Quick Produce Prep

One of the most common concerns I hear when I work with clients is TIME.

No one thinks they have the TIME to be healthy.

And I hear ya! It can be difficult, but I believe 100% that it’s worth it.

There’s a common saying: 

“Those who don’t make time to be healthy now will have to make time for being sick later.”

I know it’s easy to be a procrastinator (I lost track of how many all-nighters I pulled during school!) but future health is important. And health NOW is important, too.

Here is my Tough Love question:

why are you choosing to not prioritize the health of your self and your household?

Before you get offended, and huff “I DON’T have a choice!” let me elaborate:

We all have to determine what we do with our 24 hours a day. Every choice we make is because of what we choose to prioritize, and every choice create outcomes we have to accept.

And sometimes, we choose to prioritize taking care of the kids, or catching up on sleep, or getting another project done. So we choose to put meal prep or cooking lower on the list.

And if that is your choice, that is fine! We all have to determine what is important. I just ask you to honestly examine your list, and consider that the overwhelming majority of people find they have MORE energy to accomplish more if they dig in and get their eating under control. It pays off in the long run.

But if you can say you’ve sat down and assessed, “I choose not to take time to prioritize cooking/shopping/healthy habits because I believe these other items are more important,” then that is your truth, so embrace it and focus on what ARE your most important things.

Because the ultimate reality is this:
You DO have a choice. You will always be choosing one activity over another in that time block. And every choice means we prioritize one thing, and sacrifice another. So whatever you decide, own it. But be honest about it as well. And be sure that choice aligns with your goals, otherwise you may never reach them.

But perhaps you can make just a FEW small changes, even if not full meal-prep overhauls. Because Making time for health now will help with your stress, your mental clarity, and your mood.  You’ll feel better, think better, and look better!

Planning ahead is key. Making it a normal part of your routine can happen with patience. Every weekend, I take a few hours to hit the grocery store (WITH a list!) or curb-side pick-up; and then on Sunday we bulk prep a handful of staples for the week.

Produce is especially important to have ready. Fruits and veggies are so critical to health. And I find a lot of people are willing to snack on them, they just don’t like taking time during the day to wash and prep them. So when you get back from the store, take even a small chunk of time to wash off some berries, wash apples, skin a few carrots, and slice some celery sticks (or whatever your snacks of choice are.)

Just a small chunk of time one day, and you’ll have nutrient-packed, antioxidant-rich snacks ready for days! 

Another thing I like to prep is one big salad to pull from all week. My salad base could be something like 1-2 heads of romaine lettuce, 5+ sliced carrots, and a little tub of sprouts. I also chop up other veggies and store them separately, so I can pick and choose each morning as I put together my salad lunch. So, depending on my mood, I may pull from a tub of chopped radish and cucumber, sprinkle on some crisp red onions, tear up some other fun greens like kale or collard, or maybe even dice up an apple for a sweet variation. But I make sure it’s all washed and prepped on Sunday so that I can whip together my salad in no time flat each morning.

QUICK TIPS FOR QUICK EATS:

*PRE-CEALN: Wash off any produce you buy so it’s easy to snack on later. I love to have my cleaned apples and pears on hand when I’m on a short break and my appetite is raging, tempting me to binge. There’s no excuse when there is clean, sweet food ready for me!  Then the crave monster quiets down, and I can go ahead and make my healthy meal.

*PRE-PORTION:  Put small amounts of various foods in snack bags so you can toss them in your lunch later or grab as a snack: carrots, bell pepper slices, broccoli, or celery will all keep for most of the week in the fridge.  Or you can keep small container of nuts or nut butters, dried fruit, or trail mix ready and pre-portioned so you don’t over do it.

*PORTABLE PRODUCE: Keep a supply of transportable fruits: oranges and bananas come “pre-packaged” in their peels for easy travel.

*FREEZE IT: Slice up a just-browning banana, zip-loc it, and toss it in the freezer: this is a great addition to any smoothie you may make to get that extra kick of potassium and make it cold and thick. I always over-stock on bananas at the store, because I know they’ll never go bad. Salad greens like baby spinach also freeze easily for future smoothie breakfasts, and broccoli can be used later in soups or stew.

Well, tomorrow is Sunday, so give it a try!  I know I have a date with my kitchen!

Published by Kate Cline, RD

Registered Dietitian with a focus on Gut Health, Inflammation, and Functional Nutrition. Personal Trainer with a focus on corrective exercise. Yoga teacher, traveler, empowerment coach.

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