Preparation is one of the largest contributors that lead to success.
“ By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail”. –Benjamin Franklin
Eating wholesome, natural, unprocessed foods can seem like a challenge for many, and without a strategic plan, your nutrition goals are sure to crumble from the start. So today I wanted to share with you my 6 tips on how to actually set yourself up for success when trying to establish and follow a nutrition plan.
6 tips on How to Realistically Stick With Your Nutrition Goals
Tip #1 Meal Prep
If you haven’t heard me say this already a billion times, here ya go!
Meal prep, meal prep, meal prep!
I cannot tell you how many times I’ve convinced myself that I would eat healthy during the week and ended up devouring a whole pizza by myself after a long day at work or spending my entire paycheck on a salad from Whole Foods.
Meal prepping is the answer to your nutrition troubles. You can portion your meals, plan your macros, and most importantly save yourself some money in the long run! No need to break the bank when trying to eat healthy. Frozen crockpot bags, smoothie packs or bento box meals are the key to watching your portions. Plus, there are endless meal prep varieties to create. Have some fun!
If you are unsure on how to meal prep, stop by my how to guide on meal prepping. There you can read a step by step guide of actual meal preps I’ve done in the past or read about some awesome tips to help the meal prep process go smoothly!
Tip #2 Packing Snacks-Convenience is Key
Okay, so maybe you can’t bring yourself to meal prep (and no judgment here, sometimes life just gets in the way), but you still need to grocery shop.
Aim for non prepackaged items that travel well like fresh fruit or veggies. Some items don’t require any prep! I’m talking about things like bananas, snap peas, baby carrots, and apples. You can always add in packaged items like peanut butter pouches, applesauce pouches, hummus, and skim mozzarella string cheese to supplement your fresher items.
As a general goal, try to shop the perimeter of the grocery store. It’s here you’ll find the freshest nutrient packed items. If you need to purchase non refrigerated items, just be sure to read the labels carefully. These items tend to have a lot of added sugar compared to the types of foods you find in the produce section.
Tip #3 Phone reminders-Your Best Accountability Buddy
It’s not just about what you eat, its when you eat it!
Humans are a creature of habit, so why not set a daily phone reminder to keep us in check with our snacking? Set a reminder to eat a quick simple-carbohydrate snack 30 minutes to 1 hour before your workout, followed by a reminder to consume some protein after you are done.
Our body relies on carbohydrates to keep us going throughout the day, especially if you intend to get your sweat on with a high intensity workout. The optimal time to consume protein is up to 30 minutes post-workout, so grab a shake or a bite to eat to maximize the nutritional benefits.
Having a reminder set on your phone not only holds you accountable for your eating habits, it also gives you a little nudge to get yourself to the gym!
Tip#4 Doing Dishes… Even When You Don’t Want To
It sounds silly, but having clean dishes is one less excuse that might prevent you from taking the time to meal prep your food.
Clean tupperware is a must, and without it you might feel deterred from setting aside a few hours to get your prepping out of the way. Taking the extra 5 minutes out of your day to throw the dishes into the dishwasher will get you that much closer to your nutrition goals.
I’ve tried a handful of prep containers, but so far these boxes from Amazon have stood the test of time through my dishwasher, freezer, microwave and backpack. Give em’ a try or let me know if you’ve found another holy grail product!
Tip#5: Make Your Food Look Appetizing
Have you ever been told to “eat the rainbow” ?
(no, the Skittles commercials don’t count)
In most circumstances, this quote is referring to eating a variety of colorful foods to ensure that you are reaching your micronutrient needs….but it also refers to making your food look visually appealing so you are more inclined to eat it.
If you need some inspiration, check out Pinterest! Every time I am about to leave for the grocery store, I search for pins with colorful food so I have an example to copy from. My rule of thumb is if it doesn’t look pretty, you aren’t going to eat it, so choose something healthy that you will realistically eat.
Plus, it can be really fun to make your food look like it came from a 3 star Michelin restaurant! Dress it up and get creative!
Tip #6: Realizing That Time is Not a Factor, But Your Choices Are
At this point, I know you must be thinking “I don’t have time for all this”. How can I possibly find the time to make these changes? Luckily, I’m here to tell you that prepping your food normally doesn’t require any additional time beyond the time you already spend making food. You still need to eat, so why feel stressed about making healthy choices when it really doesn’t cost any more time than usual?
For instance, let’s say you meal prep on Sundays. It may take a few hours, but if you invest the time now you are saving yourself all that time later in the week, not to mention you will cut down on time deciding what to eat.
Same goes with making a “convenience” meal.
Let’s use Hamburger Helper and a low carb stir fry as an example
In the Hamburger Helper, most of the ingredients are in powder form or have been dehydrated and conveniently packaged in a cardboard box. In the low carb stir fry, you can add a variety of fresh or frozen veggies and sauté in a sauce of your choosing (assuming you are making the sauce from scratch and it is not prepackaged…even then, it takes less than 2 minutes to whip up a sauce).
The time you spend cooking the Stovetop Hamburger Helper will likely equate to the same amount of time that you would spend cooking veggies for the low carb stir fry.
In the end, it all comes down to the QUALITY of the ingredients you put into your body and not the amount of time it took to make the food.
Knowing this can drastically improve your decisions and help you feel good about yourself every time you eat. It takes baby steps to make a change in the right direction. Do your best, forget the rest.
Try some of these tips and let me know how it works for you.
Feel free to comment below on your favorite tips or include some of your own!