the night before. I try to go high protein for snacks.
A Little Bit of Food Prep is Better than No Food Prep
It’s not necessary to cook all your food in advance. Food preparation can be anything like cutting your vegetables in advance. You can be better prepared by washing and portioning your fruits and vegetables ahead of time. The goal here is make it easier for yourself during the week. You can portion out nuts, crackers or other food items for snacks or cutting up chicken or beef to be ready for the recipe, whatever is going to work for you.
Any type of food prep is better than no food prep at all. If I’m really strapped for time I will make mason jar salads, hard boiled eggs, put together smoothy bags (berries, protein powder, kale and banana). Another cool tip would be to prepare some shredded chicken in advance for quick lunches. Whatever works for you is okay as long as you start somewhere. Getting into the habit of preparing food 1-2 hours on the weekend is a far better goal then counting calories.
When it comes to lifestyle change you can start slow but you must start somewhere. As Nike says, “Just Do it”.
Make Ahead – Cabbage Slaw
Source – Unknown – Friend Ciara C.
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 1/2 pounds cabbage
- 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce or Teriyaki sauce
- 2 tablespoons Frank’s hot sauce (optional)
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper, crushed (optional)
season with salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder.
Add garlic, sesame oil, and cabbage to pan.
Cook until cabbage begins to brown.
Return ground beef to pan, and heat for two minutes.
Make Ahead Bacon and Cheddar Breakfast Burritos
Serves: 15 Source – Organize Yourself Skinny
• 18 large eggs
• 1 cup salsa
• ½ cup plain greek yogurt
• 1 teaspoon onion powder
• 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
• ½ teaspoon salt
• ½ teaspoon pepper
• 10 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
• cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
• flour tortillas
Whisk together eggs until blended.
Stir in salsa, greek yogurt, onion powder, granulated garlic, salt, and pepper.
Pour egg mixture into a large deep skillet and cook over low to medium heat stirring consistently.
Once the eggs are set stir in the cheese and bacon.
Let the burrito filling cool slightly and then assemble the burritos.Scoop cup of the filling onto the tortilla, fold in sides, and then roll up. Wrap the burrito in plastic wrap or foil.
Refrigerate for up to 5 days or freeze up to 3 months.
Warm up in the oven (350 degrees for 20 minutes or until hot) or the microwave ( remove the foil if using) 2-3 minutes on high.
Place a cup of water in the microwave to keep the tortilla from drying out.
Make Ahead – Slow Cooker Veggie Stew
Adapted from Super Healthy Kids
• 1 medium onion
• 1 medium carrot
• 1 stalk celery
• 1 medium sweet potato
• 1 medium russet potato
• 4 cup, chopped kale
• 4 clove garlic
• 1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
• 1 can diced tomatoes, canned
• 2 cup pumpkin, canned
• 4 cup chicken broth, low-sodium
• 4 breast chicken breast
• 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
• 1/8 teaspoon black pepper, ground
Everything into the slow cooker on low for 8 hours.
If you are struggling with stubborn weight gain, hormone symptoms like early waking, night sweats or just feel lost when it comes to your health I’d love to help. My next group Body Beautiful Program starts in April. If you’d like to speak to me directly I offer all women a FREE discovery session. I’m starting to interview for my next online group. You might be one of the lucky ladies to feel better than you have in years or maybe ever. During this session we can chat about your health and ways to get you back to feeling more zest for life, energy for play or confident in your ability to feel better. Click here to book your FREE online discovery session.