Monday, July 12, 2010

Planning Ahead

Hey everyone!  Well, here we are at the start of another week and almost half way through July.  Hard to believe, I know. 

I wanted to talk to you all today about a topic that many people struggle with in maintaining a healthy lifestyle and that would be planning ahead. You see, I tell people all the time that eating whole, balanced and healthy is mindless and comes so easy, but really, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that that is not necessarily true.  

For me, eating whole, balanced and healthy is easy because of one important factor….I plan ahead for everything! 

Let's take breakfast for example….

Strawberry Split Overnight Oats

Last Night- 1/4 Cup Oats, 2 TBL Multigrain Cereal, 1 tsp Flax, 1 tsp Chia, 1 tsp Coco Powder, 1/2 overripe banana, Strawberry Banana Chobani 
In the Morning- 1/2 banana, Sliced Strawberries, Dark Chocolate Dreams PB, Granola Sprinkles 

On Mondays, I always plan my longer run of the weekdays.  I run 6 miles and that extra mile really makes a difference in the timing of my morning routine.  Knowing this and not wanting to be rushed for breakfast, I usually prepare breakfast the night before so that all I have to do is pull it out of the fridge, add my toppings and go.  

Overnight Oats are ideal for a quick prep-ahead breakfast.  Other great options would be smoothies (throw everything into your blender and put it in the fridge), Waffles Sammies (take 2 frozen waffles, defrost, add PB and banana and wrap up for the morning), Yogurt Parfaits (slice up all the fruit the night before and add yogurt and granola in the morning) and if you are really pressed for time, the occasional granola bar and apple will suffice, as long as you are choosing a bar with a valid amount of protein, calories and fiber. 

Now as for lunch.  I usually try to come home for lunch because I live a mile from work, but there are some days when I am on the run and pressed for time.  On days when I know I won't have a lot of time, I prep my lunch the night before and either bring it with me or take it to work. 

Today, I was teaching all morning and knew I wouldn't be able to eat until around 1:30pm.  Rather than just hit up a drive thru, I made sure to save enough leftovers from last nights dinner and put everything in a container ready to heat up.  I also prepped my spinach and veggies in a bowl the night before and put it in the fridge, so all I had to do is press START on the microwave.  In 2 min, lunch was served! 

I also grabbed some pre-cut fruit to have as well. 

As for dinner, this is where I had a bit of trouble.  I usually plan out our meals every week and even if something slightly changes, I generally have an idea of what we will be eating.  This also helps with grocery shopping because if I know what we are having, I know what I need to buy. 

Tonight, I had planned to grill fish.  Well, unfortunately, my planning ahead didn't exactly work out because as soon as I pulled out the fish, a major storm came through and rained on my plans. 


I stood in front of the fridge for about 5 min contemplating what I could make.  Toly even commented on if everything was okay, because he never sees me in this state of indecisiveness with our meals. 

It was getting late and I needed to think of something fast before I spoiled my appetite by munching on grapes while trying to decide. 

Finally, it hit me!  Just make something that you were planning to make another night this week. 

Duh!  BFD is good any night of the week. Plus, it's quick and easy. 

I made myself a bagel and lox combo with a 1/2 a Pumpernickel Bagel, Dijon Cream Sauce with mashed avocado, smoked salmon, creamy scrambled eggs

With Roasted Asparagus and a side of fruit. 

It was the perfect decision.  

So the moral of the story is to plan ahead as much as you possibly can when it comes to your meals and if your plan gets nixed, have a backup.  I know that when I don't have some kind of direction, I feel anxious and stressed and usually end up just munching on random things that don't really fill me up or offer me a balance of nutrients. One of my number on goals for each meal is to incorporate a balance of everything that my body needs- protein, carbs, and fats are the top 3 on my list. 

Eating healthy is easy, you just have to make it an important aspect of your life, as you would anything else.  I do know that there is no way I would be able to eat as well or delicious as I do without a little prep work and thought. 

How many of you plan ahead when it comes to your meals? 

Before I go, I have an announcement for all of my Central PA readers out there. Anyone that is in/around the area, Sami and I are working on a blogger met up dinner in the city of Harrisburg next month. If you are interested in joining us, please shoot me an email at 

See you tomorrow! 



  1. Oo good tips!

    I always bring lunch - makes it so much easier (and easier on my wallet). My office eats lunch at our desks unfortunately otherwise I'd go home for lunch.

  2. i totally agree with you about planning ahead - i was thinking about this the other day randomly too! great tips girl, totally on point! :)

  3. I'm a huge planner! While I do try to listen to my cravings in any given moment, I do a lot of planning ahead when it comes to taking healthy lunches and snacks for work, on trips, etc.

  4. Great post girl!! I needed this reminder of how easy it is to eat healthy when you plan ahead. I've fallen into the "easy" not so healthy food trap today so I feel like your post was speaking directly to me :) Thanks girl!!

  5. Thanks for this post! I really need to start packing my lunches for work. I did really well in the beginning but I was getting lazy and running out of ideas!
    LOOVE BFD. I haven't had bagel with lox and cream cheese in too long. Gotta fix that! Awesome blog =)

  6. I completely agree. I have to take some extra time to ensure that I have my meals planned out...but it is so worth it! And once you establish a routine, it happens like clock work. Great post, love!

  7. Hey chicky! You know I am a HUGE planner! In fact, I cook some of my dinners ahead of time to make sure they're ready for us when we need them (on busy nights). This is key for me as I am often running from work to teaching. I totally do the dinner switch up too when something like the weather does not cooperate. Or I will cook the same dinner, just using a different method. You do a great job eating well despite how busy you are. An inspiration for sure!

  8. Since my cereal breakfasts are always super easy to prepare, I don't really plan them ahead, but I usually have an idea of what I can pack for lunch if necessary. I usually make dinner for my family on nights we're all home, so I have a good amount of time with that, but if not I just go with whatever I'm craving!! Those storms last night were NUTS, weren't they?!

  9. GREAT post, and just what I needed. I used to be really good at planning ahead when I was working 9-5... I'd come home from work exhausted, and really not mentally able to plan out what I was going to eat. Now it's even worse! I'm working from the early afternoon until midnight, and when I get home I'm ravenous but don't want to make a lot of noise in the kitchen. Meal planning starts today!

  10. I totally agree! I can only do so much if I'm not planning ahead.

    I was in a great rhythm for a while of prepping breakfasts, packing my entire lunch the night before, etc, but got out of the schedule when we were traveling a lot earlier this year. I'm getting back into it, and it's such a help!

    I've always planned meals for the week so I know what we CAN make based on what I bought, which is huge on rushed nights during the week or when the weather changes.

  11. great advice about planning ahead/having a back up plan! I am the same way- i get really overwhelmed if I don't have any sort of plan and end up just not even knowing what to eat! it is crazy! your breakfast sounds so delicious & i lOOOOVE lox with my bagel!

  12. Such a great post Lauren! I wish I could forward this to all of my friends and acquaintances that feel like a healthy lifestyle is "too hard". Honestly, in a world filled with tons of modern conveniences (some which I find unnecessary).. of course it may seem daunting. But you know what? We are capable humans and I think that we ourselves some gratitude towards our bodies for helping us do all it does. One of the best ways is through nutrition. I was thinking about it yesterday actually. My approach to life and my health is an all-around package. Mind, body, and soul. I want to nourish all of those. I don't see my lifestyle as an eternal bootcamp. Not at all. In fact, I enjoy more out of life because of all of the TLC I give myself. And planning ahead, and prepping is something I do that helps me get that with ease. I like to eliminate as much stress as possible. Sometimes of course some things truly come into my life as a surprise, but I know my flexibility, optimism, and solution-finding self will make it work. Besides, it's not about being perfect. Just being the best you :) I feel like I just went off on a tangent lol.

    XOXO I hope your day is wonderful!!! I love you!

  13. Great advice!!! I don't plan weeks out per se, because I'm always in the mood for something different every day!

    But, my bf and I do discuss in the morning or the night before what we want to eat that day. It works well and sort of is like planning a week/full day ahead :)

  14. I'm always having to plan ahead! Sometimes I work from the morning into well into the night (having two jobs is killer) so I always pack a healthy lunch and dinner as well as some snacks to hold me over in between meals. I hate getting stuck without healthy food!

  15. Good advice! I definitely plan meals...but I don't decide what we are having until the day of. I plan out a week's worth of meals, buy the ingredients and then we look at what we have and pick from there each day! It's so helpful! I'm terrible at planning for breakfast though!

  16. i just did a post about how i never really make things ahead of time - like overnight oats - because i rarely crave the foods the next day. but today i found a compromise - using instant oats, that way when i'm craving overnight oats taste i can have it right then and there!