This post is not about how to eat healthy. What is healthy for you is not necessarily healthy for me and vice-versa, so I’m not going to tell you what to eat. I am going to give you four things that I have found essential to keeping me on track regardless of my eating goals.
1. Clean Out – Clean everything out of your pantry, refrigerator, etc. that is going to be a temptation. If your eating goals are temporary, some of this can be frozen for later. If it is frozen, it is hard to get to. You have to plan to eat it. For example, I am trying not to eat any sweetener to reset my palate. Am I going to give up anything sweet forever? Probably not, but if I leave cookies in the pantry and there is nothing else that looks good, I might give in and eat them, but if I put them in the freezer, I have to really want the cookie and made the decision to eat it. And, I have a while to change my mind while it thaws. Better yet, there is a good chance no one in the house really needs cookies, so I could just throw them out.
2. Go Shopping – Make sure there are things to eat in the house that you both want to eat and should eat. If there are no choices around that actually sound good, then you are more likely to choose poorly. Some of these items should be easy to eat without any preparation. My personal favorite for this is clementines. They don’t need to be cooked, and they are easy to peel. Stock pile everything you need to be successful.
3. Prepare Ahead – Ok, this is where the photos of the eggs and brown rice come in. Let’s be honest here. Twice a week I have to be up at 5:00 in the morning to get ready to go to work, and it doesn’t matter what my good intentions are the night before, I am not going to do anything to fix myself breakfast when there is a drive through on the way, but I will grab the eggs out of the refrigerator to eat on the way, which gives me about ten extra minutes to sleep. My point: Make absolutely anything ahead that you can so that you won’t be tempted to make other choices out of convenience. That means cut up fruit when you get it home. Boil eggs ahead of time or bake them like I did here. Cook brown rice ahead of time and freeze it because it takes a while to cook but only a couple of minutes heat if it is already done. Make your salad when you get the lettuce home, etc., etc., etc. This is probably the one thing that makes the biggest difference to me.
By the way, the eggs are baked in a muffin tin at 325 degrees for 30 minutes. There are whole posts written about doing this all over the internet. Search it if you want. You will find all kinds of things you can do like plunging them into cold water to preserve perfectly yellow yolks, keep them easy to peel, etc. These are awesome if you are making deviled eggs to take to a party, but seriously, if you don’t care about all that and are just eating them alone in a dark car on the way to work, wait until they are cool enough to touch, refrigerate them, and peel them as you need them.
And, the brown rice. I cooked it in a slow cooker – a lot of it. Now I don’t quite have that method perfected – note the sticky rice in the photo. But, I think I have it down now. I just need to test it. After I do, I will share it with you. Now I have about 12 cups of brown rice in my freezer just waiting to be added to casseroles or just turned into a side dish. No cooking for 40 minutes, etc.
4. Buy Pre-Prepared – Yes, I know this is a food blog, and I just told you to buy pre-prepared food. There are times when you just don’t have time to cook yourself something even if you want to. Going back to the work example, when I get off it has been over six hours since I have eaten and I don’t have access to a refrigerator or microwave. I’m starving and my choices are an array of nearby fast food restaurants and a vending machine. However, if I bring something like a pack nuts or and unsweetened fruit and nut bar with me to eat on my way home, I can easily avoid the fast food and vending machine. Now, are they as good for you as something made at home? Probably not, but I know myself and I know I won’t make it home without something to hold me over and they are much better than the alternatives.