By Liz Cornell, RD

 

It’s 6:00 pm and you’ve just walked in the door. You’re starving and you’ve got 20 minutes to get a healthy, nutritious meal on the table before a serious meltdown of your willpower occurs and you head to the freezer for some ice cream!

 

After working hard all day, the idea of catching up on your sleep or crashing on the couch with a bag of chips is much more appealing than going to the supermarket. But taking some initiative can make your life easier and less stressful in the long run. For starters, making a simple grocery list and meal plan for the week will save you the hassle of going on multiple treks to the supermarket or resorting to unhealthy foods. And if you take a few minutes to create a meal plan during your free time, you can put together a string of fabulous and healthy meals that will make you happy all week long.

 

Keep in mind that in order to successfully lose weight and maintain that weight loss you must plan meals or snacks ahead of time. You will be less likely to eat unhealthy foods, which are loaded with calories from sugar and fat. Stop relying on the vending machine at work and instead stock your fridge or your desk with appropriate snacks that are low in calories but high in satisfying protein. These choices can include a variety of options such as: raw vegetables, hummus, Greek yogurt, high fiber fruit such as pear or apple with peanut butter, string cheese stick, hardboiled egg, cottage cheese, almonds, pistachios, edamame, or a protein supplement. Having these options available sets you up for successful food choices when those temptations seem to be calling your name.

 

Keeping it simple is the best strategy when it comes to planning meals. Focus on preparing protein and vegetables, which will lead to satisfying and healthy choices. Try to cook a large amount of lean protein on the weekend that can be used for leftovers in different meals throughout the week. For example, cook baked chicken in excess to have later for a meal with cooked vegetables and then use what’s left for things such as chicken tacos, chicken and bean soup, chicken salad, and BBQ shredded chicken. By cooking all of your protein in one night, it allows you to have many additional nights of creative leftovers This allows you to whip up a meal in no time for you and your family to enjoy together.