Fuel

The other half of feeling good, is knowing how to make your body feel good on the inside. It’s crucial to fuel your body with the right combination of foods. I know on the days I find myself feeling extremely lethargic it’s because I haven’t made the time to sit down and fuel up.

So what does a typical day look like for me?

I’m still working on that whole developing a routine thing. Since this year I decided last minute to not do grad school, I instead set myself up with a few part time jobs. I figured this would allow my schedule to have some flex, I wouldn’t be tied down to one thing, and I wouldn’t get bored because I would have the ability to move from place to place throughout my day. While it more happened incidentally, I think the push for me to appreciate this is good for me. Life will not always be the same thing, it won’t always be reliable. I cannot plan for everything. So, with that being said I do my best to plan ahead for meals – but this is something I am still working towards.

1. Breakfast

Even if you’re not hungry when you wake up, drink 2 glasses of water, have a mug of tea, eat two bites of a banana, cereal bar, piece of bread – anything. Get that metabolism moving!! Now, I’m not encouraging to eat while you’re not hungry, that’s not the point here. The point is when you have gone to bed your body slows down and takes this time to rest and digest. When you wake up in the morning, you probably haven’t had anything to eat or drink for at least 8 hours. Until you do, your body will remain in slow-mo. Drinking cold water, having hot tea or taking a couple bites of something re-awakens your system. It notices the food and says, “oh! We’re awake now! Let’s get moving.”

When I do get hungry though, here’s what I generally like to have for breakfast:

1. Sweet Breakfast Scramble – you have got to try this. Tina over at CNC is a genius.

2. OYB (oatmeal, yogurt, and berries)

3. Veggie & Egg Breakfast Burrito

4. Cereal** with Banana and Milk (when it comes to cereal, try to choose a high fiber and/or protein cereal loaded with whole grains.

5. Whole Grain Waffle with Almond Butter, Yogurt and Blueberries – a nutritionist recomended this breakfast to me – it’s amazing!

6. Oats, Apple, and PB

7. Overnight Oats

Sometimes I mix it up and try something different, but I do like to maintain some sort of routine in my life and breakfast is one place I can start. I usually stick to what works when it comes to breakfast. I need something that will fill me up for awhile, taste really great so I’m not tempted to stray and snack before lunch, and give me a good healthy starting point to my day. When I start “off track”, I usually end up trying to either “make-up” for it throughout the day or get hungry a couple hours later. For me, it’s not worth it – unless there’s a special occasion in which I indulge, appreciate it and enjoy 🙂

2. Lunch

My go to choices for lunch are pretty regular – leftovers from the night before or a big salad and an apple. Gala are my favorite 🙂

Salad:

-beets

-bell pepper

-chickpeas

-cucumbers

-tomatoes

-spinach or kale

-avocado

-feta cheese

-cranberries

This is my favorite salad. Not only does it have a good blend of flavors, in my opinion, but it’s also got a mixture of crunchy and soft, something that’s important for me when feeling satiated after a meal. It also has a ton of veggies in it, so this is a great way for me to load up for the day and get a good variety.

Packing a lunch or buying out?

For me, I always prefer to pack a lunch. This way, I have more time during my lunch break to sit down and be able to appreciate the meal I prepared for myself. I find I pay more attention to how much I’m eating and when my body say’s it’s done. I also like to know ahead of time what I’m going to eat so I can begin looking forward to it while I’m at work. Having something to look forward to always keeps me engaged and motivated – the same thing applies to food. If I’m engaged in what I’m eating, I won’t finish the whole meal and barely taste it.

BUT when I do buy out, I make sure to first check in with my body. What does it need today? Carbs? Sandwich with lean protein and vegetables on whole wheat bread. Protein? Add a yogurt in there or make sure there’s meat or beans in your sandwich or salad. For me, I like to toss in chickpeas and some grilled chicken to my salad if I feel I need a little something extra. No matter what you pick, just take a look at your plate:

Checklist:

1. Is about 1/4 of my plate dedicated to carbohydrates?

2. Is about 1/4 of my plate dedicated to protein?

(combined these both give you half the plate! if visualizing this helps that is)

3. Is half of my plate filled with deliciously bright fruits and vegetables?

Then congrats! You’ve done great! 🙂

**Again, I will say, it is important to listen to your body and adjust according to what you FEEL you need. Don’t overindulge, but work with your body to give it the right fuel it needs.

Dinner

Sometimes this is the trickiest meal for me. I’m always running around – to the gym, babysitting, meeting up with friends, or volunteering – so some nights it’s really hard for me to have the time to cook and plan out a good dinner. Allison’s got the right idea on her blog. She dedicates a good chunk of time on her Sunday’s to prepping. This doesn’t mean you have to plan out which meal for which night of the week, although I think I’m going to start doing so, BUT it does mean preparing a couple things ahead of time to help make it easier on yourself.

1. If you bought a lot of veggies – wash and cut ’em! Pop those suckers into tupperware so when you’re ready for them, they’re ready for you. For snacking, for cooking, or for leftovers!

2. Meat – Allison like’s to go ahead and cook some of the meat ahead of time. This is a great time saver for those busy nights. Just reheat with the rest of the meal you’re making! However, if you prefer to freshly cook your meat, divide up what you bought!

a. Wrap the chicken cutlets into serving sizes so when you’re ready to cook, you grab one and you’re done!

b. If you bough ground meat, divvy it up and lock that down in a container so you won’t have to deal with the mess of dividing and storing when you’re trying to cook. Instead, you’ll only have to get your hands dirty figuring out which way to shape it (patty form, bite size form, strips, etc).

3. If you aren’t going to use it in a couple days, freeze it! It’s silly to miss out on freshness or have to throw it out (guilty as charged) because you didn’t take the time to be honest with yourself. You know what Natasha, you really aren’t going to get around to cooking it and that’s okay! Just pop it in the freezer until you’re going to. No harm, no foul. Just make sure to wrap well to avoid freezerburn!

4. Can you prep anything for lunch during the week? Maybe you’ve got your eye on that chili recipe or you’ve been meaning to pack some healthy snack bags so when you’re off to work in the morning you can toss it in your bag for when you need a little boost. Either way, taking this small step can save you a TON of time and stress later! So go ahead – be brave! Make a big dish this weekend and then just pack some into containers for lunch! Just bought a bag of raisins? Take a bag, put in 1/4 cup, then toss in a handful of almonds. Zip, seal, and grab it when you’re on your way to work.

I know I make this sound simple, and believe me I’m still not the most consistent when it comes to prepping, but taking the time to block out preparation can really help you stay on track.

What works best for you guys when you’re preparing for the week ahead? The night of? Or right before you start to cook?

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