Though Heather is not a dietician or nutritionist, she is one of the healthiest eaters that I know. I asked her to share a few of her favorite ideas for meal planning to help those who are in the Dream Big Nutrition Challenge. Here are a few of her simple tips.
1. Be prepared. Shop ahead, chop ahead, prep ahead. No one makes good food choices in a hurry when they are starving. Keep pantry, fridge, and car (in my case) packed with "fast food" that is healthy. I have a big prep day once a month or so.
(The following ideas can be added to the tips if you want specifics):
Blanch enough kale, drain, chop and mix with sautéed bell peppers and onions (add some sun dried tomatoes for flair) and bag in individual ziplock portions (1/2-1 cup cooked) and freeze. Thaw and serve over bed of greens, with some leftover meat or scrambled eggs for a quick, balanced meal.
I also make a triple batch of broccoli or carrot soup and freeze in 2 cup portions for a quick way to add veggies in a hurry. These few staples keep me well fueled on hard days.
2. Focus on produce. Aim for 75% of your daily intake to be from produce of varying colors, mainly vegetables. When in doubt, eat more vegetables. Go big on flavor and learn 5 different ways to prepare every vegetable. This will keep it interesting.
3. Always eat breakfast. I almost always have 2 eggs with 1-2 cups of veggies (usually sautéed in bacon grease. Yep. 1 teaspoon of that goes a long way for flavor and keeps me satiated.)
4. Get rid of the junk. Seems obvious, but you're way less likely to binge on Oreos if you don't actually have Oreos in your pantry. Commit to only buy "real" food with real ingredients.
5. Don't underestimate the importance of fat. It helps with nutrient absorption, flavor and satiety. Healthy food need not taste like cardboard.