Sunday, January 4, 2009

Baby Steps - Meal Planning

I have successfully planned and prepared 75% of my meals and snacks for the week:

  • I made Indian Spiced Chickpea and Fire Roasted Tomato Soup. This soup is so cheap and easy to make. It's one of those healthy meals that make you wonder if you are cheating because it tastes so good. Three different people have tried it and loved it. Of course I had to add my twist, so I add fresh chopped cilantro and parsley, more fresh garlic, garlic powder, and some garam masala. I also grind the chickpeas coarsely for texture as well as blend a couple of cups of the soup to make it thicker. This will be lunch along with pita chips and baby carrots.

  • I made five baggies of strawberries, grapes, and cherries.

  • I have greek yogurt for my 3 pm snacks. I plan on topping it with fresh blueberries and sunflower and pumpkin seeds.

  • I also made oatmeal with golden raisins and dried cranberries. I added vanilla soymilk, maple syrup (1 tb), brown sugar, vanilla extract, and vanilla protein powder.

I am so proud of myself! This was inspired by Bicycle Girl's Facebook suggestion to pack healthy snacks for the week. When I read that, along with her weight loss success, I thought to myself "Well that's easy, at least I can do that." I took it a step further and added the lunch and breakfast.

I also read an interesting quote from SparkPeople that inspired me:

"Millions of people hope to lose weight. Only a few actually prepare for it. They treat it like a treasure hunt, setting off on a quest and hoping it'll all work out. No wonder the dieting failure rate hovers near 95%. Any time you've reached a meaningful goal, it was because you were ready for it…"

In readiness is much preparation. This reinforced the importance of planning my meals in advance. Part of the reason I've gained weight in the past is because I routinely made poor food choices. I now know that if I leave my meals up to chance, I'll most likely choose something horrible. However, if I put in the effort to plan healthy meals for the week, meals that I know I will eat and that taste good, I will have more of a chance of success.

For example, I buy a lot of food that I feel I should buy because they are good for me or because they are good diet foods. Apples are the perfect example - fiber / apple a day / chewing / cheap / variety / blah blah blah. But I don't always eat them because they aren't always appealing to me. Apples are cool; I don't dislike them, but I don't LOVE them. This week I reached for the apples out of habit, but I thought to myself, what kind of fruit do I LOVE? I love berries and grapes, but I usually don't buy them b/c they are expensive in relation to other fruit. So do I waste the cheap fruit or buy and eat the expensive fruit? I ended up buying cherries, strawberries, blueberries, and grapes. I KNOW I will eat those...and they're so damn pretty (I'm such a visual person, lol).

I am still sticking with my basic goal of exercising 30 minutes at least 3x a week (for the past month I've done way more than that). Now I am adding meal planning. Every Sunday (or Saturday) I will prepare healthy snacks and cook one dish for the week.