Healthy Eating Made Simple

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We live in a world where everything (and everyone!) seems to move through each day at the speed of light. If you’re a busy parent, you know the definition of hectic all too well. Working full time, driving your kids to school and soccer, running errands, picking up groceries, and connecting with your spouse can make it difficult to keep your own health a priority. But parents aren’t the only busy folks. I run a personal training business that keeps me in the gym for up to 12 hours a day, leaving little time for food prep. Skipping meals is not an option for me, nor should it be for anyone with specific health and fitness goals.

We have all heard the famous saying, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” Well, it’s famous for a reason. If you leave your house for the day without your food prepped, chances are that you’ll find yourself looking for quick meal options when you get hungry. I can promise you that this never ends well!

With hectic schedules, it can be hard to find the time to prep meals.  To make this process a little easier, I thought I would share some of my favourite tips and recipes to make food prep more practical for you.

Include your family.

If you have young ones, include them in your prep. Make it into a fun family event, not a chore. Depending on the age of your children, you could have them package your pre-chopped veggies, or put them in charge of tossing your chicken breast in your spices of choice. Kids can easily help with packing and organizing the food by placing the lids on the Tupperware containers. Make it fun by awarding a prize for the most organized.

Match Tupperware containers.

This may seem silly, but having colourful, matching containers makes organization a bit more fun. Your fridge will look amazing once all the containers have been organized and colour-coded.

Think ahead.

Fit as much cooking and organizing as possible into one day so that you can enjoy your evenings with family and friends. Bulk cooking is a great way to save time during the week. Here are a few ideas:

  • Make a big kale and cabbage salad so all you need to add is a protein source and dressing.
  • Bake or BBQ a whole pack of chicken breasts at once to save time and create a simple grab-and-go option.
  • Bake enough of your oat pancakes to last you the week, so breakfast is quick and easy.

You never know what the day will bring, so having healthy snack options with you can save you in a pinch. Having fresh fruit, chopped veggies, rice cakes, or a shaker cup with a scoop of protein on hand can keep you on track when you’re out on the road.

Bring your lunch kit.

There are so many fun options out there today when it comes to portable lunch coolers.

I personally use the 6 Pack Bag.  Lunch cooler bags keep your food cold with built-in ice pack pockets, and they have numerous compartments to hold snacks, utensils, and shaker cups. Loading up one of these bags with healthy foods before you start your day will keep your food fresh and help you meet your nutritional goals.
Below are some of my go-to meals to prep weekly.

Oat Pancakes

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You will need:

1/3 C whole oats
1 tbsp. pumpkin puree (or mashed banana)
Coconut oil (to prepare pan)
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 packet stevia
2-3 egg whites
Pinch of baking powder
1 tbsp. natural nut butter (as a topping)

Combine all ingredients (minus the nut butter) in a food processor. Lightly coat pan with coconut oil and cook over medium heat, flipping when golden brown.

*I pre-make about three to four of these for the week and refrigerate them in sealable bags. They are great warm or cold, and perfect for either breakfast or a pre-workout meal.

Ezekiel French Toast

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You will need
1-2 slices Ezekiel bread of your choice (I love the cinnamon raisin bread!)
2-4 egg whites
Cinnamon and stevia to taste
1/2 scoop protein powder (I use Magnum Quattro Chocolate Love) *taste varies depending on which protein you use

Add cinnamon and stevia to the egg whites and beat. Soak the bread on both sides in the egg whites and place in heated pan over medium heat.  Allow bread to heat 2-3 minutes per side, or until the egg whites are golden.  In a separate small bowl or cup, add 1 tbsp. water to the protein and blend until you have a syrup texture. Drizzle the protein syrup over the toast and enjoy!

Kale and Cabbage Salad

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You will need:

5 C thinly-sliced kale
3 C thinly-sliced green cabbage
1 C diced peppers
1/2 small red onion diced

1/4 C sunflower seed butter (or any seed/nut butter, but taste will vary)
5 tbsp. fresh orange juice
2 tbsp. lemon juice

Combine kale, pepper, onion, and cabbage in a large bowl.  Set aside.  In a blender, combine the sunflower butter, orange juice, and lemon juice.  Pour dressing over the salad, toss, cover, and chill 30 minutes to 24 hours.

*This is a super simple salad to have ready in the fridge at any time. Add 4 oz of lean protein such as chicken, fish, or tofu, and you have yourself a balanced, healthy meal!

Power Smoothie

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Smoothies can be made to fulfill different goals ranging from replicating a decedent dessert flavour to boosting immunity with greens; my favourite on-the-go Power Smoothie fits somewhere in between.

You will need:
1 handful of spinach
1/4- 1/2 C frozen or fresh blueberries
1 tbsp. chia seeds
1 packet acai pulp
1 scoop vanilla protein (or flavour of choice)
1 can pure coconut water

Simply blend all ingredients together and enjoy!

Food prep really is crucial when it comes to achieving your health and fitness goals. You don’t want to find yourself stranded,  debating between Subway or McDonalds for your lunch option for the fifth time in a week. Prepping doesn’t have to be overwhelming and time consuming, it simply takes a small portion of your day. I promise that, after a couple of weeks, it’ll get easier, faster, and will become a healthy habit. No matter how busy you are, you are never too busy to make time for your own health!

I'm a personal trainer, a life coach, a friend, a counsellor, a shoulder, a punching bag... a boot camp instructor ... you name it i play that role, and I am happy to do it. Some people say you shouldn't build personal relationships with clients... i say screw it. Life is short, if you want to do it, do it, smile a lot, laugh a lot more, be kind, be wise, follow your instinct, have a blast, love, and drink water.

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