For my Dad’s entire career, he brought the same lunch to work with him. In fact, I watched him each night make his lunch to take with him in the morning. One of the easiest ways to plan a meal is to keep that meal the same each day.
My Dad figured this out and it became a normal routine. Laurie from 6pm has found a similar pattern with her breakfast meal. She can plan her meal, shop for her food, and prep it with ease because she has done it so many times. What can you do to make one of your meals easier? It might not be the entire meal on repeat every time, but what about always planning on a salad at dinner? Would that make your meal time easier?
Laurie’s Keep It Simple Breakfast
Mix everything in a bowl to combine. It’s that simple.
Despite turbulence and other conditions keeping airplanes off-course 90 percent of flight time, most flights arrive in the correct destination at the intended time. The reason for this phenomenon is quite simple — through air traffic control and the inertial guidance system, pilots are constantly course-correcting. When immediately addressed, these course corrections are not hard to manage. When these course corrections don’t regularly happen, catastrophe can result. Small things — if not corrected — become big things, always.
5 Things You Shouldn’t Go Without Doing On a Regular Basis
1. Plan your meals. Planning your meals each week frees up your brain power for other things. After you create your plan you won’t have to rely on your brain every meal to think about what you are going to have. Your stress levels will be reduced greatly because you will have one less thing to worry about during the week. If you take a few minutes to think about the week ahead, you will be able to develop a plan to overcome any barriers that might come up. Then when the stress hits, you already have a plan on how to handle it.
Most people like to plan on Sundays, but do what works for you. Some like to plan 3 days at a time, some like to plan the entire week. Some plan at night for the next day. The strategy isn't important, taking action is. Try a strategy and see how it works. Pay attention, analyze, and decide if you should continue with that same strategy or try a new one for better success. Everything is better with a clear plan.
2. Shop from your plan. Shopping can feel complicated, or like a pain in the butt — if you don’t have a clear system and structure. It doesn’t have to be like that. With a shopping list full of foods that you like and will eat, you can hit the grocery store, get in and out quickly, and leave knowing you’ve bought all the things you need to make your meal plan happen.
3. Take time for meal prep. As you go along, you’ll learn more about what works for you, and how to make healthy eating part of your regular routine. You’ll practice planning, preparation and having strategies for when you’re busy, traveling, and/or eating at restaurants — or for anything else that life throws at you. This will help you feel confident and in control of your choices, and help you stay on the path towards the goals you want to achieve. Over time, you’ll build a “meal prep ritual” of your own: something you like, find easy, and can do reliably.
4. Eat slowly. Eating slowly takes practice every day. Lucky for you, since you eat multiple times per day, you'll get lots of practice! If you find yourself rushing mid-meal, set your fork down, take a deep breath, and start fresh and slow.
5. Listen to your body. When the clock tells you it is time for a meal ask yourself: Are you physically hungry? Pause and check in. Look for signals like a rumbling stomach, lightheadedness, irritability, etc. If you had a scale from 1-10, you’d want to be a 7 out of 10 on the hunger scale. During your meal, keep on listening to those signals. Pause after you eat your normal amount of food. Before you eat more, give your brain time to catch up. You want to feel satisfied, not stuffed. You’ll know you ate just enough when an hour after eating you are still physically satisfied with no desire to eat another meal.
5 things that sound so easy to do, but just like an airplane you can easily get off course. These steps will keep giving you’re that course correction to get you back on track.
To your best health,
I want to change the world. I know it can be done. Americans are getting fatter and less healthy all the time. New Hampshire isn't leading the way to break the childhood obesity epidemic. I see those around me in poor health.
I know this trend can change. I’ve seen it happen in people around me. I’m not content to change the world slowly. I need your help.
Here are 5 ways you can help me change the world.
1. Eat more vegetables daily and share your veggies with others. Vegetables contain a boatload of vitamins and minerals. They fill you up and satisfy you. Veggies are high in fiber. Another big bonus is that they are lower in calories than other foods we tend to eat.
2. Drink lots of water. Hydrate your system to keep all your tiny cells working well while helping to keep your body working optimally clean.
3. Have protein at each meal. While the saying milk does a body good, I think it should be changed to protein does a body good. It’s the building blocks your body uses.
4. Enjoy healthy fats. Fats are not evil as once thought. In fact your body works best with a portion of healthy fats at each meal. Olives, avocados, nuts, and seeds are some ways to get them at each meal.
5. Learn to cook. More and more people are stopping at fast food joints on the way home from work to help them feed their families. While they are feeding them food, they are missing the opportunity to teach their children how foods are cooked. Our society cooks less now then 30 years ago and we cook so much less than our grandmothers.
These few things will make an impact. Pick one or two to work on. Once those become a easier part of your day add in another step. You might find that by starting to work on one area, another area picks up the pace.
Help me change the world, one step at a time.
To your best health (and the health of those around you),
Rock stars Deb and Adam have been talking up a new salad they created for months. They practically handed me all the ingredients one day so I could make this salad. It was delicious just as they said. Why, oh why, did it take me so long? I am grateful I made it before the summer was over. This is going to be hit for picnics.
D.A. Summer Salad
Mix, chill, and serve. Yep, it's that easy.
If you don't have access to a Trader Joe's, this will take a bit longer. You can also be creative as this recipe will work wonderfully with coleslaw mix, riced broccoli, or any blend of greens. You'll need about 6 cups of greens.
Creamy Italian Dressing
Mix all ingredients in a blender. If mixture is too thick, add either vinegar or water. Remember, your dressing will get slightly more liquidy as you toss it with your salad.
Place egg, dry mustard, salt and lemon juice in the blender. Add 1/4 cup of olive oil and whirl until well mixed. Slowly incorporate the remaining olive oil. Drizzle it in with as small a stream as possible. You'll hear it start to emulsify. Don't rush this. Be patient. Continue to blend until the oil is incorporated and your mayo is light and fluffy.
Life isn't fair, I should just be like...
"Comparison is the thief of joy."
There is a terrible new disease creeping into my life. Actually, it’s probably been there a lot longer than I want to admit.
It goes sort of like this: “I’ve been working really hard at doing a push up just like Jane, but I still can’t do one. I should be able to do at least one.”
Or sometimes I hear it like this: “I’ve stuck to my nutrition plan almost 100% and I’ve lost 3 pounds but I should be able to lose at least 3 pounds in a week.”
I’ve even heard it this way: “I’ve been training in the gym for almost a year and I also eat really well. The amount of spinach I buy is ridiculous. I should see really great results on the scale.”
It’s easy to say, “You’re right, you should be able to do a push up” …. and, “You should lose more weight than that” …. or even, “After all that spinach you should be as strong and looking just like Popeye.”
Hold on there, Superman.
First of all, let me clear this up - you are not Superman. Although you are wonderful and sweet and kind and work hard, and you are strong and full of smiles, and smart…you are not Superman.
Since we live like all other humans on this earth,
If we lived the in the realm where “shoulds” and “musts” and “have tos” exist, then this is what would happen when you do your yearly tax paperwork…
After you do hours of work, find all your receipts, fill in all the boxes on your tax returns, cross all the T’s and dot all your I’s; you’ll be soon holding a check written to you. It’s guaranteed, it happens. NOT.
We all know things can go wrong. Sometimes it’s on our end, sometimes it on their end. Sometimes it’s out of our control and a tornado wipes out the computer system and all our tax documents are lost.
You get the idea. While you can do everything right, the end is not guaranteed. It might take more work. It might take A LOT more work for you to get the same result as the next person.
Here comes the disease of the “Shoulds”.
Give yourself a break. Realize you are not the same person as everyone else at the gym. Remember you had surgery last year? Shoulder surgery can leave you immobile for 2 months. It will affect how your body is for a long time. It just will. Or maybe you have health challenges that make it harder for you than others to recover from physical exercise. You might be on a medication that has a side effect of weight gain. Now you have to battle twice as hard for the same two pounds others seem to easily lose.
I read recently in The Grateful Plate’s ProCoach focus times how to cure the “I shoulds”.
To your best health,
This recipe is one for the summer. It will be a refreshing side to any barbecue meal you make during the nice weather that's coming up!
Mash avocados in a large bowl. Add sour cream, lime juice, salt, and pepper, and mix together with avocados. Add the cole slaw mix and stir until everything is well combined.
Imagine you just ate a really wonderful meal. It looked great, tasted fantastic, and it was high on the healthy scale. You knew it was full of fabulous proteins, incredible vitamins and minerals along with your share of healthy fats. It was a meal you’d be proud to share with me.
Now how did you feel after you ate that meal? What if you ate all your meals that day just like it? Imagine the goodness running through you.
Let’s back it up just a bit so we can see how that might work.
What did you have to do to make that one meal happen?
What would you do to make it happen over again?
3 Tips to Reverse Planning and Prepping
1. What made this meal so good?
2. What happened to prepare this meal?
3. How can you do this again?
You’ve just created a starting point for you to do this more and more often. By increasing the good stuff you already have going on, it will bring up the whole meal’s value.
Maybe you need to add in more crockpot meals so that you don’t have to wait for dinner, or cook enough chicken on the weekend to serve until mid week. Maybe you’ll need to take advantage of the bagged pre-mixed salads at the grocery instead of trying to clean, chop and make your own salads.
Make it as easy for yourself as possible. Start with the end, what you already can do. Then just do more of that.
To your best health,
Changing your body composition is only easy if you are trying to do one thing – be overfat.
Most of us have experienced that – you wake up one day and you weigh 30 pounds more than you did a couple years ago, and you didn’t even have to try!
Going the other way is not that easy, as many of us have also discovered over the years.
But it isn’t rocket science either. The #1 reason why we don’t make the progress we desire is because we are unwilling to change what we are doing, usually in the area of nutrition.
I defy anybody to demonstrate they have taken these three steps over a reasonable period of time (8 weeks maybe?) and not have made significant progress toward a better body composition.
I want to help you out. Do you really want to make the changes necessary to achieve your goals? I believe you do.
So here is what I want you to do.
I want you to find a way that will work for you to log (record) every bite of food you eat. There are several apps you can download. MyFitnessPal and Fat Secret are two of the more popular ones. If you are like me still a paper girl you’ll find a great food diary and planner at Get Fit NH for only $7. It will last you a whole year. Logging your food can also be done by snapping a picture of your plate each time you eat. Its eye opening what happens when you start to write your food on paper.
Log your food intake into your account for one week. When you have done that, send me an email and let me know. Don’t stop after a week, continue every day to be consistent.
After two weeks you’ll start to notice a recurring pattern or habits. Use that information, whether your habits are already good and need to become better or whether you realize you’ve made poor choices that need to be lessened. Sometimes we don’t ‘see’ our poorer choices until we write them down on paper. A habit of eating dessert every night might need to be tweaked so that is once a week instead.
No other changes, no other hassles, no nothing. Those three simple steps. Find a tool to use to journal. Use that journaling tool consistently. Evaluate the information you have in front of you.
I am excited to hear your success stories. Sometimes doing it on your own even though it seems like a simple plan isn’t as easy to carry out. I am more excited than ever about helping you reach your goals. The Grateful Plate is soon going to open up ProCoach for Women and ProCoach for Men. If simple steps like those above leave you feeling like it’s not that easy, let me know.
To your best health,
On a hot summer day, this is a dish that leaves the oven off, yet it also delivers a great source of protein, loads of veggies, and is complimented with a healthy fat in the avocado. It’s a win-win. While easy to make, this dish is also very adaptable. You can add thinly sliced radishes, sprinkle on chopped green onions, or add crunchy jicama fries on the side.
Super Simple Tuna Salad
Stir all the ingredients in a mixing bowl until well combined. I serve this salad on top of a bed of greens but it is so yummy it can be eaten alone.
Few of us have a job, what you do to earn money, that you absolutely love all the time. It is called work because it is just that, work. Comparing work to food, usually doesn't have us calling for chocolate cake. Work is like eating anchovies (unless you like anchovies).
There are ways to help make 'work' feel more enjoyable but that's another blog post.
Sometimes working at improving our health feels like we have to eat anchovies but it doesn't have to. Improving your health should feel more like eating cake.
Here are three tips to improving your health feel more like eating cake:
1. Small starts, quick rewards. Create a system where you and your partner have to do small tasks and in return you get a small reward. For example, I can and I will drink 16 ounces of water and then I will eat breakfast. Or I will plan my meals the day before so that I can make getting to work on time more achievable. The smaller the task, the better, so you won't delay starting. Also small tasks done consistently over time reap a big payoff.
2. Recruit a friend or family member to join you. Two is much better than one in many ways. Humans are social creatures and you can use that to your advantage. Agree to set daily or weekly goals, and check in with each other daily. Share the work and set rewards for hitting your goals. Encourage each other and help each other when someone is faltering.
3. Get excited daily. It's easy to be excited about a project or goal when you first start, but that can die out. Renew your goal each day. Start by setting a goal for the day that you can accomplish and that you care about. Find inspiration, visualize your accomplishment, find some music that motivates you, find an inspirational quote or video ... anything to get you excited to accomplish your goal for the day! Don't forget to share it with your partner.
Better health doesn't have to feel like swallowing your daily dose of anchovies, you can actually enjoy it.
To your best health,