Healthy Eating CAN be Easy – Week Four

Week Four Recording HERE.

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I hope you feel like you’ve learned a lot these last few weeks – and the great thing is that you’ll have access to these lessons forever!  Plus, next time I run this course, you can automatically join us for FREE!

This last week we’re going to discuss how to handle eating healthy while enjoying REAL LIFE!  It’s easy to eat well if things are going smoothly, you are at home, not super stressed and have plenty of free time, right?  But what about when things aren’t perfect?  Or something changes and messes up your schedule?  Good or bad?  You can STILL eat well during those times, you just need a plan!

So let’s get to it – here are solutions for the most common “problem” times:

Going to a restaurant

I find it funny but my kids really don’t like to go out to eat.  They would honestly rather eat at home – even on vacation.  The only thing I can figure out is that they don’t want to spend the time – they have better things to do.  For me, going to a restaurant is a treat – I don’t have to clean (don’t mind the cooking, but I hate the cleaning!), I can relax and let someone else wait on me, and I can get food I wouldn’t make at home.   As I’ve started to eat better, I have noticed that I have to be careful about where I eat and what I order.  Otherwise I end up feeling terrible afterwards – and that kinda ruins the fun of it all, right?  So if I have a choice, my favorite restaurants are sushi, Mexican, farm to table or a “fancier” restaurant.  And when we do go out, here are a few little tricks:

  1. Think about what you want to eat and THEN look at the menu (or don’t look at the menu at all, just tell the waiter).  For example, if I’m at a steakhouse or seafood restaurant, I may decide I’d like a small steak or piece of fresh fish, fresh veggies and a cup of soup.  That’s easy to order even without reading the menu.  Plus, haven’t you noticed that often the menu descriptions sound way better than the actual dish?
  2. If I’m not super hungry, I’ll order an appetizer (not something fried), bowl of soup and a glass of wine.  Delicious, and much less food.  Or, I’ve been known to order a side of sautéed spinach and enjoy that with some bread and maybe even a bite or two of dessert.
  3. Go for quality.  You’ll be satisfied with less and eat healthier too.
  4. Check out the menu ahead of time and pick your top two choices – that way you won’t be swayed by something at the last-minute or feel rushed into making a bad decision.
  5. Pick the restaurant.  Have you ever noticed how no one ever wants to make a decision?  Well, why don’t YOU make the decision – that way you can control where you eat.
  6. Keep this in mind for how your plate should appear.  On the plate, try to keep 25% of it meat and the other 75% fruit and veggies.
  7. Ask to substitute.  I always ask if I can substitute veggies or fruit for fries or another side dish I don’t want.  Most of the time it’s not an issue.

Assignment #1

Remember way back in the Jump Start when I recommended you get a menu from your favorite restaurant?  Well, now you’re going to use it.  Take a look and pick one or two healthier dishes.  Next time you go to that restaurant you’ll be ready!

Traveling

We travel a lot, so I know how hard this can be.  Here is how I handle it:

  1. I do the best I can.  Do we eat perfectly on vacation?  Nope.  Do we eat pretty well?  Yes!
  2. Try to only eat one meal out a day (or less).  Book a condo, pack a cooler, pick up sandwiches at the grocery or fruit and oatmeal for an easy breakfast.  Just try not to eat every meal at a restaurant.
  3. Make sure you eat something green every day – preferably twice a day, but at LEAST once.  If we are in a condo, I’ll pack my blender and make myself a green smoothie to start the day – that way I’m getting plenty of veggies in and can relax a little and not worry about what the day brings.
  4. Check out my other tips in this post:  How to Find Good, Healthy Food While Traveling

I HATE to cook

So maybe your issue isn’t that you don’t want to eat well, it’s that you hate to cook.  I actually love to cook, but there are times I’m so busy with work and life that cooking regularly isn’t realistic.  Yet I don’t want to get stuck eating carry out or unhealthy frozen foods on a regular basis.  So, I need easy options that don’t involve much preparation time.

  1. Here is where the menu planning is your best friend.  Create your menu plan using some of the techniques in this section alongside some easy 20 minute meals.  If you’ve done a good job with your menu plan, you’ll have the ingredients on hand and a plan in place.  All you’ll have to do each night is assemble or spend twenty minutes creating a quick, healthy meal.
  2. Assemble, don’t cook.  Once a week prep a bunch of veggies, cook a few pieces of meat, and a big batch of brown rice or quinoa.  Then, when you don’t have the time (or desire) to cook, just throw together a combination of the above ingredients.  You can also make a quick salad – just put your pre-cut veggies and meat in a bowl of lettuce, add something for crunch (sesame seeds, slivered almonds, garbanzo beans), a simple vinaigrette (extra virgin olive oil, vinegar or lemon or orange juice, sea salt and cracked pepper as the base) and voila, dinner is served!  Almost every week I either roast a chicken or do a beef roast, and we eat that for dinner the first night and then I use the rest of the meat later in the week for quick assembly dinners.
  3. Make a big pot of soup or a casserole early in the week and eat it for lunch a few days or dinner a few days later.
  4. Anytime you DO cook something, double it and freeze the other half for a meal next week.  Do this a few times a week and you’ll cut your cooking time down considerably.  Here are a few easy recipes to freeze (but really most recipes can be frozen):  Crock Pot Beef Stew, Roast Beef, Posole, Herb roasted pork loin

Assignment #2

Take out your journal and cookbooks and prepare a menu plan perfect for a really busy week – using the tips from the sections above.  You might not need this plan right away, but next time you have a super busy week ahead of you, just pull this out and you’ll be ready to go!

Snacks

Ugh.  Snacks, right?  A few years ago I read the eye-opening book French Kids Eat Everything, and found that I agreed with the author that here in the US we really push snacks on our kids.  I mean, think about it, especially when they were little, would you go anywhere without a packed snack bag?  Now I know that our kids have come to expect snacks, but that doesn’t mean they have to be junky or processed.  Here is how I like to handle snacks for my family.

  1. Try to limit how often they snack.  I do serve a snack after school, but most of the time I try to make it pretty healthy (almost a little meal).  This does buy me some time before dinner needs to be served.
  2. Once a week make a batch of cookies, muffins, granola bars or a quick bread and let that be your main snack for the week.  Alternate this home-baked good with fruit, veggies and dip and cheese and crackers.  If you eat appropriate portions one batch should do it for the week.
  3. Popcorn – easy, healthy and delicious.  Check out my version HERE.
  4. Teach your kids the distinction between treats and snacks.  Snacks should be healthy, treats are a once in a while splurge – a piece of chocolate, a cookie, ice cream, etc.
  5. In the summer, make homemade popsicles or smoothies.

Assignment #3

Take a page in your journal and make a list of as many healthy snacks as you can think of.  Try to use this list as your go-to for the next few weeks and see if you can wean your family off the unhealthy snacking cycle!

I’ve really enjoyed the time we’ve spent together and my biggest wish is that you’ll take this advice to heart, do the homework and really make a big effort to eat healthier!

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