Eating healthy can have excellent benefits. According to the Canadian Food Guide, when you eat a wholesome diet, you can expect a healthy bodyweight, increased energy, stronger muscles and bones, lower risk of disease and better overall wellbeing. In fact, healthy eating, combined with exercise, are the best protectors and fighters against heart diseases.
WHY DO I NOT EAT HEALTHILY?
If you’re anything like us, you’ve probably told yourself “I have to eat healthier” or
“I need to save money when it comes to food” at least once in your life. Many of us at Cardiogenix have said this plenty of times, many of us even say it multiple times a day. Saying it hasn’t changed anything for us yet and probably never will. We decided to be proactive about it and do something (we love team challenges and experiences), but what could we do? Something simple, something efficient, something that we can all get on board with. To do that we had to look at the root of the problem. What is making us feel like we’re not eating healthy and that we’re spending all of our budget on food? A few of us started to ask around and we got some pretty amusing answers. We heard things like “I don’t have time in the morning for breakfast,” and “I never know what to cook for dinner”. We even heard, “I waste a lot of food by throwing it out after it goes bad,” or “I usually buy food from restaurants or pre-made foods”. My personal favorite is “Everything that is good for me tastes bad”.
IS THERE A MASTER SOLUTION?
Clearly, we have a bit of a problem here. I’m sure we can all understand that our healthcare professionals cringe when they heard these answers. Now that we see what the problem is, we can solve it!
There are things we can do to curb some of our bad habits one at a time, but we were seeking a master solution. We wanted something that would tackle all of these problems at once. Why solve one problem at a time when you can make a simple lifestyle change to turn all of these aspects around. So, what’s the answer?
FOOD PREPPING IS A MASTER SOLUTION
It is as simple as preparing a week’s worth of meals in one single day! It may seem time consuming, however think about all the time you save for the rest of the week!. You may not notice, but we spend a lot of time just standing in front of our fridges and cupboards, thinking about what to eat. Certainly, prepping all the food in one day seems like a daunting task when you do the math (3 meals a day x 7 days a week = 21 meals total), but if you follow our tips, it will be a breeze.
So why is this so magical and beneficial to our health? Meal prepping involves scheduling and planning, and a plan is the first step to succeed at almost anything in our lives. Having a meal plan and prepping the meals in advance will significantly reduce the stress in a chaotic schedule. It will also help you settle into a comfortable and healthy routine to ease the busy week. For most people, prepping the meals is best done on the weekend, but any calm period where you have time to get the food, prep the food and store the food will do.
Prepping for the week answers the nagging question “What’s for dinner!?” and ends all the last minute stress and spending on getting last minute ingredients or ordering in . We had originally thought, like many of you, that eating out wasn’t costing us that much. Turns out, we were wrong. Enter Cathy Erway author of “The Art of Eating In”. Erway ate out every day for one week to get an idea of the difference in expenses. She had spent approximately $30-$40 a week preparing the food herself, she spent well over $300 eating out. Eating in can arguably save you hundreds of dollars that can go towards more important things. That alone was enough for some of us to make room for food prepping in our life. The rest needed a little more to pick up food prepping.
FOOD PREPPING HELPS YOU AVOID UNHEALTHY CHOICES
Food Prepping helps you avoid unhealthy choices. Last minute cravings and grumbles in your stomach will have you racing for the drive-thru or grabbing the chips you hid on the top shelf. However, if you prep ahead of time, you will have filling foods readily available that are very healthy, and already paid for. It also helps you control what you bring into the house. If you don’t buy the chips at the store, you won’t eat unhealthy during a craving. You may even feel guilty not eating the food you prepared.. With meal prepping, doing the groceries can be easier, too.. By devising a plan, you will get only the foods you need for the meal prep and avoid over-buying.
All of these benefits were very attractive, but a few more benefit in particular gave us that little extra push that made the rest of our team hop on the food prepping train. These benefits are reduced pre-lunch complaints of hunger, higher energy levels amongst our team and a higher metabolism. . We can finally throw out the excuse of not having time for a quality breakfast. This allowed us to start off the morning on the right foot. .. We should almost change the old saying from “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” to “a healthy breakfast a day keeps the doctor away”.
TIPS & ADVICES TO SUCCEED
So now that we have gotten on board, what’s next?
Here is what I’ve learnt from my experience. For starters BUY TUPPERWARE, you almost can’t have enough. But not just any kind, get the good kind, your health is worth it. By “good kind” I mean the ones that are BPA and carcinogenic free. I wanted to be extra efficient so I went ahead and cleaned out all of my jam jars to make room for food storing (after I finished them of course). This way I didn’t have to buy a warehouse worth of Tupperware. With that Tupperware, I needed a game plan. So I made a weekly schedule. This was key to making mealing prepping manageable. On the schedule I layed out the meals, snacks, portions, and timing of eating. This made it so much easier to shop as well, because I knew exactly what I needed. The portions I used were based on The Canadian Food Guide to help decide the recommended daily intake and from what food groups they should come from. Another cool trick I used had to do with those jars I mentioned earlier… remember those? Well I used them in three ways – salads, oatmeals and smoothies. I was able to make a variety of mixes of each to have some different flavors from day to day. I learned the hard way with the salads that putting the dressing in first and the lettuce in last kept the crunch, so long as I kept my bag upright. The oatmeal turned out to be my favorite of the three because it kept me full for a long time, and I mixed my favorite yogurts in. The smoothies were fun, because I just dropped the smoothie ingredients from the jar to a blender and 5 seconds later… delicious smoothie. I sometimes used the smoothie as a snack instead of a meal. Don’t forget to snack regularly between lunch and dinner to battle midday hunger cravings.
Speaking of cravings, while prepping the meals I had a craving for salmon, so I added that to my schedule for three meals later on in the week. This was another mistake I made. Prepping it on Sunday and eating it on Friday wasn’t my best idea. It is important to focus on foods that keep. Good examples of this are chicken breast, salads, and grains. I am not saying don’t include salmon, but maybe schedule it early in the week so that it only stores in your fridge for a day or two. That being said, start slow, ease your way into it, find out what foods work for you. As long as it is healthy food, it’s hard to go wrong, so have fun with it. Something that got me excited was a little innovative idea I had. I found out I wasn’t the first to come up with it but I still felt accomplished. The idea was to use tin foil on a cooking tray to separate the tray into four sections. These sections were perfect for me to be able to cook multiple foods at once. You want four different flavored chickens but don’t want to cook four different times, the tin foil barriers got you covered. I also took full advantage of having an oven with two trays, placing my veggies on the bottom shelf and the meat on top.
Now you’re ready to join us in a healthy lifestyle choice that just happens to feel good for your wallet as well. I am sure you will come up with innovative ideas and become a food prepping expert in no time.
One last thing, make sure you have space, the Cardiogenix fridge is overflowing with food now that everyone is bringing food from home. Being that we are all about health, to us, that is a great problem to have!