In terms of true behavior change, it’s important not to bite of more than you can chew. We actually see long term success coming from choosing ONE goal, being mindful and diligent in improving in that ONE area and THEN moving on to something else. So often we hear from guests that have gone home and 2 weeks in feel like they have “fallen off the wagon”. 9 times out of 10, it’s because they made too many changes all at once instead of working through concerns one at a time.
I tell the guests each week to keep their nutrition goals realistic and sustainable. Is this something you can see yourself doing in a month from now? Now, anything that is new will feel foreign and different and will definitely take work and effort. Being “hard” is different than being “realistic”. You can absolutely have a realistic and sustainable goal that may mean putting in more work and effort.
I offer the idea of starting with the goal of including a fruit or a vegetable each time you eat, and when you eat, start the meal or snack with whatever fruit or vegetable you have chosen. This employs the principles of Nutrient Density vs Calorie Density, which is the fundamental nutrition philosophy we teach at the Resort.
Including a fruit or a vegetable each time you eat may mean planning ahead. In the era of technology and convenience, planning ahead has become a lost art. This doesn’t need to be militant and rigid and eat up hours and hours of your weekend. In fact, I will promise that whatever amount of time invest prepping a few things on the weekend will be paid back in less time spent during the week in preparing and worrying about what you are going to eat.
Below are a few ideas on how to make meeting this goal more convenient during a busy work week:
- Cut up 3 or 4 different fruits to make a fruit bowl that you can easily take portions of to work with meals, add to breakfasts, use as snacks or desserts.
- Make a large pan of roasted vegetables that can easily be added to chicken and potatoes, rice and beans or pasta dishes. One less thing to think about, and ensures that the most nutrient dense part of the meal isn’t forgotten!
- Use low sodium canned or frozen vegetables
- Stock up on frozen fruit and veggies, it’s often cheaper and will store indefinitely. That way, even if you didn’t make it to the store, you can still have fruits and vegetables on hand to use!
- Add greens to your smoothies
- Make a large salad to add to lunches or dinners. Make it colorful and flavorful (click the link for ideas) so you will look forward to eating it!
- Utilize easily tranported fruit like bananas, apples and oranges, and maybe even keep them at work!
- Come straight home from the grocery store and wash and chop all produce so you can skip that step once it’s time to eat.
- Baby carrots are all ready to eat. Pair with hummus and/or crackers for a snack. (Mary’s Gone Crackers, Hope hummus and baby carrots pictured – with a little hand trying to sneak it 🙂
- Use the pre-chopped fruits and veggies at the grocery store to save time.
- Assign washing and chopping to teenage children (or spouses) – it’s good to delegate and they will benefit from learning how to do it for themselves!
- Hire a college or highschool student to help you prepare meals and snacks.
I hope these ideas have been helpful. What others would you add?
Emily Fonnesbeck RD, CD