Most of us have a desire to eat healthier and we have some knowledge about healthy foods. Unfortunately, information and intentions don’t get the healthy meals on the table. If they did, we’d all be eating clean and healthy every day.
What trips us up the most around healthy eating, and sabotages our good intentions, isn’t our lack of desire; it’s our lack of organization and planning.
And you know what happens with anything in life when you haven’t planned or organized. You end up flying by the seat of your pants. You’re rushed. You make poor decisions. You go for the quick and easy.
We all know what quick and easy means: drive-throughs, takeout, microwaved meals and convenience foods that are processed, refined and lack any real nutritional value.
I know in my own life there are weeks when I don’t think ahead, don’t have recipes in mind, or don’t have healthy ingredients on hand. When I try to ‘wing it’ and go with what I feel like eating in the moment, when I’m starving, it usually isn’t very healthy.
I also hear weekly from clients how much planning pays off. The ones who prepared and planned for the week were much more successful at reaching their health and wellness goals and sticking to their commitments than the ones who didn’t plan.
I hear it time and time again that the healthy soups they had frozen in the freezer or the leftovers really saved them when things got busy.
Now I will confess. I’m planner at heart. I love planning. It’s one of my innate tendencies and preferences that I’ve nurtured and developed throughout my life. So getting organized comes naturally to me. Where I fall down is on implementation. I’ve learned we need both these pieces to come together for us to be successful in whatever we set out to do.
When it comes to healthy eating, preparation is the key to success.
How much easier and smoother would your week go if you had healthy food prepared, if your cupboards were stocked with the ingredients for your top three favourite healthy meals, or if veggies were already cut up in your fridge? What if you had batches of soup and guacamole made? What if there were lean proteins pre-cooked for salads and stir fry meals?
Think about how much more energy you’d have. How much easier decision making would be. How much more in control and confident you’d feel. How much more well-nourished you and your family would be.
The reality is that we plan for many important events in our lives — trips, retirement, holiday celebrations, weddings, birthdays and all the other milestones along life’s path. But isn’t your health and wellness journey one worth planning for as well?
Learning to cook, meal plan and organize around food is definitely an investment of your time and energy as you get started. I promise it does get easier and more habitual over time. But the payoffs, the outcomes and results are so worth it. You’ll free up a lot of time, energy and brainpower that’s now wasted in worry, overwhelm and indecision.
You might even find time for that neglected hobby, spend more quality time with the family, get to a yoga class and even save some money. And you’ll be nourishing your body with the nutrients it needs to thrive and be healthy for years to come.
Sounds like a pretty good trade-off, doesn’t it?
Now, over to you. What’s one small step you can commit to over the next week around healthy meal planning and food prep? Tell us in the comments.
If you need help getting started with healthy meal planning and organizing, drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can book a consultation to develop your healthy eating action plan.
This post first appeared here in the Halifax Citizen on Dec 2, 2016.