The Power of the P’s
Throughout my career as a dietitian I’ve found a few go-to nutrition tips that are simple to follow yet highly effective for clients. These include practicing the “Plate Method” technique (making half of a meal fruits and veggies and the other half split between carbohydrate and protein), increasing water intake, and focusing on whole, plant-based foods at every meal. These are all great goals to work towards when seeking to improve health and wellness.
But a key practice that makes accomplishing these goals a little more palatable is one that I like to call “the power of the P’s-” and not the tasty little green kind, although I recommend eating those too!
These P’s stand for planning & preparation. I emphasize this important aspect of achieving and maintaining a healthy lifestyle when working with all of my clients…and try my best to practice it myself! It’s not always easy to do unless you, well… plan for it. But once you commit to the P’s, the time spent shopping, slicing, and dicing is well worth the effort and ultimately time-saving, not to mention enjoyable and even therapeutic. Read on to learn how and why to prioritize the P’s!
The most appreciated benefit of meal planning and prepping for many time-crunched individuals is that it’s a huge time and energy saver.
By carving out a couple hours to look to the week ahead and make a nutrition game-plan, you’ll not only save physical time at the grocery store and in the kitchen during busy work days, but you’ll also save brain space…or mental energy!
Instead of stressing over what and when you will eat every day come meal-time, you’ll have healthy snacks and foods easily accessible. All you have to do is tune into hunger levels and remember to grab your healthy meal or snack when your body tells you it’s time. No stressful game time decision-making when you plan ahead!
You will be more likely to eat healthier foods and reach your wellness goals if your meals and snacks are all prepped and ready-to-go. For example, if your goal is to eat more fruits and vegetables, you can have carrot sticks and apple slices on deck at the office for a quick snack. No vending machine or pricey pre-packaged and processed snacks needed!
If you’re trying to drink more water, you can have a big water bottle with lemon juice within eyesight on your desk so you’re more likely to stay hydrated with a refreshing beverage in-sight and in-mind.
If your goal is to have quick yet healthy dinners instead of take out, the big batch of quinoa and roasted veggies you prepped over the weekend can simply be reheated. Just add some beans, a veggie burger patty, hummus, and/or sliced avocado to make it more filling! Or maybe you repurpose a big pot of soup or a healthy casserole you whipped up over the weekend for a quick, delicious, and nutritious meal!
It may sound overwhelming at first- but once you harness the power of the p’s you’ll see that keeping up with your healthy habits during the week is significantly easier.
Practice the “power of the p’s”
Follow these steps to decrease stress and increase chances of sticking to your health and wellness goals during busy work weeks!
- Find the time: Pick one day during the week when you will prepare for the week. This could include time for a trip to the grocery store and prepping some meals and snacks to grab and go during the week. Do what works best for your schedule!
- Stock up: Make sure your kitchen is stocked with the essentials for the week (here’s a grocery list to help) and try to pick up ingredients for one recipe that you can prepare in a large batch to be portioned out into nutritious weekday lunches such as a hearty chili or lentil stew.
- Batch cook: Make a batch of a plain grain and one vegetable that can be reheated (or eaten cold!) throughout the week- such as whole grain pasta, brown rice, roasted squash, or sauteed cauliflower.
- Visualize your week: Will you be running out the door in the morning? Maybe you whip up a batch of overnight oats to portion out in individual jars to grab and go in the AM. Or maybe you’re sure to have some plain yogurt, nuts, and bananas in the work fridge so you can throw together a quick healthy breakfast when you arrive to the office.
Now it’s up to you to go forth and plan! (and eat your peas!)!