Food prep, diets, and what you SHOULD be eating
I’m all about food. I love breakfast, lunch, dinner and all the snacking that happens in between. Sometimes I think there is a direct correlation to the satisfaction of a meal and my happiness and many of my fondest memories are from a dinner table surrounded by the people I love most and our favorite dishes.
So why, WHY (for the love of donuts and everything that tastes good) is food always the enemy? Why must we always be dieting, cutting carbs or going vegan? Simple. We want hot bods. Is there really any other reason? We all want to be shredded with tiny tush’s, washboard abs, and leg separation. Well, I’ll tell you how having all of those things makes you feel…terrible. You’re tired, sore, hungry, and absolutely miserable ALL OF THE TIME.
Like I said, food makes me happy. It’s amazing the happiness I feel from enjoying pizza with my boyfriend on Friday nights, or going out for ice cream after a long sweaty hike, or sitting down for a huge pasta dinner on Sunday with my family. The 10 pounds that separates my body from being happy and shredded is my LIFE and I’m no longer willing to sacrifice my life for those 10 pounds. That being said, I STILL track my food, I STILL food prep on Sunday’s, and I am STILL conscious of what I am putting in my body every single day. But how do I still do all of those things that sound like dieting, that sound miserable, that sound like a lot of work and still be happy? Well, grab your favorite snack and I’ll tell you.
Food prep is all about finding what works for you. It doesn’t have to be a big Sunday night production measuring everything to the gram with a million Tupperware containers littering every inch of your kitchen and it doesn’t have to be something to dread.
For me, I get all of my grocery shopping done on the weekend. Typically a Sam’s club run on Friday for vegetables and meats and on Saturday I will go to the grocery and pick up anything smaller I will need for specific recipes (things I don’t want in bulk from Sam’s). If I’m short on time or am just trying to keep it simple for the week Sam’s club is the only place I will go. If I know my week is going to be busy I will prep everything on Sunday which will usually include two types of meats, egg muffins for breakfast, roasted veggies and sweet potatoes, oatmeal, and either a soup or casserole.
If my week is slower I will only prep one meat and roast the veggies on Sunday because I know I will have time during the week to cook my meals. It’s all about planning and time management. If you’re just starting to food prep simply prep one thing or prep for only a couple days not the whole week. My favorite/easiest thing to prep is probably egg muffins for breakfast. I simply scramble 15 eggs in a large bowl (3 eggs a day for 5 days) and add spinach, peppers, zucchini and sometimes cheese or meat (depending on what I have) salt and pepper and ladle the mixture into the muffin tins and bake at 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes. Simple and easy breakfast that you now have for the entire week! I normally pair 3 muffins with oatmeal and berries—perfect carb and protein for a morning pick-me-up!
For dinner I almost always make sure I have meat prepped for weeknights. Whether it be chicken, turkey or beef I make sure the meat can be used in just about anything to keep my taste buds happy (because no one wants to eat the same thing everyday). The same ground turkey I use for chili might be used for taco salad bowls or on top of pizzas. Food prep isn’t for everyone and that’s okay. I, personally, just find it helps me to be better prepared for the week and helps me to make good food choices to always have something healthier on hand.
The diet list is never ending and people only seem to keep adding to the list promising the “NEXT GREAT THING” and a shredded body in “JUST ONE WEEK.” Guess what, if it sounds too good to be true IT IS! You can’t get shredded in two weeks, you can’t drop 10 pounds in 5 days and you most certainly can’t get a tight tummy from drinking tea. I will not bash the structure that dieting provides though. Sometimes, when you’re just starting to make a habit change and explore good nutrition changes, diets are great. They provide rules and guidelines to an otherwise overwhelming matter. My one stipulation though, is do your research! If you want to do a diet KNOW why you want to do the diet. Don’t just jump into it because everyone else is doing it and because everyone else claims to be getting the results they desire.
Everyone’s body is different. Know what you want to get out of a diet and know that it NEVER has to be perfect. As for me, I loosely track my food during “normal life” fitting in all the foods I love dearly (ice cream, pizza, donuts) within moderation. When I know I have a competition coming up or want to really dial in my nutrition I will back off on the “fun” foods and make sure 95% of my food is coming from nutrient dense whole-foods.
This way of eating comes from an up and down relationship with food though. I was not always so easy on myself and it takes a lot of practice. There will be ups and downs, but at the end of the day it comes down to just being consistent most of the time and not letting perfect being the enemy of good. Remember, we’re working with life and life is hardly ever perfect.
WHAT YOU SHOULD BE EATING
We were all taught, probably at a young age, what to eat. Eat your fruits and veggies, finish the meal on our plate and save sweets for after you have eaten all the good stuff. When did we go end up making it so complicated? No one has to be considered “healthy” because they’re strictly beating themselves up in the kitchen and making their lives miserable. Your health is not measured by the number of visible abs you have, it’s measured by the way you feel.
You know what you should be eating; you know what you enjoy and what you don’t enjoy so don’t limit your health to the impossible constraints that the fitness industry puts on us. You DO NOT have to suffer to be healthy. With that being said, it’s hard to know where to start, sometimes it’s way easier said than done. If you are struggling with what to eat I would first recommend writing down everything you currently eat in a diary or tracking it on your smartphone. Everything that goes in your mouth (yes, that includes water and the adult beverage you consume on the weekends), write it down.
See where your current intake currently stands and then begin to make changes from there. Sometimes all it really takes is to see everything written down to really understand where the changes need to be made.