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Preparation is the Key to Healthy Eating

By Dr. Renae Norton

My patients are always asking me how I manage to eat clean on such a consistent basis. They point out that when they come home from work, they are too tired to shop, prep, cook, and sometimes even too tired to eat dinner. Inevitably, they end up snacking on or eating foods that are highly processed, or worse, they give in to the fast-food temptation. Sometimes they just go for something sweet like a doughnut or brownie and call it a day.

Usually, the reason people go for the bad stuff is that they don’t have the good stuff on hand. That’s the secret. Buying ahead, prepping ahead, and never being without a healthy but entirely delicious snack or side dish is critical when it comes to healthy eating. Not only will it prevent yo-yo weight gain/loss, but it will also nurture your body and keep you safe by regulating blood sugar levels and preventing food cravings. It has the added benefit of lowering anxiety, especially the type of anxiety that leads to bingeing.

I have several tricks that I use that work well for me. In this article I would like to share them with you. 

Pick Recipes That You Enjoy the Most

For starters there are certain things that you probably enjoy eating, that you make every once in a while, but that you could make on a regular basis. My list of such deliciousness is purple coleslaw, homemade pickled beets, hard boiled eggsgranola, hummus, meatloaf, spiced oatmeal (see below) and salad fixings in the salad crisper that are always ready to throw into a bowl. I also have on hand fresh fruit, in particular bananas, apples, oranges and grapes.  Finally, I have some kind of soup frozen from a big batch that I made. My favorite is lentil soup.

Multipurpose Storage Makes Everything Easier

When I make my meatloaf, I like to freeze it in meal size freezer and oven safe storage containers. This way I just thaw, top with a very quick barbeque sauce and bake. 

Make Clean Up Easy

Another trick I use whenever I’m cooking is parchment paper. When I make my meatloaf, I line the pan with parchment paper so that when its ready all you have to do is pull the parchment paper out of the pan. No soaking or scrubbing needed in clean up. I also use parchment paper when making my granola. This not only keeps the granola from sticking to the sheet pan, but also helps to cook everything evenly and prevent burning the bottom.

Designate Time to Shop and Meal Prep

I don’t see patients on Fridays, so I usually do the grocery shopping Friday morning after I work out. If I don’t have other errands or chores to do on Friday, I prep most of the food then. If I have projects or the grandchildren, I do the grocery shopping early and prep on Saturday when I am done with my last patient. This past week I made a dozen hard-boiled eggs, purple slaw, fake pickled beets, morning oatmeal and lentil soup with beef stock.

Switch Things Up So You Don’t Get Tired

For breakfast I alternate a hard-boiled egg and a beef stick with morning oatmeal. I bought some little ceramic cups that warm up the egg and keep it warm while I read my Poldark book and eat my breakfast. Sigh! 

These little cups are great. I warm up the water to near boiling in the microwave and then I put the cold hard-boiled egg in with the little lid on top. It heats up in a minute. I use the lid on top of the little bowl of hot water when I am eating it to keep the egg warm. Bite of egg, with a bite of beef stick. Yum 

I heat the beef sticks up by putting them in a jar of very hot water as well. It may not sound that great, but I am telling you it is to die for and all you have to do is warm them up :-). 

The beef stick is Organic Valley 100% grass-fed and the eggs are pastured eggs from an organic farm share (Highland Haven Farms.)

On opposite mornings I eat homemade oatmeal. The oatmeal is four servings according to the manufacturer, but it lasts a week or more for me and is 7 or 8 servings. I make it according to Bob’s Readmill directions except that I add stevia, manuka honey, pumpkin pie spices, and a pealed diced Fuji apple. I warm it up each morning before breakfast, add a bit of raw cow’s milk and throw on some raisins and some of my homemade granola. Delicious!

Another one of my standbys is purple coleslaw.  I shred the coleslaw along with a couple of carrots and then I make my own dressing by combining avocado mayonnaise, Wedderspoon apple cider vinegar, smoked paprika, manuka honey, almond milk and green leaf stevia. It is a delicious sweet/sour dressing with a kick from the smoked paprika.  When I am ready to eat it I throw on some walnuts or some raisins or sometimes both 🙂

Another standby is my homemade hummus. I love to dip celery, carrot strips and seed-based crackers in the hummus for a snack or just a good protein. The secret to making good humus is to overcook the chickpeas and to add a tablespoon of baking soda to the water when you boil them. This makes them very mushy which is exactly what you want for creamy humus.

These simple tricks are integral to eating healthy by making it easier.  Why get fast food or fill your body with overly processed foods that are not good for you, when you could just as easily heat up a healthy pre-made meal?

Interested in Wellness Coaching or Nutritional Guidance?

Dr. Renae Norton specializes in the treatment of eating disorders. Located in Cincinnati, Ohio. Call 513-205-6543 to schedule an appointment or fill out our online contact form for someone to call you to discuss your concerns. Tele-therapy sessions available. Individual and family sessions also available.

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