As I continue this journey back to life, I realize that eating healthy is easier said than done. Healthy choices are a little more time consuming and way more expensive than my new stress-free and healthy lifestyle could handle. I just can’t find the time to cook 3 meals a day. I also don’t want to continue to spend a fortune on lunch while I’m at work. I started using Sundays as a “Prep Day” and spend a couple of hours preparing and jarring my breakfast and lunch for the work week. I also prep as much of my dinners as I can. This helps me save time, money, and stick to my healthy diet routine.
Here are my basic diet goals:
- I want to maintain a healthy water intake. It’s recommended that we all drink about 2 liters of water a day. Water flushes toxins from your vital organs and carries nutrients to your cells. Lack of water can cause dehydration which drains your energy.
- I want to get in my oatmeal and other heart healthy foods every day. Oatmeal is full of soluble fiber, which lowers bad cholesterol levels. This is good for my arteries and my heart.
- I want to avoid any processed foods. In general, processed foods are high in sodium. Also, they are stripped of any natural nutrients during the processing. The most processed foods are white foods. Not naturally white foods like potatoes, but foods that are bleached like white bread and white rice. I also stay away from too much soy and “vegetarian” meats.
- I want to have a well-balanced diet. I have eliminated red meat and poultry out of my diet. This means I have to make sure to get my protein from other foods like beans and nuts. I want to make sure my fruit and vegetable intake is varied so that I get all the different vitamins and minerals I need.
Here’s how I prep:
- I create a weekly menu and shopping list. I find that I save at least an hour a day and tons of stress by not worrying about what I am going to cook and eat. Once I create my menu, I know what ingredients I need to shop for and how much of each item I will need. This helps me buy fresh foods in the right amount so there is no wasted produce.
- Mason Jars are my best friends. Mason jars are great for prepping. They seal tightly and keep even my lettuce fresh for a week at a time. They are reusable and cost effective. Although, since the pictures above I have started using the plastic jar covers instead of the metal lids (unless I’m canning) because they are more convenient. They also hold up to the constant washing better and the metal cans can start to rust after a while. The best part about mason jars is they just make everything look so pretty!
- I get breakfast and lunch for the work week out of the way. I make a quick and easy “summer porridge” (otherwise known as refrigerator oatmeal) with my favorite fruits for breakfast. You can make a different variety for every day if you like. Then I make “Quinoa Salad in a Jar” for my lunch. As you can see above, I have a variety of healthy salads. I also make a few jars of fruit infused water to keep on hand. Shout out to my favorite blogger Monica from The Yummy Life for the great recipes. When I am rushing out the door to work I just grab and go. During the cooler months, I make stews and cooked oatmeal.
- I get a head start on my dinners. I check my dinner menu and prepare everything I can ahead of time. A great time saver is those ingredients you know you use regularly like garlic and onions. Also, any ingredient like rice or pasta that I am eating on more than one day, I make all of it and separate it into two containers and store them the refrigerator.
One day of prep makes more time for life.