Meal Prep vs Food Prep? Either Way You Win

Meal Prep vs Food Prep? Either Way You Win

You know those pretty pictures you see on Instagram or Pinterest with someone’s meals prepared for the whole week? Maybe you think “wow, I should do that too.“

The Sunday meal prep phenomenon

Then after weeks of thinking about it, you buckle down one Sunday afternoon, spend 3 hours in the kitchen, and get the meals for the next 5-workdays chopped, prepped, cooked, and stored in individual containers. By Wednesday, you’re so over the brown rice, broccoli, and baked chicken that your favorite go-to takeout spots are looking better and better.

First of all, you’re not alone. This is completely normal. Our human brains thrive on a variety of nutrients; therefore, when we eat the same meal day-after-day, we get less pleasure each time we eat that dish. You may grin and bear it in an effort not to waste food (or the time you spent preparing the meals); however, consciously or subconsciously you may decide this meal prep thing just ain’t for you.

But I still want to eat at home more

Maybe eating the same meal(s) day-after-day did not pan out, but there are other options.

Last summer, I spoke with a client who decided to pull all of her favorite cookbooks out and prepare 3-4 new recipes each week. She came back a month later, feeling defeated, and expressed disappointment that she had only tried 2 new recipes total since our previous appointment. It turns out that she had a busy work schedule that included traveling at least two weeks out of the month and did not give her much downtime to try cooking new foods.

Together, we talked about options and solutions and I proposed she consider simplifying her food prep plans. All the recipes in cookbooks and Insta inspiration are great, but instead of thinking about preparing an entire meal we can start by incorporating food prep vs. meal prep.

What’s the difference between food prep and meal prep?

Whenever you think of a meal, I hope you picture the Well Balanced Nutrition plate, including half the plate filled with non-starchy vegetables (and/or fruits), happy protein, complex carbs, and a delicious fat to bring it all together.

I will admit, it can be overwhelming to think of incorporating all of the things, all the time. Each time you eat is an opportunity to practice becoming Well Balanced. Instead of preparing meals with every component of the plate, I recommend starting with food prep. This can include making 2-3 dishes that you can later mix-and-match to combine into a meal. For instance, you can prepare a few servings of chicken salad to eat with a simple mixed greens salad or sliced cucumber and whole grain crackers. There is almost always a batch of quinoa or rice in my fridge, which can easily turn into a power bowl or Brown Rice Salsa Salad.

Meal prep may look like this…

Food prep may look like this…

Food for thought

If you’ve been beating yourself up for not being a meal prep superstar this is a good chance to (1) be nice to yourself because we each need to figure out our own system. Next, (2) consider trying food prep instead of meal prep. Pick a few items you already feel confident preparing and try making those this week.

Not sure where to get started? No worries, we’re here to help 🙂

How quickly can I lose weight the healthy way?

How quickly can I lose weight the healthy way?

Have you ever wondered… how do I lose weight fast?

You aren’t alone. Many people are searching for the magic pill or a secret sauce that can help them get the body they want – like by tomorrow. Unfortunately, drastic weight loss that is kept off is seldom attainable. In fact, if we look at research studies on weight loss (from various diets and methods) we find that roughly 80% of people who shed a substantial portion of their body fat will not maintain that degree of weight loss for 12 months. 

What is a safe rate of weight loss?

The general recommendation is 1-2 lbs per week.*  Slow and steady wins the race. Even at a slower rate, it is important to be wise about your approach and make changes that are more likely to last. Unfortunately, many people will regain some or all of weight loss regardless of how quick or slow it came off.*

What amount of weight loss is realistic and appropriate for health outcomes?

Research indicates that for people who are in the overweight or obese BMI category, a weight loss of 10% of their body weight over a 6 month period is appropriate.* This amount is likely to bring about improvements in blood pressure, blood cholesterol, and blood sugars. It’s debatable whether it is the weight loss or the healthy habits that one adopts to lose weight that really impacts health.

The best approach is wellness-focused not weight loss focused.

At Well Balanced Nutrition, we don’t recommend any trendy diets that promise to help you drop weight fast, but we do have a solution to help you feel better about your body. Our solution, the Well Balanced approach, is not just about the food you eat or the number on the scale. We want to see you healthy and happy, and we know you don’t have to drop 4 pant sizes to achieve that. By accepting yourself, improving your habits from a place of self-compassion, working on attainable action steps, embracing the journey and having some fun along the way, you’ll no longer need to strive for unrealistic ideals or fall for another fad diet attempt. Are you looking for solutions? Take the first step today.


2 steps to shake-off added sugar

2 steps to shake-off added sugar

Monday, Dec 18, 2017
But it’s a holiday! Birthday! Vacation! Or we’re celebrating! The fact is, there is always a good excuse to eat unbalanced food – especially sugar.
As we wrap up another year and holiday season, it is a good opportunity to press the reset button and take a closer look at our eating habits. Hopefully, you have been practicing mindful and intuitive eating this season and enjoying every morsel of those special holiday foods. Of course, when there are more celebrations around the corner it’s hard to stay balanced at each meal. Also, if you and the family found yourselves constantly on-the-go these past few weeks that may mean more fast food and less time to cook.
Let’s refocus and refresh
Step 1: Get honest with yourself. Ask yourself, “How much added-sugar do I really eat?”
Sometimes, it’s hard to tell. Maybe there’s a little bit of honey in your morning oats. A little added sugar in the salad dressing at lunch. A little more sugar in the bread of the half sandwich you ate with the salad. A little bit in the afternoon granola bar. Even if you don’t consider yourself “a sweet-tooth person“ you could be taking in more sugar than you realize. Sugar enhances the flavor of foods and entices our taste buds to keep eating. That is one reason why food manufacturers keep adding it to so many of our favorite things. Especially, as the nation went to low-fat or non-fat foods our pallets compromised by enjoying more sugar. Now we know, fat is our friend.
Important to note, at Well-Balanced Nutrition, we do not treat sugar as the enemy. The goal is to identify where sugar is sneaking into your diet so you can mindfully choose to eat it or leave it alone. This gives our taste buds the chance to reset and notice the natural sweetness of fruits, vegetables, cream (instead of sugar in the coffee), and even some whole grains such as oats are naturally sweet.
Here’s a video about the New Years Well-Balanced Challenge coming up on Jan 1. We hope you’ll join us on this exciting adventure!
Step 2: Clean it out.
If you decide to join our Well-Balanced Challenge and no sugar added journey we want to provide the parameters of success. In order to succeed, we need to clean out the cupboards and fridge of those foods that have added sugar. If you cannot bear to toss it out at least move everything out of reach. Perhaps putting foods into a concealed bag and a hard to reach cupboard. This step is crucial for your success. Many of us try to depend on willpower, only to later experience the call of the sugar monster at those unexpected hours of the day and night. By eliminating the temptations from your office and kitchen you can then fill in with lots of yummy natural foods that provide the fuel your body and mind needs. There’s even a 2-week meal plan to guide you on the journey!
Let us know if you have any questions or click here to join the challenge today.
Riding the crave wave – a mindful eating strategy

Riding the crave wave – a mindful eating strategy

Food cravings are tricky. Have you noticed that some just can’t be ignored? You know, when you crave something specific like a brownie, and you try to satisfy the craving with something else that’s a little healthier, let’s say yogurt or a granola bar because you are working so hard to stick to your goals. But then you still can’t stop thinking about that brownie. You might try several things to appease the desire, but nothing seems to work. Your craving remains and you finally give in.  In those cases, it’s just best to have that brownie in the first place instead of having several alternatives, only to eventually indulge in the brownie anyway. You end up eating more unnecessary calories when you try to ignore an intense craving like that.

But what about those less intense cravings?

Like those silly cookies in the breakroom that are only a distraction but look so tempting. If we gave into ALL our cravings ALL the time, we could be setting ourselves up for excessive weight gain or unbalanced eating, especially over the holiday season. Here is a technique called the CRAVE WAVE that can help you manage your urges.

Go through this exercise first and then decide if your craving needs to be satisfied or you can let it ride. 

  1. Acknowledge and name the craving: “Oooh chocolate…I definitely want that chocolate cake right now.”
  2. Visualize yourself riding the crave wave: Instead of letting the waves of the craving crash down on you and suck you in, picture yourself jumping on your surfboard, riding out the wave and safely coming back to shore. It might sound cheesy, but this imagery is a powerful thing.
  3. Refocus your attention: Walk away from the food, busy your hands, write down your current thoughts, slowly take five deep breaths or any other activity that can redirect your attention. Congrats. You just rode the crave wave!

If you need some more guidance on dealing with your cravings, let us know!

Who is on your team? 4 ways to get more helpers

Who is on your team? 4 ways to get more helpers

Monday, Aug 21, 2017

The other night, while reading Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire, I got to thinking about my people. You know, the ones that make life more fun, doable, and interesting. I joke that God knows I am such a handful I needed two partners – one in life and one in business. 

If you have ever been through tough times, you know how important relationships are. Whether it’s the relationships with your family, best friends, or church community we all want to know that we matter and have a sense of belonging. In Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the need to feel loved and accepted is just above the need to be safe. 

Back to Harry Potter, in the fourth book – The Goblet of Fire – Harry is competing in the Triwizard tournament. He is at least three years younger than his competitors and has less magical education, knowledge, and experience. Luckily, Harry has several helpers along his journey to give him the support he needs. For instance, his best friend, Hermione, helps them learn a summoning charm to successfully complete the first challenge. He also gets a tip from one of his fellow competitors for the second challenge, and so on throughout the story.

We cannot expect to reach our big goals alone. It is imperative to have support and help from others to succeed. 

Who are you hanging out with?

Jim Rohn, a motivational speaker, says we are all the sum of the five people we spend the most time with. If your goal is to be fit and active, but all your social time is spent sitting at a friends house eating snack foods and drinking wine, is that helping you reach your goal? 

In another example, we can look at Sarah’s story. Sarah has always been a healthy eater who also happens to enjoy sweets. She recently started dating a guy who loves all things chocolate. He takes candy with him everywhere and often brings chocolate to share with Sarah whenever they hang out. In the first six months of their relationship, Sarah was surprised to find she gained 8 pounds. 

In life, there are helpers and hinderers when it comes to living well-balanced. We have friends and accomplices. Our friends genuinely want to help us and our accomplices want to help us… get in trouble. 

Be the change

Before you go saying farewell to all of your friends or family members, let’s consider a few other options.

  • Find a helper. Get someone on your team to support your health initiatives. This can be an accountability partner at the gym that encourages you to work out consistently. Or a coworker that is keeping a spreadsheet of your progress. 
  • Join the tribe! We have an active and fabulous Facebook group that provides ideas and encouragement to help you make healthy lifestyle changes.
  • Train your people. I have a client who has successfully “trained” his guy friends that he does not drink alcohol on work nights. That means they do not offer him a beer or other drink if it’s Sunday through Thursday.  This helps him continue to make good choices while still enjoying the social time. 
  • Get accountability. Find a friend, coach, or app that can support and encourage your healthy habits.

Food for thought: It’s never too late to ask for help. If you noticed your partner bringing more snack foods home lately and it’s affecting your habits, perhaps now is a good time to have a conversation about your goals and how the ones that love you most can help you reach them.

And while you’re at it, check out this accountability tool to help you get or stay on track! Just a few more days to sign up for 4 free weeks of the Healthy Habit Tracker.