Health and Wellness Programs

Recent Posts

If You Can’t Do Less, Do More: A Mindset Trick for Healthy Eating

If You Can’t Do Less, Do More: A Mindset Trick for Healthy Eating

Today I’m sharing a mindset trick that will help you increase your success with your healthy eating goals. This trick is my ‘go- to’ when I’m having low motivation days, when life becomes too hectic or I’m not feeling 100% ready to give up certain […]

Feeling Powerless to Food Temptations? This method will get you back on Track

Feeling Powerless to Food Temptations? This method will get you back on Track

  And it starts like this. You see something you shouldn’t eat………..and you become fixated on it. You get preoccupied thinking about it and imagine how great it will taste. And even though you know you shouldn’t eat it, something happens in your brain and […]

Weekly Menu Plans: Friend or Foe?

Weekly Menu Plans: Friend or Foe?

Many weight loss and healthy eating programs encourage menu plans. In fact, there are online programs, phone apps, templates and sample menu plans that can be found online. They are readily available if you want to use them.

 

When discussing menu plans, I often hear two streams of thought. Some people see them as limiting while others see them as helpful. So what’s the real answer – are they restrictive or freeing?

 

What is Menu Planning?

 

Menu planning is planning out each meal for the week including breakfast, lunch, snacks, dinner and desserts. The most common menu plan is 7 days in length (Monday to Sunday) and the meals for each day are planned out in advance. Once Monday starts, you know what you will be eating over the next 7 days. You can even cook some meals in advance or batch cook to make the daily meal prep go even faster.  

 

I’m personally a fan of menu planning and use them each week. Saturdays are when I create my menu plan for the upcoming week. First, I look through my pantry and fridge to see what I have on hand that needs to be used up. Then, I look through my healthy recipe list to determine what I want to eat in the upcoming week. When making the menu plan, I either write it down on paper or type it up on my computer.  Once I have it figured out, I then make a grocery list for what I need and head out to the grocery store.  I make sure to have everything I need before Monday morning arrives.

 

Sample 5 Day Menu Plan

Meal Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Breakfast Orange Pomegranate Smoothie Strawberry Oatmeal Smoothie Coconut Kale Green Smoothie Warm Berry Pie Breakfast Oatmeal

*you can find this recipe on my website

Dark Chocolate Fruit Explosion Chia Breakfast Bowl

*you can find this recipe on my website

Lunch Mint and Sweet Potato Salad Coconut Cauliflower Curry Soup Burrito Bowl with Avocado Left over: Roasted veggies and rice Left over: Coconut Cauliflower Curry Soup
Snack Apple and Almonds Strawberry Chia bowl Oatmeal Bites Oatmeal Bites Veggies and Hummus
Dinner Roasted veggies and rice Butternut Squash Pesto Pizza Grilled Portobello Mushroom Burger with Salad Left over: Burrito Bowl Dinner out with friends

 

 

Do menu plans help make healthy eating stick?

 

The answer is YES! There are many reasons why and research studies show that weekly menu plans increase a person’s success in following through with healthy eating and reaching weight loss goals.

 

I will explain why menu plans are an excellent tool if you want to make healthy eating stick long term. First, knowing how to make healthier meals is a learned habit. Just like eating unhealthy – it is also a learned habit. Before healthy eating becomes our new ‘normal’ way of living, we have to train our mind to know and how to manage the skills needed to cook healthier foods. Making healthy eating a new habit takes time, effort and practice until it becomes a normal part of our daily routines.  Then once we know how to do this, we don’t even really have to think about it anymore because cooking and eating this way is now second nature.

 

Think of it his way – cooking healthier meals requires us to become familiar with new foods and  learning how to cook them, new flavours, textures and getting comfortable with using new gadgets in the kitchen (e.g., blenders, food processors).

 

I remember when I first switched to healthier eating, I didn’t actually know what to do. I didn’t know how to cook well and I wasn’t familiar with a lot of ingredients. I also didn’t know how to flavour dishes using spices and I didn’t know how to balance my meals to ensure I had enough of the different food categories (i.e., fruits, veggies, protein, grains and fats) without overeating. I didn’t even know the difference between a side dish and a main dish.

 

I wanted to eat healthy and I was very committed to it. But I didn’t know that I needed to develop new skills and habits to make this happen and keep it going long term. So without knowing this, I didn’t feel confident in the kitchen, I wasn’t used to blocking out time in my schedule to cook, I didn’t know what was ‘healthy’ cooking and I would become indecisive about what I could and couldn’t eat. Like many people trying to make change, I became overwhelmed, would get frustrated and believe that healthy eating was too complicated and took up too much time. And then I would go back to eating food that was not good for my health. I did this simply because I was familiar with it.

 

By using a menu plan, it can help to:

  • Include healthier options for meals throughout the day
  • Ensure all of the ingredients you need are on hand
  • Saves time grocery shopping – can do all shopping in one trip
  • Save money by only buying what you need
  • Have less food waste by not over buying what you don’t need or use
  • Choose easier recipes or batch cooking recipes that save time on busy days of the week
  • Tailor your meals to include ingredients you want to boost into your weekly food consumption (i.e., vegetables)
  • Include healthy meals into your week that you are comfortable in cooking
  • Flexibility to bounce around in the menu – for example if you feel like having Thursday’s dinner option on Tuesday night
  • Saves time and stress by not having to plan meals at the last minute
  • Keep your mind focussed on goals by having a plan in place prior to being hungry
  • A tool for helping you stay accountable to healthy eating and tracking your success
  • Limit and eliminate impulsive eating
  • Keep you in control of your goals and helps you gain the skills to build cooking into your regular daily routine
  • Act as a visual cue to remind you of your goals and keep you motivated
  • Get your family on board with healthy eating by including their ideas and suggestions into the menu plan

freedom

It’s about Progress, not Perfection

 

Menu planning helps you train yourself to: 1) get used to cooking more meals at home, 2) have healthier food options in your kitchen, and 3) learn how to devote time into your busy schedule to cook.  It’s not going to be perfect and takes a bit of trial and error to work. But through this process, you will learn your taste preferences, weekly demands and daily energy and motivation. This will help you create a menu plan that really works for you.

 

Remember, you can do as much or as little menu planning as you like. When I first started, all I did was menu plan for breakfasts. I wanted to try having green smoothies for breakfasts so I planned that. Then, I worked my way up to planning a few lunches and dinners. And slowly, over several months, I started menu planning my entire week. At first, I didn’t do so great. Factors like not planning my cooking time correctly, forgetting to prepare certain ingredients or having low motivation days threw me off track. But the more I tried to do this, the easier it became. I learned to make quick meals, or use left overs, during Thursday and Fridays.

 

Menu planning can help you build new habits and behaviours into your routine at a pace you are comfortable with. And for folks like me, that really don’t know how to cook without a recipe, it keeps me feeling confident in the kitchen and cooking meals that I prefer, in taste, health and quality, over restaurant food.

 

All of these reasons are why I see menu planning as freeing. For me personally, it trained me to master my healthy eating goals. It taught me the skills I need to be confident and in control of my health. That is so freeing!

 

Are you willing to try menu planning? Are you currently using a menu plan to help you stay on track with healthy eating?

 

Come join me on my Facebook page!  It’s a community of people just like you, supporting each other and learning how to make healthy goals achievable. Click on the Facebook link at the top of this page.

 

 

Self Care Strategies for A Busy Holiday Season

Self Care Strategies for A Busy Holiday Season

We are only a few days away from December and the holidays are among us.   It’s a time of year  known for its busy nature  – and it can lead to quite the load of stress.  After all, you likely have several invitations to […]

My Epic 24 Hour Detox That Yields Awesome Results!

My Epic 24 Hour Detox That Yields Awesome Results!

If you’ve been feeling bloated, then you know more than anyone that you need to cleanse the junk from your body. It’s not always easy picking which path to take to cleanse your body for the results you want. But, I’ve made it super easy […]

Warm Berry Pie Breakfast Oatmeal  – ready in 15 minutes!

Warm Berry Pie Breakfast Oatmeal – ready in 15 minutes!

With the cooler weather coming, a warm breakfast always hits the spot! There is nothing better than a warm full belly on a cool day.

I created this super easy breakfast recipe and I’m sharing it with you! It’s simple, delicious, only includes 4 ingredients and it’s ready to eat in 15 minutes.

This recipe was a total fluke. Last weekend, I was in a rush for work and my fridge was almost empty. I wanted to make a healthy meal that would keep me full and use up some of the supplies I had on hand.

Looking in my kitchen, I had some steel cut oats, frozen raspberries and frozen blueberries.

Health wise, mixing these ingredients together was a good idea. These items are high in antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, and minerals and included healthy fats, protein and healthy carbohydrates. I also knew that the mix of these would make me feel full until lunch time.

So, I made the oatmeal as normal and then once it finished cooking, I mixed in the frozen raspberries and blueberries. I also added in some hemp heart seeds for an extra boost of nutrition. Then, I placed this creation into a container and ran out the door to catch the bus.

After getting settled on the bus, I started to eat the oatmeal. And I was shocked!! It tasted like a warm berry pie. I couldn’t believe it. It made me think of autumn and the fresh berry pies that are made late harvest with sweet ripe fruit.

You will really enjoy this if you love berry pie, raspberries or oatmeal. Also, oatmeal is incredibly versatile and you can try this recipe out using some of your other favourite fruits. I’m thinking that this would also be great with peaches and nectarines.

Here is the recipe – enjoy!

Warm Berry Pie Breakfast Oatmeal

Ingredients:

Half cup of steel cut oats

1 cup of water

Half cup of frozen raspberries

Half cup of frozen blueberries

1.5 tablespoons hemp heart seeds

Instructions:

Place the water and oatmeal into a pot on the stove and set the element to medium heat. Once the oatmeal is boiling, turn the element down to low heat and let it cook until the water is absorbed. Once the water is absorbed, remove the pot from the element and gently mix in the raspberries and blueberries. Place the pot on a cool element and let the berry mix sit for about 5 minutes. Transfer the berry oatmeal to a bowl and gently stir in the hemp hearts. Then,  find a cozy place to eat your breakfast and enjoy!

 

Come join my Facebook page!  It’s a community of people just like you, supporting each other and learning how to make healthy goals stick!  Click on the Facebook link at the top of this page to join us!

 

If You Struggle with Living a Healthy Balanced Lifestyle, You are the Majority

If You Struggle with Living a Healthy Balanced Lifestyle, You are the Majority

Do you feel like everyone else is on top of their game with healthy living? If so, you are not alone.  I felt this way up until a year ago. When life is not where we want it to be, it can feel like everyone […]

What Dropping over 50 Pounds Will Teach You

What Dropping over 50 Pounds Will Teach You

I was 250lbs pounds last August. 250lbs!!! It’s been almost one year since I started my health goals of eating and living healthier. I’m at 196 lbs now and still counting. As I’ve mentioned in my other blog posts, I didn’t think I could do […]

Dark Chocolate Fruit Explosion Chia Breakfast Bowl (vegan, dairy-free)

Dark Chocolate Fruit Explosion Chia Breakfast Bowl (vegan, dairy-free)

 

If you want an excuse to have chocolate for breakfast, then here it is. Today I’m sharing with you my decadent dark chocolate chia seed breakfast bowl that will leave you wanting more. The good news is, this is super healthy so you can make it as much as you want!

It took me a while before I chose to use whole chia seeds. I’ve been using ground chia seeds for almost a year now in smoothies for a protein boost and in baking as an egg substitute. However, the whole chia seeds looked a little scary and weird. From pictures, they looked like they would be crunchy and slimy at the same time.  There is nothing more unappealing to eat than that. I’ll admit that I actually felt repulsed looking at the photos.

Since going plant based 1.5 years ago, I’ve noticed that making chia seed pudding with whole chia seeds is popular. There are recipes upon recipes for it. I just couldn’t bring myself to do it until about 3 months ago. I pushed myself to try them. I have a personal commitment to keep my menu diverse, so I get more vitamins and minerals, and try at least one new recipe per week. So I took the plunge and decided to try whole chia seeds as a breakfast bowl.

I’ve learned that these can be made up the night before or in the morning of as long as you give them at least 30 minutes of soaking time.

I can honestly say that their texture is like a pudding.  There is no sliminess, crunchiness or any weirdness.  They are smooth and creamy and will take on any flavour you add to them.

Since I started my health goal of healthy eating, green smoothies have always been my go-to for breakfast. Chia breakfast bowls are a nice alternative – they have great nutritional value, will help you feel full until lunch and there is no limit as to what toppings, flavours and taste combinations you can make with them.

To entice you into trying these, I’m sharing my chia breakfast bowl creation with you.

Give it a try and let me know what you think!Chocolate for Breakfast

 

Dark Chocolate Fruit Explosion Chia Breakfast Bowl (vegan, dairy-free)

 

1.5 cups almond milk

4 tbsp chia seeds

2 tbsp cacao powder

½ cup fresh blueberries

1 ripe nectarine

1 banana

1 tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut

1 tbsp cacao nibs

1 tbsp raw almond butter

 

Instructions: mix the almond milk, chia seeds and cacao powder in a bowl. Use a whisk if needed to mix well. Place in your refrigerator overnight or for at least 30 minute before you plan to eat it. Then add 0n the other toppings and enjoy!!

 

Come join my Facebook page!  It’s a community of people just like you, supporting each other and learning how to make healthy goals achievable. Click on the Facebook link at the top of this page.

Feeling Stuck – Read This!

Feeling Stuck – Read This!

Living a healthier life wasn’t always easy for me. In fact, I still have days where I feel unmotivated to do it. And I have to push really hard to follow through and make sure I stay on track.  This is normal! If you are […]