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posted: 10/31/2011 6:00 AM

A little food planning goes a long way

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  • Here is an example of how you can plan your meals and label them accordingly.

      Here is an example of how you can plan your meals and label them accordingly.

 

Our most successful clients have realized that failing to plan is planning to fail. This is especially true with healthful nutrition. We've heard clients tell us so many times that they would have eaten better if they just had better options. Well, there are better options, if you take the time to make them available.

If you consistently find yourself grabbing snacks from the vending machine or stopping off for fast food, it's time to start prepping. Preparation takes time up front, but definitely pays off in the long run. Try the following tips and never again settle for limited options.

Prepare your food ahead of time: OK, this seems obvious, but if you don't have food prepared, you're going to grab whatever food is available at the time; and usually it won't be a choice to be proud of. If you don't have time to sit down and make breakfast in the morning, make sure you have healthy options available to grab before you run out the door. If you're at the office all day, prepare your lunch and snacks the night before so you can grab it along with your breakfast on your way out in the morning. This way, you have all the healthy food you need to get you through the day.

Know what to prepare: By establishing a healthy macronutrient profile, you can break your food choices down by what they are made up of -- protein, fat and carbohydrates. Each of your snacks and meals should contain a healthy balance of these three macronutrients. So think of chicken as a protein food, olive oil as a fat food and vegetables as a carbohydrate food. Always prepare your snacks and meals by combining foods that balance out your protein, fat and carbs.

Variety is best: Don't get in the habit of eating a salad everyday for lunch or having a protein bar for your afternoon snack. Adding a variety of foods requires a bit more focus, but really doesn't require extra prep time. Make a list of 10 different meal options and 10 different snack options and become an expert at preparing those meals and snacks while occasionally adding something new into the mix.

Have a contingency plan: Even the best plans can fail from time to time. Maybe that meeting lasted longer than expected or you got stuck in traffic. It's always a good idea to have a water bottle, a protein bar or a serving of almonds available for emergencies so you aren't tempted to grab those less-than-ideal options.

So with a little prepping, you can set yourself up for nutritional success. Find a plan that works best for you and perfect it. Before long, it will just be part of your daily life.

For more nutrition tips, check out PushFitnessTraining.com/blog.

• Joshua Steckler and Mark Trapp are co-owners of Push Fitness, a personal training studio in Schaumburg specializing in weight loss, muscle toning and nutrition. Contact them at PushFitnessTraining.com.

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