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Meal Planning Made Easy!

So you want to eat heathier, but well, you just haven’t got the time! Or maybe you DO have the time, but you’re just not that into putting so much time and energy into cooking healthier meals. Hey, no need to feel bad about that at all. I am right there with you! The LAST thing on my mind after a long day is cooking.  Have no fear though! There are things you can do to make healthy eating a little easier and less daunting.

Healthy eating

  1. PURGE!
Go through your kitchen and get rid of all the “junk”. Cookies, crackers, chips, ice cream, toss it all! Now I know what your thinking! “That’s a little drastic Letisha, don’t you think??”
No, it’s not. And here’s why — Would you blow cigarette smoke in the face of someone who’s trying to quit smoking? It’s pure sabotage, right? Exactly.
So, if you’re trying to improve your diet, remove anything that is going to tempt you and sabotage your efforts.
  1. GO SHOPPING
So now that you’ve rid your kitchen of all the junk food, it’s time to fill it back up again, but this time, with healthy options. When you are in the grocery store, avoid MOST of the middle aisles if you can. Think about it, where are all of the fresh items? — Along the perimeter of the store. Here’s what you should be shopping for:
Nutrition Chart
Tips: 
  • Only choose FRESH fruit. Avoid canned fruits or ones soaked in syrup
  • Coconut oil gets a bad rap, but is actually quite healthy when consumed in moderation. It has been proven to lower bad cholesterol while increasing good cholesterol, lower abdominal fat and help slow the aging process. It’s also great for your hair and skin. Click here to check out our post on some fantastic beauty uses for coconut oil.

Eating Salad

  1. PLANNING YOUR MEALS
Now that you have your food. Literally all you have to do is for each meal, incorporate 1 item from each category above. That should provide you with 3 meals: breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You’ll likely need between 1 and 3 snacks in addition to your meals depending on your weight, activity level, and fitness goals. For your snacks, you can go for fruit or veggies, or even nuts & seeds as long as you don’t go over you fat requirements for the day.
If you’re someone who needs everything prepackaged and ready to go, then cook your meals and pack up them up everyday or at the start of each week. If you’re like me, and can’t predict what you’ll be in the mood to eat then that is fine too, you have your list/guidelines of  healthy options to choose from, so feel free to mix it up depending on your mood! It’s not as if it’s a choice between a slice of pizza and an apple. You can’t go wrong because all your options are healthy.
Now some of you may have been expecting a ready-made meal plan, all done up for you, but it’s important to remember that no two people are the same. You have to stand on your own two feet and not be afraid to jump right in and make a few mistakes. Test some things out, see what works for you and what doesn’t. This is why I provided a very quick guide of “what to buy” so you have some guidelines, but YOU’RE the one making the decision. I am not going to sit here and tell you to eat 3 servings of meat a day, eat a handful of peanuts for healthy fats, and nibble on carrot sticks for a snack. What about the vegetarian with a peanut allergy who hates carrots??? What the heck are they supposed to do??
Okay, so I’m being a little overly dramatic… (meanwhile there’s one vegetarian out there who’s allergic to peanuts and hates carrots that smiling as they read this!)
Anyway, I hope you see my point. Print out the chart above and head to your grocery store and do some shopping. Have a little fun. Explore new fruits & vegetables. More importantly, don’t force yourself to eat something you absolutely despise just because it’s healthy. I hate spinach. The only way I’ll eat it is if it’s blended up in a smoothie or mixed into an omelet for example, but you can bet your bottom dollar I’m not putting that green mush into my mouth by itself!
vegetables
A couple of important things to remember:
  • Fats are essential to the absorption of some vitamins, minerals, & phytonutrients and while some fats can be healthy, it’s important to use them sparingly. This isn’t a free pass to consume excess fat or fatty foods!
  • Keep it simple. I find it’s easier to stick to a healthy diet when you don’t try to get crazy with your meals. Avoid condiments, sugar, and added salt. For salad dressing, opt for your favorite vinegar and a tablespoon or two of an oil mentioned above (sunflower, flaxseed oil are also great). Not to mention, you could always add sliced avocado in place of dressing.
  • The chart above is not a comprehensive list, but merely an excellent starting point. Along your way, you will find yourself adding and subtracting from that list based on your experiences and preferences.
  • If you eat out at a restaurant (and try not to do it often) stick as close to the chart above as you can. No fried foods and make sure your protein is lean.
  • For beverages, steer clear of soda, juice (on occasion is fine), excessive drinking (on occasion is fine), and coffee/tea with sugar and cream. Your predominant beverage choice should be water. Add a squeeze of lemon to spruce it up if you want.
What you’ll begin to notice:
  • Your body will feel more energized
  • You’ll be less sluggish
  • Some of your ailments (acne, etc) will lessen
  • You’ll have regular bowel movements (Note: you should go as many times a day as you eat.)
  • You’ll sleep better
  • You’ll likely lose excess fat, bloating & be more fit (assuming your not over-consuming calories)
  • Your taste buds will adjust and things will taste better!
  • You’ll also become more sensitive to overly sweet or salty foods. (This will help you stick to healthier eating!)
  • The list could go on…
My hope is that the idea of “meal planning” & eating healthier seems less daunting now. What are your thoughts? I love engaging with you guys so leave comments below and lets get the conversation started!
~ Letisha

Join the discussion 4 Comments

  • Marcus says:

    Is salsa bad?

    • Brown & Coconut says:

      Great question Marcus! While salsa isn’t the worst thing in the world, it is often loaded with salt and when it comes to salsa most people don’t realize that a typical serving size is 2-3 tablespoons. So you can see how it might be easy to eat more than that. You could try purchasing low or no sodium salsa, that is much better for you, and provided that it’s made of only fresh tomatoes and other vegetables and spices, you could enjoy a little more than the standard 2-3 tablespoons without too much worry.

  • Gretel Kelly says:

    I LOVE that chart! Thanks for sharing.

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