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Planning & preparation is everything for health success

Written by: Nick Jack
Category: 2014
on 13 June 2019
Hits: 6264

If you were to ask me what is easier to teach someone, how to exercise or how to eat better I will pick the exercise option every time. Most people do not want to eat poorly and we all know it is impossible to achieve great health results if you eat junk food. When people get stuck eating junk food or over eat when they get home from work it is not because they want to do it but because of poor planning and preparation that forced them into a bad decision. This is where cravings will overpower your desire to be good. Modern living with all of the technology to make things easier and faster has made us very lazy when it comes to food preparation. We have become trained to sacrifice our health for convenience and is why we are seeing a steady increase in disease and chronic health problems. In this article we asked trainer Nathan Fejes to explain how he spends time planning his week in advance to ensure he is never sacrificing his health and fitness goals with poor food choices.

This is a topic that has become a common problem recently and the main reason people are not achieving the results they desire. You can train as much as you like but if your food does not match your exercise it is pointless. You cannot out-exercise a bad diet!

We have noticed this time of year as things get colder and days are getting shorter that people are moving away from healthy eating habits. However, healthy eating does not have to be a hard or a time consuming chore! It can be done with quick and easy strategies that I am going to show you that I also implement into my lifestyle.

We need our food to provide these essential vitamins and nutrients. We must look at our food as more than just fuel or energy to do exercise as it is so much more than that. Our bodies have genetically-based requirements for specific kinds of foods and balances of nutrients in order to produce optimal energy and function in a state of optimal health. If we meet these "design requirements," we can expect to be healthy, energetic, fit and trim. By spending the time to prepare and plan your week ahead you can ensure your body gets these essential foods. Many people are so confused as to what is good for you and what is bad for you, that they don't even know where to start. And that even though there is more information available today than ever before, that it's also become harder to find what's really right for you or to decide just what you should do.

We try to provide articles like this to show you eating good food is not that hard and does not take a long time either. It just takes some planning.

For great help on eating well make sure you get a copy of our Nutrition manual you can download instantly by clicking here.

Okay lets get started on the 4 simple steps that will give you that constant accountability forever and keep pushing you closer to your goal.

Step #1: Buying The Right Foods When You Go Grocery Shopping

Before your preparation even starts it all begins with what you are taking home. Ensuring you have a majority of healthy foods and minimal junk foods in your fridge/pantry will force your convenience food to be healthy. After you read this article, you will have a meal plan list to have before you begin your first shop. Whether it’s you doing your grocery shop once or week, or your partner doing it, work together to pick healthy options!

If 85% of your foods consist of fresh vegetables, fruits, meats, and seafood you are off to a great start!

Step #2: Lock In One 30 minute Appointment

Begin your weekly meal preparation at home and to make sure it gets done you will need to schedule a time in your diary. The most common reason for skipping this is you don’t have time. If it’s because you are flat out during the week with work, kids, extra activities you’re getting involved in, then this step is critical. Look in your diary and slot in 30 minutes where you are free during the week. You must have a spare 30 minutes somewhere! This is where you pack healthy snacks or lunches for your whole week.

If you are struggling to find time make sure you read our article - How To Find Time When You Are Overly Busy for great ideas and tips.

Lock it in as an appointment in your diary or phone reminders for every week! Let’s say it’s a Sunday night, then that 30 minutes on a Sunday is dedicated for preparing snacks and easy meals for the week, and yes, all you need is 30 minutes!

Step #3: The first 10 minutes of your appointment = “time efficient snacks”:  

You can pack snacks for your big day and even the week for on the go with only 10 minutes! Going back to your grocery shop, for healthy choices that are easy to access with minimal preparation are:

  • Boiled eggs
  • Ham slices
  • Cans or smoked fish
  • Dips / spreads (hummus, tzatziki, almond butter, peanut butter, cottage cheese)
  • Raw vegetables (add these with any of the dips listed above)
  • Whole roast chicken (rip off pieces)
  • Whole fruit
  • Raw nuts
  • Pork crackling chips
  • Beef jerky

 

Every food listed above here, all you have to do is grab it from the pantry or fridge and shove it in your container & lunchbox which should only take 10 minutes max of your time. Make sure you check out our recipes page as Melissa has provided stacks of great recipe ideas to help you.

Step #4: The last 20 minutes of your appointment = “A week’s worth of lunch:

Within your 30 minute meal prep appointment you can make some easy, tasty lunches for the week. If you make a few days’ worth all in one hit then it is good to vary what you make each work so you are not consuming the same thing all the time.

Examples to choose from are:

  • Fried chicken with steamed veggies (cauliflower, broccoli, sweet potato, green beans, asparagus)
  • Slow cooked beef with roasted veggies (beetroot, potato, pumpkin)
  • Bacon with salad (lettuce, spinach, tomato, cucumber, beetroot)
  • Fried fish with salad
  • Fried pork with salad or veggies

Can you see the pattern here? You must choose a meat or fish-based protein, and add your vegetables of either a salad, steamed or roast based meal. It is common to have these for dinner, so, instead you can make extra for your lunch the next day. This is where we say "Cook Once, Eat Twice or More!"

This is a basic meal planning principle that really helps you to save time and work more efficiently in the kitchen, which is why I always incorporate it into each of my weekly meal plans.

Basically, you cook (or simply prepare) a double portion of something and save half for a future meal. How does this save time? Well, think of all the work that needs to happen to get a healthy meal on the table, there is the preparation time, cooking time, and of course, everyone’s favorite clean-up time. So, if you make double of something during one cooking session, you’re being more efficient because you don’t have to repeat those same exact steps twice.
Leftovers for tomorrows breakfast, lunch or dinner are perfect examples. Freezer meals to be used at in a week or even longer time are another. If you can start to use these tips it will make it so much easier to stick to your suggested meal plan.

Make sure you read Mel's article on Keto diets for other great ideas of how she puts together some amazing snacks and meals.

I also suggest to grab a copy of our PDF report that shows you how to create a simple step by step nutrition plan by slowly implementing steps one at a time. There may need to change many things, but by focusing only on one the chances of succeeding over the long term are increased dramatically increased. You can download a PDF version of our detailed nutrition program by clicking here.

For a breakdown of many other simple methods we use with clients I highly suggest to read our article - 16 Ways To Improve Your Health

Bonus Step: Other strategies when not at home:

Now, whether you’re in a different situation and find it hard to eat healthy because you’re traveling on a plane for example? In this case you will need to pack snacks before you head off to the airport. Make sure you apply this step before your flight to avoid selecting junk food at the airport.

If you are in a hotel go back to step 1. I use google maps to help me find the nearest grocery store. If it’s within walking distance, then great! If it’s a drive you will have to allow a little bit of time free between meetings & sleep to get this done.

Multiple meetings in restaurants / conferences?

This is where picking your food choices is vital. This is where you need to lean more to your vegetable & salad based foods with a mixture of meat and avoid the sugar and grain based foods that are often a big part of meetings. I cannot overstate how important preparation is in avoiding this trap that can derail your best efforts the rest of the day and week.

Summary

In summary this really comes down to four key things.

  1. Shopping for healthy choices that will leave you with no choice but to eat healthy foods from your house.
  2. Making a 30 minute appointment a week to pack your weekly snacks and lunches for the week to give you consistent healthy foods all week out of home.
  3. Picking snacks listed above that you enjoy and are healthy. If it’s tasty you will eat it and avoid the traps of junk food and sugar.
  4. If you are traveling regularly for work and are out for days, be strategic before you arrive & follow the best choices you can!

Following these simple steps will get you a lot closer to your health goal and it is easy to add in your lifestyle when you commit! This is no quick fix and nutrition planning and preparation takes discipline to begin with. But over time it becomes a habit and a part of your lifestyle that will last with you forever! Your body will love you for it.