This famous quotation sums up nicely my feelings about how to set yourself up for successful healthy eating. There is no worse feeling than coming home–starving–at 6 pm, to find nothing in the house for dinner. “Dinner” becomes a bowl of cereal, a handful of chips, a glass of wine…sound familiar? Planning and shopping ahead is absolutely crucial for good nutrition. There’s just no way around it!
I have an assortment of fresh food staples that are always in my house. Salad greens, carrots, broccoli, scallions, fresh herbs, super greens, quinoa salad, avocado, sauerkraut, walnuts, pecans, sunflower/pumpkin/hemp seeds, goat cheese, fresh cooked turkey, flax oil, apples, bananas, citrus, berries, coconut yogurt, coconut milk, cashew butter, eggs. (For the dairy-digesting husband, add grass-fed organic butter, yogurt, cheese, and milk to that list.) In the freezer, I keep chicken, ground turkey, Italian turkey sausage, bacon, and an assortment of frozen veggies (which are often more nutritious than fresh, as they’re frozen right after picking!). In the cabinet, there’s gluten free pasta, brown rice, oatmeal, organic free-range chicken broth, organic canned tomatoes, and organic canned beans, plus coconut and olive oils. With these things on hand, I am never stuck for a fast and healthy plate of food. I keep a blank list next to the fridge so I can jot down items as we use them up.
If you want to go the next step, you can plan and shop for your meals a few days at a time. I start by looking at the calendar and seeing how many evenings in a week we are going to be home and need to cook dinner–leftovers will do for rushed evenings out. I think about what protein I want to make, and then plan the meal around that. I pull out recipes, make a list, and head to the store, where I’ll also replenish the staples above. If you’re feeling super organized, you can even cook 3 – 4 meals on Sundays, freeze them, and plan to defrost dinner each morning.
Not only will you never end up having wine for dinner again, you’ll also benefit from knowing what’s in your meals. Even the healthiest-seeming dish at a restaurant can have hidden bad fats, is usually not organic, and may use factory-farmed meats. Being in control of your time and your ingredients will go a long way to starting you down the road to healthy eating!