“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” –Alexander Graham Bell
The key to sticking to a healthy eating plan is planning and preparing your meals in advance. When you’re restricting calories, fat, and sugar, not only might you get cravings, but you will likely be more hungry than usual. I find it extremely difficult to stick to the diet if you wait until these hunger pangs and urges kick in to figure out what you’re going to eat. It should be ready, and easily accessible.
If you aren’t used to cooking on a regular basis, it may feel overwhelming to try to plan, prepare, and store your meals. Fortunately, I consulted with Marlena Attinasi, a southern California based personal chef to a slew of celebrities and professional athletes, for a few tips to piggy-back on my last piece on “Healthy eating on a Budget.”
Here are a few suggestions to get you started on the right track:
- Purchase clear, individual serving size, freezer safe containers and Ziploc freezer bags for dividing meals after cooking. They should be microwaveable and reusable. These can be bought in bulk to save money at a restaurant supply house such as Chef’s Mart. Sam’s Club and Costco should also sell them at a discounted price. Tip: Oven roast a couple of whole chickens in jerk seasoning or smoked paprika, cut and divide, portioning meals in containers or for future use in the freezer bags. Cook a pot of Cuban black beans and store in small containers. Beans are super cheap, freeze well, and usually taste better the next day!
- Make your proteins on one day, and veggies the next day. Focusing on one food group at a time will allow you to be more efficient, and save time. If you want a great variety of tasty foods, it is unrealistic to try to do it all in one day. One of the reasons that weight-loss diets fail, is that they lack variety and flavor. Give yourself enough time to make it taste good and get it right.
- For a simple approach to portion-control, skewer your meat after weighing 4-8 oz portions. This way, you can easily grab a skewer with the confidence of knowing it’s just the right amount. You can also use various marinades to season the meat in different batches, but then grill it all at once for convenience. Divvy them up and get ready for an amazingly healthy week ahead!
The complete recipe for the skewers and many others like it can be found in A Mixed Girl’s Favorite Recipes by Gloria Govan and Marlena Attinasi, which is currently available at all retail outlets.
Wishing you health and happiness,
Holly Lowe Jones is a media professional, certified fitness and nutrition expert, and personal trainer (ISSA). A member of the National Association for Health and Fitness, Jones is also a seasoned triathlete who competes in her spare time.
For more information, please visit her website www.hollylowejones.com.
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