There is a saying—If you fail to plan you’ve planned to fail.
I think this applies to healthy eating as well. To succeed at cleaning up your eating habits, it is important to create a healthy eating plan. Doing so has a variety of benefits:
- It represents a commitment to healthy eating. Once you put your plan down on paper – or in an electronic document – you have announced your attention. It is so much easier to hold yourself accountable when your goals are written down.
- Creating the plan forces you to think through the process. Thinking about your diet is the first step in improving it. Creating a plan forces you to complete that step.
- The plan gives you a roadmap. It’s so much easier to start on a healthy eating routine if you have already thought through how you will execute it.
- It eliminates excuses. With a meal plan, there is no excuse for not being prepared to eat healthy.
At the TMJ and Sleep Therapy Center, we have adopted a meal plan and activity guide that anyone can use. By first entering the day’s activities, you can anticipate when you will have limited time to prepare and consume healthy meals.
For example, if soccer practice Tuesday night is going to limit meal prep time, you can prepare a healthy meal Monday with enough for leftovers.
If this feels too time consuming, ask yourself this: what is holding you back from taking 30 minutes-a-week to plan a healthy menu for your family?
Once the plan is in place, the key to success is to shop for groceries that keep you on track. We have devised a grocery list that is easy to follow. The list only includes clean foods that make up a healthy diet. For ideas about clean eating meals, visit our Clean Eating page and browse the wide variety of recipes.
If you are considering a food item that doesn’t fit in any category, that’s a big red flag. You probably shouldn’t buy or eat it.
Use the meal plan to guide your purchases so that even if you’re tempted to cheat, you only have nutritious offerings in the house.
One misconception that you will quickly dispel once you start shopping this way is that healthy eating has to be expensive. Although organically-raised meat and fresh vegetables cost more than processed foods, preparing your own meals is far less expensive than eating out at fast food outlets.
Shopping healthy is easier than ever with shopping apps for your phone and store pickup services. The apps can even tell you what is on sale near you.
The bottom line is this: A little planning each week can help you make major improvements in your family’s diet, and ultimately in their health. That’s worth a few extra minutes, isn’t it?