‘Tis the season for holiday gatherings, festive foods, and busy schedules! With all those tempting treats around, however, does that mean that your health and nutrition goals have to be put on hold until it’s time for a New Year’s Resolution? Or is there a way to still stay (at least sort of) on top of eating well, even in the midst of all the hustle and bustle?
*Cue another shameless plug for meal planning*
As anyone who has looked around on the blog knows, I am a huge proponent of meal planning. And a key part of success in meal planning is scheduling days/times for some undistracted time in the kitchen doing meal prep. The following are some of my top tips for getting that done even in the midst of a very busy December!
Tip #1: Look at your calendar before you go grocery shopping
I’ve found this to be key for me! There is almost nothing more frustrating than going out and getting a whole bunch of fresh produce or meat, only to remember that you will not be home for dinner for three or four nights in the next week! Or getting home and then realizing that you’re supposed to bring an appetizer to that party on Friday, or hosting company for dinner tomorrow, and have none of the ingredients you need. Save yourself the headache by checking your schedule (and meal planning accordingly!) before you head out for groceries.
Tip #2: Plan ahead to meet your nutrition goals
Are you trying to get your 10 servings of fruits and veggies every day? Or cut down on carbs? Or stay within a certain calorie intake limit? Plan ahead with your meal plan and meal prep how to make that work with your holiday schedule. Will you eat at home before the party so you aren’t tempted? Will you save up as many of your “cheats” as possible for that evening out, making sure to eat really clean beforehand so you can go ahead and indulge guilt-free? Or are you a middle-of-the-road, everything-in-moderation type person? If you have specific goals you are working on, they don’t have to fall by the wayside during the holiday season – it just takes a little more planning!
Tip #3: Schedule time to prep
Regardless of how many fun and epic things you want to pack into the month, you still need to eat! Do yourself a favour and book off two or three hours at the beginning of the month and again near the middle to do your meal prepping – washing, peeling, chopping, and even roasting veggies; baking; meat marinating or roasting; whipping up casseroles, etc. It will be much less stressful, and probably save you on food waste and grocery money, if you simply schedule a bit longer block of time here and there to do the prep work so your everyday meals are quicker to throw together.
Tip #4: Make the most of non-perishable options
No post would be complete without mention of one of my kitchen favourites – freeze-dried food! Why not scoop from a can and spare yourself the hassle of chopping an onion and using it all up before it takes on the smells in your fridge or turns squishy? Why get “fresh” spinach that already has almost all the vitamins leached out of it by the time it reaches your fridge, when you could just scoop from a can and add that flavour and green deliciousness with all the nutrition of just-picked garden spinach? Using freeze-dried food saves me hours on meal prep time, and it still boggles my mind that something that convenient could actually be better and more nutritious than a lot of “fresh” produce options!
Tip #5: Keep healthy snacks most readily available
Set yourself up for healthy eating success, even in the midst of all the tempting treats the holidays have to offer. Keep a big bowl of mandarin oranges on your counter, just a little closer to you than the chocolate. Have veggies prepped and ready in your fridge so they are convenient for snacking. If you bake, try reducing the sugar or swapping it out for honey. Enjoy seasonal treats like pomegranates alongside your cheese ball, or try some kale chips to balance out that caramel popcorn. My philosophy has always been to enjoy the seasonal treats I love, but just dilute them as much as possible with lots of fruits and veggies!
Tip #6: Drink your fruits and veggies
On that same note, why not make it as easy as possible to get those fruits and veggies? What if you could get four servings of fruits and veggies every day with absolutely no meal prep whatsoever? That’s what I’ve been able to do since I started drinking RUVI! It literally is the easiest way you could possibly imagine to get top-quality produce into your body in a matter of seconds! I know that my holiday diet is going to be vastly better this year simply due to RUVI and how easy it is!
Do you meal prep? What are your top tips for eating well during the holidays? Share your comments below!