Meal Planning for More Productivity at Work
You’ve heard the phrase, “You are what you eat.” right?
Think about it. The last time you sat around and ate junk food, how did you feel? What about when life just seems to be in sync and you find yourself eating all the fruits and veggies?
Nutrition is key to being successful in everything we do.
When we eat junk, our brains get foggy, our bodies get tired, and we don’t work effectively or efficiently.
On the contrary, when we’re filling our bodies with the nutrients they need, we are way more alert, focused, and energized. All of the things you want when you’re trying to crush it in your career.
If you’re looking for a way to stay focused and blast through your career goals, your nutrition needs to be on par. But, you’re busy and getting a balanced meal in during the work day seems like a daunting task, especially with deadlines, people that need you, and the vending machines calling your name for a quick pick me up.
Today, we’re here to make meal planning simple. Simple enough that it will only take you about 30-60 minutes to have all your meals and snacks ready for the entire workweek. Here’s your chance to take your goals and your nutrition to the next level.
HOW TO MEAL PLAN FOR A SUCCESSFUL WORKWEEK
STEP 1: PLAN YOUR MENU
The first step in any meal planning effort is to plan out what you want to eat. Not sure how to get the right balance of nutrition? Head here for a nutrition guide using just the palm of your hand. This will ensure each meal or snack you eat is filled the the healthy nutrition your body needs.
To put it simply, aim for a balance of fruit, vegetables, lean proteins, healthy fats, and whole grains for each meal.
If you will be at work 9-5, Monday through Friday, aim for having 3-4 lunch options you can rotate throughout the week. Do the same with snacks. The key is to remember when you will need to eat while at work. If you find yourself struggling to eat an early breakfast, then plan to also take a simple breakfast food to work. Which leads me to step 2, keep it simple.
STEP 2: KEEP IT SIMPLE
Meal plans don’t have to be fancy in any way. In fact, the simpler they are, the more likely you are to stick to them.
When possible, cook extra dinner to use as lunch leftovers for the following day. If that’s not possible, then choose 2-3 other lunch foods that you can rotate through. Buy simple sandwich or salad ingredients that fall in line with a balanced meal.
Then, snacks. Seriously, keep it simple. Find 2 snacks you want to munch on throughout the week. Rotate through them. Then, the following week, try another 2 snack ideas.
Meal planning does not mean you have to eat boring meals, you just need to plan ahead a little bit. Make your snacks and meals foods that you actually enjoy, just keep them simple at the same time.
Some top snacks include:
- Apples and peanut butter
- Hummus and veggies
- Cottage cheese and peaches
- Protein bars (with lower sugar)
- Guacamole and whole grain pita chips
STEP 3: PREP AND STORE
Here’s where the most time is spent. But, it’s completely doable in a short amount of time with a meal planning system.
Once you have all the foods you want to prep for the week, follow the steps for quick prep:
- Wash, cut, chop all foods into the size they will be served in
- Cook, mix, or prep anything that needs it
- Store in individual serving size containers
- Place in a drawer or box in fridge for easy grab and go
Yes, it’s that easy! If it’s all ready to go, you’ll be able to easily grab it as you walk out the door in the morning. Prep for the entire workweek and you won’t have to worry about any other prep the entire rest of the week.
STEP 4: EAT WHAT YOU MADE AND STAY CONSISTENT
I had to throw this step in because it’s very important. So many times, we buy or prep food and then don’t end up eating it! Why is that? Maybe the vending machine sounds more appealing? Or we’re trying to deal with our emotions by using food and you’re certain that cookies will make you feel way better than veggies at the moment.
The first key to staying consistent with your nutrition is to make the foods you like. Don’t overhaul your entire diet overnight. Slowly add in the fruits and veggies if they are foreign to you.
Then, make sure you have a handle on your relationship with food. If you find yourself grabbing for cookies or chips when you’re stressed, try finding a way to manage your emotions without using food. Also, learn about your body. Learn about what hunger and fullness feel like to you so you know when it’s time to refuel with a snack or a meal.
Now, it’s time to get planning! You have a career and life goals to knock out of the park. Use nutrition to help you stay focused, energized, and motivated. And if you’re a skeptic, try it for yourself! See how different you feel when you start putting the right nutrients in your body!
This guest post was authored by Elizabeth Dall
Elizabeth Dall is a certified exercise physiologist and wellness coach. She specializes in helping professional women and mothers build confidence and love for who they are, build a better relationship with food, and reach their health and wellness goals. As a mother herself, she’s learned how important it is to find ways to nourish her body and soul to give the best to her work, family and friends. Her message is one of self-compassion and a simplified, well-rounded approach to health. You can find more goodies, info, and join the community at elizabethdall.com.