Give Yourself the Gift of Good Health Series

Meal Planning for 2013

With the holidays winding down, 2013 is only a few days away. I hope that you have taken some time to think about your motivation to Give Yourself the Gift of Good Health, your SMART fitness and health goals for the New Year, and even to confront any fears that may have held you back in the past. With that groundwork laid, we’re ready to get down to business and set the wheels in motion for making some positive, healthy changes in 2013.

We all live busy and, at times, hectic lives. There is probably not much you can do to change most of the pressures and demands on your time. The real changes you can make will come from gaining control over those demands with some careful planning. To make your health and fitness a priority in the New Year, eating healthy is going to be key. I know planning what you are going to eat for the week can easily find its way to the bottom of the priority list if you let it. 
In order to stay on track, I make a shopping list before I head into the grocery store. As soon as I get home, I begin my food preparation for the week. I prefer cooking my meals on Sunday and I make enough meals to last me the entire week. By planning ahead, I never have to “think” about what I am going to eat for my next meal – this doesn’t allow the door to be opened to options that are not good for my health and fitness. I'm not left searching for food and short on willpower when I get busy which can lead to poor food choices.  When I have healthy and great tasting food with me at all times, I have few urges and temptations to reach for unhealthy snacks. I like only cooking once a week but, if you prefer your food to be fresh, try cooking two or three times a week. Remember, the less often you have to cook, the less you will have to clean up. 
To speed up the weekly marathon cooking session, I multitask. Rather than doing one thing at a time, I have several of the burners on the stove going, the oven baking different types of protein on each rack, and I’m steaming veggies in the microwave. This keeps me busy for about 2 hours of nonstop cooking. Once it’s done, I have the rest of the week to relax and not really think about my meals or when I will find time to prepare my next healthy meal.
As soon as all the sides and entrees are ready for one of my meals, I begin to separate the meal into its own one-serving container and place each meal into the fridge. I keep portioning meals until I have everything ready for the week. For me, this is usually 42 different meals all prepared, separated, labeled, and ready to go. 
Before you set out to prepare meals in advance, a little advice: invest in small, airtight, plastic containers that will fit one serving of one meal. This will actually save space and hassles. You should also have sandwich or snack sized Ziploc bags to keep sides like bread, nuts or dried fruits separate from the main portion of your meals. And last but not least, get a nice cooler/insulated lunchbox for yourself that has some freezer blocks that will stay cold and keep your food nice and fresh! Each morning before I leave the house, I pack my cooler for the day and have all of my meals with me. This keeps me from heading over to the vending machine during my break at work. 
When I stay on track with my meal plans, I feel great and I look great. It may seem like a big chunk of time at first, but if you were to cook all of your meals fresh every day that would take more time away from other important activities you may want to be a part of with your family and friends.. 
You will need to establish new routines in order to make positive changes and reach your fitness and good health goals. Eating healthy does not just happen. Careful planning is crucial but it doesn’t have to be difficult. Try these meal prep tips to stay on track and make your cooking a breeze! 
I have enjoyed sharing these tips to help you Give Yourself the Gift of Good Health this holiday season. If you missed my tips last week, "check out the series" by clicking below. I look forward to wrapping up the series this week and heading into a fit and healthy 2013 with you! If you have not already entered to WIN on the Celsius Facebook page, don't miss your chance to be the lucky Celsius fan who receives a free 90-day Personal Coaching Session with me to get started on a fit and healthy 2013. 
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