I find that much of the cheating people do while on a diet is often caused by a lack of readily available food. Setting yourself up for success requires a routine that will bypass this potential setback. Your goal should be to reduce the time and effort it takes to follow a healthy diet that will promote weight loss. Planning and preparing ahead of time is essential to accomplish this.
Once a week have a shopping and chopping day!
1. Put a couple of hours aside one day per week.Buy enough groceries for a week of recipes. You will need to prepare for 21 meals, or three meals a day. Chop all your vegetables and meats at once, and divide into enough portion sizes for your recipes. To avoid the spoilage of chicken and meat that potentially will go bad in the fridge, store in the freezer, or pre-cook until almost done. Brown any beef, grill chicken breasts, and store meats and marinade in a sealed container in the refrigerator. Soups and stews can be easily cooked or ingredients can be combined and ready for later slow cooking.
2. After you've chopped and divided up all your ingredients and meals, use portion sized containers for the finished product.Glass is preferable to avoid toxins that can be released by some plastic. It also may be helpful to purchase containers that are pre-divided for easy frozen lunches to take to school or work. Plastic bags are great for chopped vegetables and meats needed for dinners.
3. Account for your weekly snacks as well.Include healthy fats by adding one to three servings of nuts or natural nut butter a day. Pre-packaged chopped fresh veggies and healthy snacks like fresh fruit, seeds, and raw almonds. Trail mix is an excellent snack to make ahead and portion out for snacks throughout the week. Try to make enough to eat every 3-4 hours to keep blood sugar regulated and avoid cravings.
4. Each morning refer to your daily meal plan and consider what you need to prepare.Take out a meat or soup from the freezer to thaw or slow cook throughout the day. Leave frozen items in the fridge to thaw overnight, or in the sink in the a.m. and by dinner time it will be thawed. Either throw it in a pan or the oven to re-heat it. A toaster oven is also a convenient option without having to use the stove. Throw prepared frozen soups or meats in the slow cooker. Cook on low for 8-10 hours. This is a good way to cut down on prep time after a long day.
At the end of your meals, package and freeze any leftovers. Be sure to make use of the Beyond Diet community to find new and easy recipes to add to your meal planning. Hopefully following these guidelines weekly will help cut out any unhealthy snacking or last-minute dinner decisions that may interfere with your weight loss goals.