I hope you are having an all-star start to your week. Coming off the weekend is alway tough. However, there is no day better than Monday to get back on track. It is time to shake off the Monday blues and bring your focus back to healthy eating. Your first stop – the grocery store. Today I am here to provide you with my three absolute BEST tips to grocery shopping like the champ you are. Put down that grocery store hater-ade and grab yourself a cart. Things are about to get fun!
Grab a cart and get your shop on 🙂
I ♥ grocery shopping
Grocery shopping is pretty much one of my favorite past times. I guess you could even call it a hobby of some sort! Anyone who knows me – knows I love grocery stores. No matter where in the world I might be I am constantly on the look out for grocery stores so I can check out the latest and greatest food finds.
However, with that being said shopping aimlessly is never a good thing. BAD things happen in grocery stores for Amy Plano when she does not have a plan. And I can only imagine the same goes for many of you! Please tell me I am not alone?
So today I am going to rattle off some of my top ticks for staying on track with your diet at the grocery store. I know none of these are new concepts to you. However, if you are like me, I can ALWAYS benefit from gentle reminders on how to improve my behavior.
Game plan it on Friday
I have a rule for myself on Friday afternoons. I cannot leave until I have written down at least two things I am cooking for dinner for the up and coming week. For the other meals I fill in the blanks with leftovers or go-to meals. Easy ones like baked chicken thighs or flank steak on the grill rounding out with some Trader Joe’s frozen veggies. However, I must have two concrete (not made up in my head as I have a tendency to do!) meals that I commit to making before I walk out the door. No ifs, ands or buts about it. That way when I go to the grocery store I am exciting about what I am buying.
I generally just pull up my Pinterest board called “Dinner” (yes – super original) and see what looks interesting and is hopefully in season. Here is the link for my dinner board in case you need some inspiration. Once I have identified the recipes I jot down the ingredients I will need in my spiral plain Jane notebook. This when I go home I know what I need and can compare it against what foods I already have.
A typical entry might look like this:
Monday: Baked chicken thighs, Trader Joe’s frozen sweet potatoes & broccoli
Tuesday: Egg Roll in a Bowl
Thursday: Crock Pot Chicken Chili
Friday: Low Carb Chicken Quesadillas with cabbage lime slaw
Sunday: Flank Steak, Baked Potatoes and Salad
It is important to note these dinner recipes do not need to be fancy! Nor does your weekly ‘meal plan’ need to be elaborate. People get wrapped up in the semantics. They say to themselves I don’t know what to make that is healthy. Come on. You know what is healthy and what is not. You do not need me to tell you day-day what you should eat. These meals should be something everyone enjoys and resembles something relatively healthy. Depending upon your family the term relatively healthy likely means different things. But don’t sweat the small things.
Just write it down – the very act of writing things down help sets you up to succeed. Plan to succeed right from the start.
I know you have heard this quote a zillion times – but the message never gets old.
By planning ahead on Friday you will save yourself a ton of stress, time and money at the grocery store. It really puts YOU in the driver seat rather than leaving your meals to chance. So many of my patients do awesome all day with healthy eating. But then dinner rolls around and nothing is planned – so they reach for what is most convenient but not always healthy. They then beat themselves up. By coming up with a plan before the fact this can easily be avoided.
Because you and I both know when we go to the grocery store with no meals planned – food goes to waste and we come home with food but no meals = no bueno 🙁 It’s like having a closet full of awesome clothes – but no perfect “outfits”. We aint’ got time for that!
Make a list and stick with it
DO NOT step foot in any grocery store without a list. Okay – I admit I am the worst at this. However, we all need to raise the bar and follow through with grocery list making. Maybe I should start a self-help group for this? Honestly. I don’t care if you need to scribble the list down on a receipt you find in your purse. You MUST have a shopping list BEFORE you step foot in that grocery store.
Just write it down – the very act of writing things down sets you up to succeed
Shopping with a list is so critical. Not only does it save money because you are only buying exactly what you need – it also saves you from buying less than stellar foods that were not on your list. By making a list and sticking to it you can get in and out of the grocery store without cruising down every aisle wondering, “Do I need these delicious bourbon pickles from Traders?” – nope not on the list. Move on sista’!
The Type A person in me likes to arrange my list on how the store is set up. The list often starts with vegetables, then fruit, next protein and ultimately the dairy aisle. That way I don’t need to back track. Also the crazy dietitian in me likes to play a game when I grocery shop. I like to see if I can only manage to shop the perimeter of the grocery store. As it is really in the aisles that most people get into trouble with processed foods. Sometimes I am successful – sometimes not. However, I do make a point to spend more time out of the aisles if possible. But sometimes those Ghost Pepper Potato Chips do call my name in aisle 3.
Never ever shop hungry
I know this one is really a no brainer – but nothing good ever comes of going to the grocery store hungry. I don’t care what you eat – whether it be a meal or a snack – but dear friend please have something! If not everything looks good. You end up buying things that you would have never have even contemplated putting in your cart. If you go astray – always try to J.E.R.F. If you do that – then the damage might not be too bad.
And guess what? If it ends up in your cart – it ends up in your house. And if it is in your house — you will likely eat it 🙂
So why not avoid this nonsense all together? Keep healthy snacks in your car. Some suggestions include single serving packs of almonds, RX bars, single serving packet of trail mix, small bags of popcorn, and my personal favorite beef jerky.
Well my friends that is hopefully motivation on this Monday to get your butt in gear. Happy grocery shopping and hope to see you at Traders, Shop Rite, Whole Foods, Aldi’s or Costco or any other grocery store in between.
Need help navigating the jungle that we call the grocery store? Did you know the dietitians at The Plano Program conduct both one-one and group grocery shopping tours? Well we sure do! Email us us at firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up.
Hugs & High Fives,
So, I gave you some time off last week from having to think too hard 🙂 But, I am coming back at you with a vengeance today. This week we are finishing up your favorite topic – good ol’ goal setting. So, grab your nutrition goals that you have been working on so diligently and let’s get to work!
To clarify once again these are the five key steps to goal setting to ensure your success. If you are coming in late to the game and want to revisit the first two steps of nutrition goal setting click here to read Part 1 of How to Crush your Nutrition Goals and click here to read Part 2 of How to Crush your Nutrition Goals.
Consequently, this week we are tackling # 3: Create an effective monitoring tool, # 4: Execute your goals like the champ you are and # 5: Assess your goals at regular intervals.
#3 – Create an effective monitoring tool
So, you let’s recap. In short, so far we have helped you clearly define your S.M.A.R.T nutrition goals. Next we helped you set a realistic game plan. However, now you need an effective tool to monitor these goals.
You have heard the saying, “What gets measured, gets managed.” Well my friends, this certainly applies to setting nutrition goals. Pick a ‘tool’ – any ‘tool’ to manage your goals.
Below are examples of tools to help monitor and track your progress towards your nutrition goals. Please note depending upon what your personal nutrition or exercise goal is not all these tools may be applicable. I provide them just to demonstrate the various ways in which you can track your success.
- A FREE tracking app like ‘My Fitness Pal, Lose It or Sparkpeople
- An exercise journal
- A food journal
- Physical body assessments like body fat percentages as well as waist, hip, bust and bicep measurements
- A real, live person to report your successes to weekly (like an accountability buddy!)
- An exercise tracking device like an iwatch or fitbit
- Before and after pictures
- Lab values
- Performance markers like amount of weight lifted, time trials, Vo2Max, ect.
Notice many of them are by no means fancy. But all of them get the job done. However, keep in mind the best monitoring tool is the one you are likely to consistently use.
I am old-school and use a good old fashion journal. For some reason I feel much more comfortable writing my goals down.
But you may find that boring and rather log your food or nutrition in an app. Whatever you choose – just stick with it!
#4 – Execute your goals like the champ you are
Just. Do. It. In order to be successful with your goals, you need to be 110 % committed to taking action. Talk is cheap. And just like Benjamin Franklin once said “Well done is better than well said.” I don’t think anyone can argue with that.
So, put on your blinders. Get comfortable being uncomfortable and just do it. Pull out your goals each every morning and every night. Focus on what is important NOW! Because I hate to be the bearer of bad news but If you don’t prioritize your goals and life for that matter – someone else will.
#5 – Assess your goals at regular intervals
Remember your nutrition and exercise goals are not carved in stone. In other words, they should be dynamic and evolving in nature. Therefore, it is important to revisit them at regular intervals and make sure they are serving you. Here are some questions to ask yourself when assessing your goals:
- Am I happy with my progress? Yes? No? Why?
- What am I most proud of and why?
- What do I need to be doing differently to ensure my continued success?
- What are repeated barriers that are standing in my way to succeeding? How can I bullet-proof them?
- How can I high-five myself for a job well done?
- What is the next behavior I want to tackle and why?
My new favorite quote is from the book You are a Badass by Jen Sincero. I think it pretty much sums up goal setting perfectly, “There is nothing as unstoppable as a freight train full of fuck-yeahs.”
In conclusion, hone your goal setting skills, take your health seriously, DO what you need to be successful, invest in yourself, practice your ass off, fail, fall down, but above all get right back up. Repeat 🙂
Hugs & High Fives,
P.S. Having a hard time getting back up? Heck we have all been there! Feel free to reach out to the dietitians at The Plano Program to set up a consult to help get you on track to where you want to be going.
P.P.S. Love yourself – you are capable of anything.
SO if you know me at all – you know that I love to cook! Therefore, it is no surprise that one of my favorite websites is called The Kitchn. If you have not checked it out it is a fun website geared towards the home cook. They offer articles on everything from cool new gadgets to Whole-30 compliant recipes. It is a food dork’s black hole. Therefore, please be warned you can really get lost on the site 🙂 Most importantly, their latest and greatest resource? A weekly newsletter aimed at
healthy meal prep.
Sign. Me. Up.
In January of this year The Kitchn started offering a FREE Meal Prep Newsletter
in which they send out a weekly email that features doable plans and helpful recipes so you can prep, cook, and eat for the week ahead. The best part – they think of the healthy recipes so you don’t have to.
Free newsletter with healthy meal prep options? Sign me up!
Most importantly did I mention this newsletter is FREE – delivered straight to your inbox 🙂 If that is not a win – then I don’t know what is.
You Know YOU Wanna
Above all in my heart of hearts, I honestly feel like most people want to eat healthy. However, I also feel like most people don’t take the time to do the necessary things to set themselves up to succeed – like meal prep. Call it laziness. Call lack of focus. Call it whatever you want. Most people have solid nutrition goals – they just choose NOT to make them a priority.
Photo credit: Wooden Earth Cutlery
A couple of weeks ago we talked about the importance of goal setting. We actually used the example of meal prep. If you need a little refresher on goal setting click here for the full details. Success means not only shopping for the right foods but also engaging in meal prep. Furthermore, I think this quote pretty much sums up successful meal prep.
“Success is where preparation and opportunity meet.” — Bobby Unser
Therefore, when you and your family are 50 shades of “hangry” there is awesome, tasty, healthy food available.
Just Do It
So I encourage you to sign up for this newsletter. I think it could be very helpful. A resource like this has the potential to provides SO many things – inspiration, focus, motivation and even a definitive answer for the age old question, “What’s for dinner?” And after all, who does not want to learn how to cook fast, shop smart, and eat well? I know this chick does!
Need Additional Inspiration?
Sorry there is no other way to put it. I am a Pinterest whore. I simply ♥ Pinterest.
Sometimes I just want to look at pretty food. Is that too much to ask?
So if you need a little ‘pick me up’ or a bit of inspiration follow my modest Meal Prep Pinterest board. Also if you are just looking for suggestions for dinner please follow my main pinterest board with all sorts of healthy dinner options! I have over 2000 healthy recipes Amy Plano approved 🙂 Get your eat on!
Hugs & High Fives,
So last week we talked about the importance of goal setting. And guess what? This week we are going to continue the conversation. It is really that important.
Like I mentioned there are what I like to consider five key steps to goal setting to ensure your success.
Sooooo … last week we hammered the importance of step 1 – defining super duper CLEAR goals. We talked at length about how to clearly define your nutrition goals. How could you forget right? Remember I asked you to tattoo the acronym S.M.A.R.T on your wrist? Kidding! But just in case you need a refresher you can catch up here. But no worries – no tattooing this week, I promise.
Establish a realistic game plan
This week we are going to chat about the importance of coming up with a clear, realistic and effective game plan for your nutrition goals. This game plan will represent the exact steps you need to do to tackle your goals.
It is here, in this step, that we take the S.M.A.R.T goals we have defined and add an actionable component. Without this very important piece you will be likely left spinning your wheels.
So let’s use the goal of meal prepping. We came up with this S.M.A.R.T goal last week:
I will meal prep 1.5 hours every Sunday and Wednesday for the next month.
We made sure our goal was specific, that it was measurable, attainable, realistic and was time-sensitive. So this plan sounds great in theory, right? It looks good on paper, but how can we make sure we accomplish it?
Break your goal into bite size pieces
Well, we need to break down the goal into smaller steps. We need to identify EACH step that needs to be completed in order for us to be successful. Then we need to come up with a game plan surrounding these actions.
Sweat the small things – the details matter
With a goal like meal prepping here are some of the questions you may need to ask yourself to ‘flesh’ out the mandatory steps to ensure your success.
Exactly what am I going to eat for the week? Breakfast? Lunch? Dinners? Snacks?
What specific food do I already have on hand that I should use up?
Exactly when and where am I going to grocery shop?
You have to get very specific. For each question there should be a very finite answer. No matter how clear your goal is – unless you outline the necessary steps there is just too much room for error.
So the game plan might look like this:
I would highly suggest putting all of this in writing. Write out your menu. Print or electronically save your recipes. I have a board in Pinterest called ‘dinners’ (yes, super creative!) that you are more than welcome to follow for inspiration. I also have a board called ‘Meal Prep’ that you might find equally as helpful. Write in your schedule exactly when you will go grocery shopping.
The more specific you get with your actions the increased likelihood of you connecting with your goals. Creating clear concrete goals is important. But coming up with game plan is equally as important.
Need help creating a game plan for your nutrition goals? The dietitians at The Plano Program are here to help. Click here to schedule your 60 minute initial consultation.
Hugs & High Fives,
P.S. Got tips for meal prepping? Leave them in the comments below. After all, who does not love a good meal prep hack?