Fall is upon us. Days are getting shorter, but that doesn’t mean we are less busy. In fact, most of us get busier. Kids go back to school, teachers go back to work, sports teams start the new season and life can become more hectic for parents. Planning ahead can help reduce stress and keep your body running optimal. I feel for most people this is where they tend to fail when trying to eat healthier, they don’t plan ahead. It’s almost a joke with my family – I don’t leave the house without snacks like nuts, meat slices, or a protein drink; I’m not about to get stuck somewhere with my only options being fast food. When we travel, my family knows at least one bag is full of healthy food, and they know who to sit next to!
We all know that fast food is not healthy. It’s full of chemicals, bad fats, too many carbohydrates, it’s addicting, and expensive. By bringing snacks and a home made lunch with us we can keep our blood sugar stable, enabling us to make good decisions and have energy throughout the day.
Here are some tips to help you make better choices:
- When you cook, cook more than what you need for that meal. You are cooking anyway, so cook enough for 2-3 extra meals. This way you will have a pre-made lunch for the next day. Cook the whole chicken instead of just the breast or thighs, a pork roast with vegetables instead of pork chops, a crock pot full of stew or the largest kettle you have for soup. We all have freezers so use them.
- Also for your freezer, stock up on organic vegetables. They are so easy when in a hurry. Just drop them in soups, add to stir fry’s, scrambled eggs, or throw in some bacon and saute’. Quick, easy, and healthy!
- After dinner as you are cleaning up – pack tomorrows breakfast, lunch, snacks and whatever you and your family need the next day. Get glass or stainless steel containers and water bottles, use real silverware, and put the food in the refrigerator ready for the next day. There are so many cute lunch boxes to use, find one that makes you happy. Even if you are just running errands, pack a snack, it’s too easy to buy that muffin when hungry! Until you make a habit of this, put a sticky note out to remind you to grab your food.
- Eat enough protein and fats at breakfast to start your day. Coffee , cereal and milk, or a muffin does not work. How you start your morning sets up your whole day. These are all processed carbohydrates that will increase your blood sugar fast. What goes up must come down so as insulin is released blood sugar drops fast! Now it’s mid morning and you need something to help you think and make it to lunch. You grab the easiest carbohydrate (granola bar, fruit, yogurt or bagel) and blood sugar spikes back up. You are now on the blood sugar roller coaster and will spend the whole day up and down. This makes it difficult to focus and keep your weight healthy.
By adding in protein and fat blood sugar levels will stay stable, you can go longer without eating and your brain will have a steady flow of nutrients. Plan 20-35 grams of protein and 2-4 T. of fats per meal.
I do get asked what to eat for breakfast. Again, the key here is to plan ahead. Breakfast comes every morning; don’t let it sneak up on you. We need to let go of the idea that breakfast needs to be a carbohydrate crash meal full of bread, cereal, and dairy. You are breaking your fast from the last 12 hours, your brain is starving for protein and fats, so give it what it needs!
- After dinner, put organic whole oats in a bowl to soak overnight, in the morning add lots of butter, cinnamon, nuts, coconut milk and fry up some uncured (nitrate free) bacon.
- Cook sausages while cleaning up dinner so you just need to reheat them in the morning. Add hard-boiled eggs.
- Put together some nuts, coconut flakes, hemp seeds, and cinnamon in full fat plain organic yogurt. Add sliced turkey or nitrate free bacon.
- Make a frittata with lots of veggies and olives on the weekends. Just heat in the morning.
- Turkey roll ups with avocado
- Dinner leftovers
- Soups, stews, chili
- Meat and cheese slices with olives and cherry tomatoes
- Left over chicken leg with olives and cucumbers
- Devil eggs with a home made coconut flour muffin.
For kids, breakfast can be a challenge. They are often tired, not always hungry in the morning, and usually running late. I’m sorry, but cold cereal and milk just doesn’t work. It’s like serving a bowl of white sugar. How are they supposed to do their best? Within two hours, their blood sugar has dropped and they need more sugar (crackers,fruit) to keep going or they get grumpy and fall asleep in class.
Talk with your kids. What foods do they like that are not carbohydrate based? Maybe they will eat a bowl of soup. Find a nice soup thermos and send it with them, or have it ready. You can arrange some meat and cheese with olives on a plate the night before or packed in a to-go container. Or even scrambled eggs and sausage in a gluten-free tortilla, ready to-go. When you involve them they learn to take control of their health, become responsible and most likely will eat the food.
I remember when my kids were in high school. They would tell me how other kids went without breakfast, then mid-morning would grab a giant cookie and pop or wait for the huge plate of French Fries at lunch. Believe me, they are not focusing. I know we can’t control what our kids eat away from home, but when they are fed healthy food at home, they get in the habit. Their brain chemistry is more balanced so they can make better choices and won’t go for sugary foods as often, if at all.
Another option is protein drinks. They are fast, portable, and are great for breakfast, after school, or sports. Choose from whey, egg whites, hemp, non-GMO beef, just keep it organic.
For the “always late” group, have all the dry ingredients mixed the night before – in the morning add the liquid, blend and go. Make sure there are at least 20-25 grams of protein, along with fats such as coconut milk, almond milk, organic whole cows milk, coconut oil or MCT oil, hemp seeds, avocado, and nut butters. Just don’t add more than one piece of fruit, (1/2 cup of berries), or use fruit juice, as it’s too much sugar.
So start off this fall with less stress and be healthy – by planning
Great energy is my wish for you,
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