During the week, there are tons of things to do. There are distractions absolutely everywhere we turn. There are slices of cake at work potlucks that call our names. There are goodies that are left on our desks by well-meaning and sweet coworkers. There are 40+ fast food options on the way home from work or on the way to the baseball field to see the kids play. There are scones, muffins, bagels, and cookies at every coffee shop we visit. There are numerous restaurants that will deliver RIGHT TO YOUR DOOR!
We might be able to say “no thanks” the first 12 times… but as the peer pressure builds, as time runs out before the “big meeting”, as our tummies start to growl as we pass the vending machines – – – –  that “no” starts to become a resounding “yes”. “I’m hungry” we say to ourselves, and this is the “best option”. I’ll eat better later. But later is just as busy and just as difficult. In goes the chips, the candy bar, the donut, or the cake.
On the flip side of this – I’m wondering if anyone else has ever had this moment? Even if you have consumed wholesome foods on a given day … you allow yourself to become hungry by missing your regular meal time (read: meetings, kids, a long commute, unforeseen circumstance get in the way) … then when you try to make a wholesome healthy decision, possibly surrounded by beautiful wholesome foods, you have no idea what to pick. Nothing sounds good, but simultaneously; everything sounds good. You could be standing in the middle of Whole Foods afraid that you’ll starve to death like that guy (spoiler alert) in “Into The Wild”. So, in our panic, we pick the quickest option.. which isn’t much different from in the previous example with the vending machine. It’s a vicious cycle.
I’m not big on giving tons of nutrition info out; but I am very clear about the importance of living a lifestyle and using a system for nutrition that you can utilize for the rest of your life. I don’t believe in fads, diets, meal replacement systems, food delivery, etc. These don’t help you establish any good habits… other than restriction and/or forking over a ton of money to someone else. Once you decide to end the diet/service, old habits creep in again. Through personal experience, I have found that food preparation is one of the very best ways to be sure I am personally getting wholesome, healthful, well-rounded nutrition. Although you may not continue to prep food in advance for the rest of your life; it is likely that the type of food you create will become a staple in your daily nutrition and that this process will enable you grow accustomed to eating these foods.
**** Everyone has individual needs when it comes to nutrition. Please be sure to check with your doctor, dietician, or nutrition coach when planning your own nutrition plan. The information herein is a suggestion for planning ahead for meals, and not to be used as a strict guideline or suggestion of your nutritional intake – everyone’s calorie requirements, protein, carb, sugar, water, and other nutritional elements vary from person to person. Consider contacting Brook at http://www.healingyourwholeself.com/****

Why food prep?
Food prep takes the guess-work out. When you are starving at work, on a commute, in the office, at the soccer game – that vendingmachine/hotdogstand/nachos/donuts looks AWESOME. But when we eat them, they don’t do much for our bodies. We might even feel hungry again just an hour or so later. Food prep allows you to plan for these times in advance. It’s like being psychic! Want to know if food prep is right for you? For a week, keep track of your nutrition… and note how many times you made an “on the fly” decision about your food. Be sure to include all those little things that accumulate throughout the day, all the times you are hungry but don’t have a snack, etc. If you have any of these instances; food prep might be right for you.

What does food prep mean?
Food prep means: preparing your meals ahead of time. It means preparing yourself for those times when you are hungry, but might not make nutritious, healthy choices – and times when none are physically available. Choose some time, maybe on a Sunday afternoon, to plan and prepare all of your foods for the week ahead.

How does it work?
First, it means a visit to your local farmer’s market or grocery store. I’ve found that a trip to Trader Joe’s and the farmer’s market provides all we need and helps us keep our costs low. There are TONS of other options. Here’s how I plan what food will be in our prep:

In our household, this means making a beautiful quiche to be divided into each day’s breakfast. We also freeze unpeeled bananas and strawberries for use in smoothies for snacks. We clean, peel, and cut veggies that we can use later. They keep pretty well if you put them in a bowl of water in the fridge; especially celery and carrots. We cook up some lean proteins on the grill; salmon, turkey patties, chicken sausage, boneless skinless chicken breasts. After each food group is prepped, we start to play! We’ll have 2 or 3 pans on the stove and we’ll make what sounds good; combining foods in pans, seasoning, sauces, blackening, etc.

Chicken sausage, quinoa, bruschetta mix (trader joe’s), cut tomatoes, kalamata olives, and spinach.
Kale, turkey patty, squash, grilled zucchini, corn salsa.
Black beans, quinoa, tofu or chicken, peach salsa, avocado, tomatoes.

Wondering what kinds of foods to use during prep?
I suggest picking options that sound good to you, things that you like. If you usually like salty foods, choose some olives, something with vinegar, etc. If you enjoy sweet foods, integrate sweet potatoes, peach salsa, or a small portion of ricotta into your meal. Enjoyment of your food is important.

What does it all mean?
What I hope this all means for you is that you never have to eat something just for the sake of getting rid of a headache or aching belly. It means giving your body satisfying foods that will help you have energy to do all the great things you do every day. Your day might end up looking something like mine… or it might be very unique to you and your habits for healthful living.

My nutrition:
Breakfast: crustless quiche or frittata: made with eggs whites, spinach, red peppers, broccoli, a pinch of cheese, saltless seasoning, pepper
Snack: A protein smoothie made with; half a frozen banana, 5 frozen strawberries, 1/2 cup almond milk, chocolate protein powder. Carrots and hummus. 🙂
Lunch: Turkey patty, quinoa, salsa, spinach, kale, tomatoes – all in a convenient container.
Snack: A large navel orange and some almonds (packaged into a serving size)
Dinner: Salmon with squash, zucchini, peach salsa.
Enjoy! Eat well, Move well, Live well! Find what works for you and stick to it! 🙂