Taking care of your health rarely involves quick fixes.  Long-lasting wellness is the result of a commitment to self care, which requires a lot of hard work.  A large chunk of that effort takes place in the kitchen.  Good food is one of the best preventative medicines we have, so investing time in creating healthy meals for yourself is key.

It’s important to acknowledge that this is not easy.  Between work, family, and other commitments it’s easy to be tempted by convenience foods.  One thing to keep in mind is that it simply is not possible to get a healthy, balanced diet from ready-made foods.  Unless you’ve got the money to get a personal chef (what I like to call “Oprah money”), you’ve got to make it yourself!

So where to begin?  Here are some guidelines to weekly meal planning and preparation:

Your calendar is your friend.  Just like a work meeting or fitness class, schedule out times for food shopping and preparation.

Pick one weekly grocery shopping day.  Block one time out per week for grocery shopping, and stick to it.  It’s hard to make a meal with an empty fridge!

Schedule one day to stock your refrigerator with food for the week.  This is a time to pre-wash and chop your vegetables, cook a batch of beans or grains, and keep it in the fridge ready to go.  I like to have a container of whole grains, a container of prepared veggies, and a container of some kind of protein at my disposal at all times.  That way as I’m rushing to get ready for work in the morning I can put a little bit of each in a small container (usually with hot sauce on top) and have my lunch ready in a flash.

Even if you love to cook, there will be days that you don’t feel like dealing with this.  Just remember that time invested in the kitchen is time invested in your health.  Do it for your own wellbeing!
8/17/2012 03:38:58 am

Nice one Mary - what are your favorite resources for people just starting to get interested in a whole foods diet? i.e. how to stock your pantry . . .

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8/17/2012 05:57:40 am

Yes I'll definitely talk more about stocking your pantry in the future! For further reading I really like Heidi Swanson's book Super Natural Cooking. She's got a lot of good info on whole foods basics.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1587612755/heidiswanson-20

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8/18/2012 10:47:13 am

Let's partner sometime--I'd love to do a small cooking class (all fees go to a charity of the group's choice) and teach folks how to cook once and eat for the entire week.

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8/18/2012 11:17:22 pm

I love that idea!

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