Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Top Tips & Strategies for Getting it Right


QUESTION OF THE DAY: What are your top tips and strategies for eating well, even though you have a million other things to do?

GREAT question. This is where most people get hung up, but the good news is that with these strategies put into place, it runs like clock work after a few weeks! Here is my Top Ten!

  1. Plan, plan, plan. Every Saturday my husband and I take 10 minutes to sit down and plan out our meals for the week. We do this before we go shopping, so that we only buy food that we know we will use - saves money too! While planning we always take into consideration nights we have other things going on, and try to plan to only cook 3-4 times in a week, although we will eat dinner at home every night. I also try to plan out my lunches if possible - because I find with the baby at home its hard to figure out what to have, and make time to make it and eat it all within a 45 minute nap time!
  2. Avoid the grocery store. Its full of junk! Try to do most of your shopping at smaller produce shops or at the Farmer's Market. This way you don't even see all of the packaged, processed foods, so they won't make their way to your cupboard. Hit the grocery store once a month for essentials that you can't find elsewhere.
  3. Aim for the 80/20 rule. This means you don't have the be a martar. You are more likely to be successful if you don't deny yourself things you love. So aim to eat really well 80% of the time, and allow for the occasional slip ups.
  4. Double Up. I almost never cook dinner for one night. If I am going to take the time to cook, I will always make double the amount so that we have dinner another night in the week (or lunches for a few days) already made. We also do this with breakfast - make a big pot of steel cut oats on Sunday night and re-heat throughout the week. Time savers are key.
  5. Big up on Breakfast! A bowl of cereal doesn't do it. Not to mention cereal is just refined corn or wheat and no matter what the brand, or what the box claims - it is not a health food. Go for whole grains like steel cut oats or quinoa porridge, or cook up eggs whatever way you like 'em. With breakfast, aim to really fill yourself up with healthy food. It makes the rest of the day easier.
  6. Keep healthy snacks on hand. Fruit is an easy one, as is veggies and hummus, or a handful of nuts. Make sure you have these things at all times. And in a pinch, keep a Larabar in your bag/ desk. They are made with dates and nuts...that's it! So they make a good on- the-go choice.
  7. Chuck in some GREEN. Anything you can find that is green...chuck it in to your dinner. In all likelihood you will barely taste it, but it will up your vitamin and mineral intake for the day!
  8. Make soups and stews. Once a week try to make a soup or stew. They freeze well for later dinners, or can be eaten throughout the week for a quick, filling lunch.
  9. Find a good bakery. We go to Artisan bakery on Lonsdale. If you find a high quality baker you can feel good about getting quality, whole grain breads. Also, if you do want to indulge in a treat, cookies and cakes from the bakery are the way to go. These are made with real ingredients - like butter, eggs, milk etc. If you pick up a banana bread at starbucks instead, the ingredient list is at least 35 items long...so try to splurge wisely.
  10. Take it in turns. Share cooking and shopping responsibilities with your partner, roomate or even just a friend. Taking turns will make things feel like less of a burden, plus - you will be surprised with new meals a few times a week!

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