Hey Folks! We're excited to welcome back Certified 21DSD Coach Michal Ofer. Michal's article is part of a series contributed by our Certified 21DSD Coaches. Enjoy! – Diane and Team
When commiting to follow the 21DSD, a sure fire way to set the stage for self-sabotage is not knowing what you are going to have for dinner. This is especially true when late afternoon rolls around and you begin wondering what you are going to eat for your evening meal.
Meal planning (at least for lunch and dinner) is essential to achieve the success you originally intended when beginning the program. The objective is simple: start preparing food ahead of time.
Sure it's a pain, and I understand that at the beginning it can seem overly time-consuming, but if you want to really get your sugar monster under control, sacrifices are going to have to be made. If that means less television, then so be it.
Schedule yourself a few hours and get your cooking done! In doing so, it will take five minutes to pack your meals each day and you will save time in the long run (rather than having to cook every day). You can make sure you have leftovers for future breakfasts, lunches or dinners by preparing a little extra the first time. If the 21DSD-friendly options are available, you will be less inclined to venture into the food court or call your favorite take-out restaurant for something less than optimal.
Planning and preparing your meals is a crucial part of creating and maintaining momentum whilst following the 21DSD (or nourishing your body any other day, too) and well worth the small amount of extra time and effort for so many reasons:
1. Staying on track
When working with my clients I have found that when you plan your meals ahead of time, you are more likely to stay the course and keep within the program guidelines. When you plan ahead, it is also more likely that your meal will be healthy and nourishing as opposed to pre-prepared meals with 21DSD-compliant ingredients that you can buy at your grocery store or from your closest drive-thru.
2. Spending less time in the grocery store
When you know ahead of time what are planning to eat, you will be able to make a good, efficient grocery list. That helps you to get in and out of the store quicker. Some stores even have online ordering services where fully prepared lists can be submitted and just picked up–no getting lost in the store aisles.
3. Saving money
Meal planning will put an end to the daily chore of having to run to the store to pick up an ingredient that you need to pull together a certain dish. I think we all fall victim to rarely leaving the grocery store with just that one item, too.
4. Wasting less
Using the food you buy and buying fewer items that you do not use means less food waste. Meal planning will save you from throwing out that rotten “mystery vegetable” in your crisper drawer in a few weeks’ time.
5. Spending less time in the kitchen and more time enjoying your family and your food
All your meals are planned and largely prepared ahead of time. This means your meal is on the table faster and that extra time can be spent enjoying your meal and those you choose to spend it with. Meal planning will also limit the amount of time you spend standing in front of the fridge wondering what to make for dinner. This is a 21DSD self-sabotage moment waiting to happen!
6. Making use of leftovers
When you have your meals planned out for the week, you can easily plan leftovers for breakfast and lunch the next day. Doubling up a recipe takes very little extra time but saves much effort in the long term. Leftovers also save money and ensure you are not throwing food out. The 21DSD encourages defying the “conventional” notions of breakfasts and snacks–enjoy your leftovers any time of day.
Stress management and reduction play an important role in the management of your reliance on sugar and your cravings for refined carbohydrates. I have found that the most important aspect of planning and preparing your 21DSD meals is that it creates less stress. It takes away that added worry of what your next meal is going to consist of and how you are going to stick to your 21DSD with the minimal food sources available to you at any given moment.
Plan your meals, shop smart, prep weekly and enjoy your 21DSD journey.
Michal Ofer is a certified life coach, health coach and 21DSD coach.
She has always had a love for food, cooking and all things nutrition related. Michal grew up in South Africa where she studied biological sciences and got her degree in Optometry with a minor in holistic nutrition. After some travelling, disguised as learning overseas, Michal immigrated to Canada where she worked in business development and team building. A less than positive experience with the current acute care medical system and “Standard American (Canadian) Diet” whilst trying to overcome a chronic health issue led Michal on a path to discovering that food truly is our best medicine and that all healing begins in the gut. Once recovered, Michal wanted to help others reach their optimal level of health, wellness and vitality that a real food approach to diet gives. Michal is a nutritional consultant working with individuals looking to improve their general well-being, with a special emphasis on naturally and holistically healing the damage that disordered eating creates in the entire digestive system. When not counselling others or trying to keep up to date with the online world, Michal is an amateur cook, testing her newest food creations on brave volunteers. She can be reached at [email protected] for further insight into moving beyond eating disorders.