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As we get deeper into the nutrition challenge, planning becomes even more important to be successful.  There are a lot of outside factors working against us on our quest to be healthy, not just for these 30 days but on an ongoing basis.  Here are a few things you can do to up your planning and nutrition game this winter.

Plan your menu one week out, and create a shopping list

Taking the time to sit down and pencil out what you plan to eat all week (breakfast, lunch, dinner & snacks) is absolutely critical in keeping your house stocked with the right food.  As easy as it might be to say I’m going to make chicken and sweet potatoes this week for all the meals, by the time you get 2 days in it’s going to be hard to talk yourself into day 3 of the same old same for every single meal.  You are also likely leaving something on the table nutrition wise if you lack variety. Maybe you have the same lunch plan, but a try to vary dinners to keep it exciting and get lots of nutrients.  Eitherway set a plan that looks appetizing to you, and create your list.  You can most certainly make big portions of certain foods (think chili and pasta sauce) and freeze them for a week or 2 down the road to keep up the variety without increasing prep time.

Pick a time for your weekly grocery store trips & STICK TO THE LIST

If you’ve done your menu planning and list creating, this should be a fairly quick painless experience.  If you can avoid showing up to the store while hungry I would recommend it.  We’ve all attempted to stick to a list while hangry in a grocery store that’s crowded….that usually ends with half a bag of goldfish gone before you get through the checkout line…or is that just me? Eitherway, pick a time (preferably shortly after a meal) to shop, and stick to your list!

Meal Prep Days – Pick them and stick to them

If you are a 9-5er than Sundays work great for this! I tend to plan my list Friday evenings, shop Saturdays, and then spend my Sunday afternoon meal prepping so I am ready to go for the week.  Find a way to portion those meals out for the week as you go as well.  Ideally when you are done with your meal prep you have lots of meals already portioned out in Tupperware you can quickly grab on your way out the door to get you through the week.  This is very important for lunch and snacks, and if you have the Tupperware to put the right portions for all the meals I would encourage you to do so for breakfast & dinner as well.

Eating out

While eating at home is the easiest way to know you are eating a completely clean/paleo meal we understand that isn’t always realistic.  If you know you will be going out to eat in the coming week, plan accordingly.  Just about every restaurant nowadays has an online menu.  Look at that menu, and have a game plan of what you plan to order before you get there.  If you have a say in where you go, throw out an option you know has some paleo or healthy options.  If not aim for the meats that are grilled vs fried, fresh foods/veggies vs mashed potatoes or foods that could hide lots of the fake (albeit tasty) stuff.  You may have to ask for no cheese or dressing on the side, but most places will accept those requests.

Basically if you wanna win that prize money, you gotta be a woman (or man) with a plan, and keep crushin it in the kitchen!

-Coach Courtney