Did you know we make 35,000 decisions a day! Isn't that exhausting just reading it? Of those decisions, we make 200 food and drink related decisions per day, according to a Cornell study. So if we are making so many decisions about food and drinks every single day, what stops us from making healthy decisions? It turns out we are mostly on auto-pilot. That's right! We simply don't think about it.
The study states that we are influenced by our surroundings, such as:
Who we are eating with
The options in front of us, such as a buffet line or a supermarket food station
How big the plate we are eating off of is
Lack of time
So how do we change this? Since we probably can't do much about our surroundings, let's face it our daily lives are all about routine, we have to get the kids off to school and we have to go to work and we have to come home and make decisions about dinner.
To make change in our routine so it becomes our new normal, we have to start slow. I didn't become plant-based overnight. I started slowly. I made the decision to eat one day per week without meat. Then, I worked my way up to 3 or 4 days per week. Notice how I have an option built into the decision I made? I don't strictly say I must have 3 days a week where I don't eat meat. I give myself the option to have 3 or 4 days.
By having options when we are learning a new routine, it makes it easier to stick to it. Plus, life happens! We can't always stick to our healthy decisions all the time. We have to be flexible and not beat ourselves up if our routine goes awry. Just know that you can start again when the time is right.
One way we can make healthier food and drink choices is to meal plan. I know, meal planning is not sexy nor is it easy to do all the time. But if you start slowly and get others involved, meal planning can easily become part of your routine.
Meal planning has a lot of health benefits that you will notice over time as you do it frequently. When you choose to eat and drink healthy, your digestive tract, immune system and overall health will be better. You will be better able to avoid colds, flu, your digestive system will process food more efficiently and you will absorb nutrients better.
One way you can tell if you need to improve gut health is if you suffer from bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation, moodiness, fatigue, bloating, brain fog or abdominal pain. When we eat processed foods, a lot of meat, very few vegetables and fruits, our digestive system suffers right away.
Our bodies want to be healthy and fight for our health every single day. But when we don't feed our body the nutrients it wants, it becomes tired trying to fight the unhealthy foods we put into our body. This is a strain on our health and results in illness and disease.
If you want to start a simple program to overcome the embarrassing symptoms of an unhealthy gut, I am here to help!
I am a Certified Holistic Nutritionist teaching others how to stop suffering and get back to living. I offer a 30 minute FREE consultation, where we can talk about how you are feeling and how the Simply Great Gut Health plan can help.
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Back to meal planning! I challenge you to pick one day during the week where you plan what you and your family are going to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I think lunch is the biggest challenge for meal planning. Here's why:
Breakfast, we often decide if we are going to eat or not. Lunch, we normally are not home. We are at the office or at school or in the car running errands. This leaves us to make unhealthy choices if we have not planned to bring something with us for lunch. Dinner is also an easier decision as long as you have staples at home that can be cooked quickly.
Below I share with you quick and healthy lunch recipes to use while meal planning. Also, a section on easy, healthy foods that you can travel with in case you don't have the opportunity to make and bring a lunch with you.
When I know I am not going to be able to eat a healthy lunch, I carry various foods with me so that I can eat something healthy.
FRESH FRUIT: Bananas, apples, grapes and strawberries are easy to pack and carry.
SLICED VEGETABLES: Carrot sticks, celery sticks, sliced cucumbers and even broccoli florets can be put into a plastic bag or storage container for easy snacking.
PROTEIN DRINKS: These can make great meal replacements and keeps you full. Just watch out for added sugars. Some drinks can be high in them.
Easy Chicken Stir Fry from Mom On Time Out. Stir fry's are so simple. Make it for dinner and make plenty of extra for lunch. I rely a lot on frozen vegetables to help make the stir fry healthy and cut down on both chopping and cooking time. Meal prep idea: on the weekend chop up the fresh vegetables you will use in the stir fry and store them in the refrigerator until needed.
Vegan Veggie Wraps from Create Mindfully are versatile and flavorful because if you don't have wraps handy, you can simply put this on two slices of bread.
Tuna Stuffed Tomatoes from Food Faith Fitness. A unique way to eat tuna that isn't boring and doesn't involve bread! If tomatoes aren't in season, you could also stuff a yummy red, yellow or green pepper with the tuna. Another fun idea for lunch.
Vegetarian Chili from A Couple Cooks. Chili is a great way to make a hearty lunch that is filling and healthy. If you must add meat, go ahead. I wanted to show a vegetarian version to inspire you about how good plant-based eating can be. I love making some rice to go along with chili. There are very quick organic products now available on the market, such as Seeds Of Change, so you don't have to spend a lot of time making this dish.
There you have it! Quick foods to take with you when you don't have time to eat lunch and lunch recipes for when you do.
Do you think you will try any of the above? Let me know in the comment box below.