Four hours of preplanned food preparation per week can change your life. Okay, so this sounds a little too good or may not even make sense, right? Maybe, but doing a few hours a week to plan, cook and prepare a healthy set of meals can and will be healthier for you than eating poor nutrition choices on the fly.
Busy lives, easy to grab processed foods or processed frozen health foods are not that great nor good for your health. The foods you consume need to be fresh with a high percentage of the food you consume being raw. Whole, fresh raw healthy foods have the highest concentration of nutrients, enzymes, and full fiber.
Here’s where all the new sealable fancy plastic containers become your next best friend. People have been using reusable sealable plastic containers for a very long time to store leftovers. Often leftovers don’t make it back into the mix and get tossed out anyway. By planning your weekly nutrition program ahead of time, life can become simplified and eating healthy becomes a no-brainer.
Keep in mind for single people all the way up to large families, pre-planned fresh food preparation is very scalable. All you need is either more containers or bigger containers. Prepare your food position to nourish and satisfy, but not to over-consume. With preplanning, you can control calorie and macronutrient balance. Just a reminder that your macronutrients are carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. I would lean away from too many carbs and lean more toward high proteins and good fats.
The options are endless with recipes and blends of whole fresh cooked and raw foods that can be pulled together to make preplanned healthy container meals.
Here is a series of food choices that you can use as a template to mix and match creating amazing ultra-healthy meals for an active, healthy lifestyle.
Start with these vegetables. This group is a great foundation and adds different choices and you improve your preprepped meals.
They include arugula, asparagus, avocado, beets, bell peppers, baby spinach, bok choy, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cucumbers, green beans, jicama, kale, mushrooms, olives, peppers, peas, radish, swiss chard, tomatoes
This next group falls into your daily starches. Keep in mind that overdoing these options can overload your carbohydrate intake.
Foods in this group include potatoes, sweet potatoes, black rice, wild rice, and yams.
Perhaps you lean toward being a fruitarian or lean toward sweeter foods? Fruits make a simple go-to choice, especially berries which are low on the glycemic index. A container of mixed fruits can carry you through a busy day and may be one of the easiest preplanned and prepared choices you can do.
Some of these foods are bananas, blackberries, blueberries, cantaloupe, cherries, cranberries, dates, figs, pineapple, raspberries, and strawberries.
Go nuts or at least add nuts and seeds to your salads, fruit bowls, and even cooked dishes. Fresh whole nuts and seeds can add protein, fiber and a great source of healthy fats to your diet. They are filling and stay with you to keep your hunger in check.
Some of these foods are almonds, cacao (technically a bean), macadamia, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds sunflower seeds, and walnuts.
For your meat protein group and assuming you are not vegan or vegetarian, these choices are pretty standard.
These choices include lean beef or buffalo, chicken, pork, salmon, turkey, and tuna.
Another great source of protein and nutrients would be hard boiled or scrambled eggs. Eggs in moderation and mixed with vegetable or grain free quiche recipes are perfect for a quick, healthy option if meats are not your thing.
Now, this aspect goes without saying, but seasoning your meals with fresh herbs and spices is essential to hold good flavor with premade stored meals.
Try to use fresh basil, cilantro, peppers, parsley, and rosemary to make for delicious meal prep.
The bottom line to a healthy life and lifestyle is to eat whole fresh foods every day. Eating fresh, nutritious meals every day can be difficult and there are way too many high-calorie fast food choices to reach for, so make homemade meal prep and planning a centerpiece to your healthy lifestyle change.
Judd Jones is a director for The Hagadone Corporation and certified health coach. For more information, go online to jhanawellness.com.