Fruit & Veggie Challenge 2016: Week 4 – Preparation & Planning

soup-greens-869075-2Challengers! You made it to Week 4! If you are an east coast survivor of Jonas, you might be sluggishly limping toward the finish line. Hopefully, you have had enough experience eating well these past few weeks that you recognize the benefits of eating many plants each day. I am still enjoying hearing about your successes and answering your questions. Your referrals have been so encouraging to me. Thank you.

I am often asked: What one thing can ‘someone’ do to be healthier? (Notice the choice of pronoun…no commitment!)  While eating healthy doesn’t have to be complicated, it does take an investment. That investment is certainly money but mostly it is TIME. Making long-term, sustainable lifestyle choices toward healthy eating requires preparation and planning.

At the beginning of every week (whether your week starts on Sunday or Wednesday), you need to take time to plan. When working one on one with a client, I encourage them to plan a back up plan in case the original plan fails. Example: You plan all your meals for the week, make a list and shop accordingly. Monday’s plan is grilled chicken, sweet potato, and a green salad. Tuesday you plan a stir fry with enough leftovers for Wednesday since that will be a busy night. Then maybe a roast for Thursday and dinner at your parents on Friday. Monday’s plan goes well and you have leftovers for lunch the next day. You have enough energy to make dinner for Tuesday when a friend stops by and stays for dinner. You might be able to still get by Wednesday night, but your son eats all the leftovers after school. Wednesday night you get home late and have nothing left in the fridge. You order out and collapse exhausted in front of the TV and head to bed late after falling asleep on the couch. Forgetting to defrost the roast the night before, you stop for fast-food on your way home on Thursday. The following Sunday comes and you are no longer motivated to plan because it never seems to work out for you anyway. And the cycle continues…
When you plan for Plan B, you break the cycle. You must prepare for the plan and prepare for the backup plan.
Breaking the cycle looks like this: Yummy grilled chicken, sweet potato & salad on Monday. Tuesday’s stir-fry with a friend. How great! You get to talk about your healthy eating habits and encourage your friend in how easy it can be. Wednesday’s late night comes with its lack of planned leftovers. NO PROBLEM! Why? Because you planned for Plan B! You decide to heat up some soup you kept in the freezer from the last big pot you made, add in a spinach salad with the ingredients you keep on hand for smoothies and the veggies you take for lunch. Feeling energized by sticking to your healthy eating plan, you check your list and remember to defrost your meal for Thursday night. The following Sunday, you have a new recipe to try after sharing your success with an accountability partner who tried a new vegetable last week. You are encouraged and motivated to continue your healthy eating.

I understand this is an ideal scenario and ‘life happens’, but it can be your reality. I have seen it happen too many times in my own life and with my clients.

I have more tips to share as we round out this last week of the Fruit & Veggie Challenge. Specifically, how to make efficient use of fruits & vegetables. I’ll be sharing those on social media this week. I have collected some good ideas over the years, but we can learn so much from each other. What works best for you as you prepare for your weekly meal plan?


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