“Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.” -Tony Robbins
5 Tips on How to Incorporate Eating Real Food into a Busy Life
You’ve been reading and hearing from your coworkers and friends about how beneficial it is to eat real, nutrient dense food and you want to try it out. You’re not sure where to start and you have all sorts of reasons why you can’t work it into your lifestyle: you don’t like left overs, you don’t have time to cook, you don’t like to cook, you don’t know how to cook, etc. These are all valid reasons for a majority of the population. Everyone is “really busy”. So, how do the people who are working 40 hours a week, have three kids to care for, plus make the time to workout make the time to cook real food? Today I’m going to give you tips on how I create home cooked meals we enjoy so you can be the leanest, fittest and healthiest version of yourself.
1. Get to Know Your WHY
Your WHY is going to be your motivation for prepping food when you’re too tired or you just don’t “feel” like it. To figure out your why, go to a place that is quiet and peaceful for you with a pen or pencil and a piece of paper. Yes, a piece of paper and a pen or pencil. There’s something about actually writing down your thoughts and feelings the old school way that’s completely different than typing it on your computer, phone or iPad.
Why do you want to eat clean? Do you have a health condition you’d like to improve? Did a family member or close friend just get diagnosed with type 2 diabetes? Do you want to be able to run around with your kids at the park? There are an infinite number of reasons people want to be healthy. Really dig down deep inside you and write down why you want to be lean, fit, and healthy. Write down whatever thoughts come to you whether you think they’re valid or not.
For example, I eat real food and take the time to prep my food in advance so I feel great physically and mentally. I love my sleep and when I don’t sleep well because I’m not eating well I’m not in the best mood and I have a hard time focusing on anything. I want to eat food my body is designed to digest to avoid stomach aches and heartburn. I want to be in great physical shape just case I get invited to climb Mt. Whitney or any other mountain I have on my “mountains to climb/hikes to go on” list spur of the moment. If we have a natural disaster I want to be physically and mentally able to help people if needed. And I have a really long list of things I’d like to do and accomplish in my life so I want to live for many, many, many, many more years.
When you have your list written down (you can always add more to your list as you think of more reasons, as you probably will) write it down on a 3x5 index card and keep it with you at all times. When you have moments of weakness (which you will have, we all have them at some point) pull our your list and read it aloud or to yourself. This will help you switch your mindset and create the motivation to do what you need to do to eat real home cooked meals.
2. Plan Your Meals in Advance
I believe planning your meals in advance in critical to eating clean regularly. When I get home the last thing I want to do is make a decision after I’ve been making decisions all day. Our brains need a break because they can actually get “fried.” I love coming home knowing exactly what we’re making for dinner and not having to think about it.
Every Saturday or Sunday (depending on what we have going on on the weekend) I sit down for 5-10 minutes and plan the menu for the week. We eat a salad just about every day for lunch so that’s an easy one for me. We usually have eggs, bacon, sausage and veggies ready for breakfast if we eat breakfast. Most of the time we incorporate intermittent fasting into our day in the morning. (More on that in another blog post).
Find recipes that are appetizing and easy for you to prep in advance or the night you’re going to eat each meal. Print them out, bookmark them on your web browser, or put them in your day planner on the day you’re going to enjoy them.
When you’re planning your menu, take into account your schedule each day of the week. For example, when we both ride our bikes to andfrom work our commute is about 40-45 minutes each way, so on those days we don’t get home until about 7:15pm, depending on what time we leave our office. Those days we like to have a slow cooker meal ready for when we get home. Usually we make chili or slow cooked lamb shanks that night and all we have to do when we get home is cook up some veggies.
3. Be Strategic with Your Grocery Shopping
After I’ve planned all the meals for the coming week, I go through the fridge, freezer and pantry to see which ingredients I need to buy. I prefer actually writing a list out on a piece of paper but you can also make your list electronically if you prefer. If you do write your list on an actual piece of paper, please recycle the paper by either using it again or putting it in the recycle bin.
We purchase everything we can in bulk to save us time and money when it comes to food. We recently invested in a Costco membership because they carry a good variety of frozen organic veggies, high quality meats and cheeses, organic fresh produce, and other high quality products such as organic salsa. Since we’re able to buy these in bulk we only need to make a Costco run about every 4-6 weeks.
We also purchase 2-3 dozen eggs at once since eggs have a long shelf life in the fridge. When you purchase fresh eggs from a local farmer or farmers market, you can usually keep them on your kitchen counter for up to 30 days.
We purchase all our meat in bulk including wild caught salmon, wild caught shrimp, grass fed beef, grass fed bison, and lamb. We’ve found delicious sausage at Costco made with grass fed beef and no nitrates that we always keep in the freezer as well.
If you don’t have a Thrive Market membership already, I encourage you to sign up for one right now. Thrive Market is like the Whole Foods/Costco of the internet. You pay $60 a year for a membership and you have access to wholesale prices for thousands of healthy food options.
The only food we always buy weekly are fresh product that we can’t find in the frozen section such as organic spring mix, organic cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and asparagus.
4. Prepare Your Food in Advance
We have our salad and veggie preparation systems in place. On the weekend, we will cut all the ingredients for our salads for the week. We put the lettuce in a separate containers for each day and salad toppings in smaller containers for each day. We keep the toppings separate from the lettuce so the lettuce doesn’t get soggy. In the morning all we need to do is put our salads for that day in our lunch boxes.
We cut and wash all our veggies (with the exception of mushrooms as they can get soggy if they are washed and then stored) and store them in airtight containers in the fridge. When we are ready to cook them all we need to do is prepare them the way we would like them cooked,
We also purchase organic frozen veggies when they’re available. This eliminates the need to cut and wash them all together. When vegetables re frozen they are picked at their prime so they are very fresh even thought they’re frozen.
5. Order Paleo/Primal Meals Already Cooked
There’s a great company based in San Diego, California, called Pete’s Paleo that does all the work for you. They “hunt” and “gather” the freshest, local, organic, pasture raised, grass feed ingredients they can find and prepare the meals for you. The meals are shipped right to your door step (or office) and sealed in air tight bags ready to heat up and eat. All you need to do is sauté or microwave the meat and veggies and enjoy! We enjoy our Pete’s Paleo meals on the nights we just get home after work, eat a healthy meal, relax, and get to bed at a reasonable time.
You do have the option to add an extra side or extra protein if there is not enough food in one meal. We supplement our Pete’s Paleo meals with our own organic veggies.
This option does financially cost a bit more than preparing your own meals but it saves time. And the all the meals we’ve had from Pete’s Paleo have been absolutely delicious! That’s all for this week. Thanks so much for reading!
For more tips on food preparation I invite you to attend my monthly HBK Primal Food Prep Course. Keep an eye out for the monthly schedule in my Honey Bee Kitchen Newsletter that is e-mailed monthly. Not signed up for my newsletter? No problem! Just send me an e-mail to let me know you're interested in attending the HBK Primal Food Prep Course.
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