Leading by Example: Practical Preparation

Last week I talked about setting time aside first thing each day to mentally prepare for your day. The next step is to practically prepare so you can be successful consistently and ideally, with minimal effort.

Staying healthy is about working both sides of the coin: eating healthy and exercising. Let’s start with the one that you will face most frequently: eating decisions.

Step 1- Create a foundation: Because our eating schedules change frequently, it is wise to have a base of nutrition built into each of your days. These “gold nuggets” will anchor your health when social engagements and celebrations can blow your best intentions of eating “right” away. For most of us, breakfast and lunch are the two most consistent meals of our day, and the easiest to control.

Breakfast: I could write a whole article on the benefits of and obstacles to eating a breakfast. I’ll save that for another day. Let’s just assume that we are in agreement that a breakfast is a good thing and worth having. And, let’s define breakfast as your first meal of the day, instead of placing it in a time box.

Bonus: You do NOT have to cook your breakfast in the kitchen for it to be nutritious. Figure out how much time you realistically have to make it and find two solutions. If you look at my example below, a Muscle Milk is a grab-and-go option that works during a commute. While it’s nice to scramble two eggs with an english muffin, sometimes you just need to grab something on the way.

Lunch: Your next best chance to fuel your body for comfort and productivity! This is your second meal of the day (even if that means you eat it at 2 pm.) Don’t skimp here because of a time crunch. The extra 5-10 min it takes to eat something substantial will give your mind a mental break from the morning’s activities and time to refuel for what’s coming in the afternoon.

Here are three guidelines for you to build a great foundational breakfast and lunch:

Aim to eat 400-500 calories in each meal
Incorporate at least 3 different food groups (protein, fat, starch, fruit, veges, dairy)
Set up 2-3 options

Aim to eat 300-500 calories: Eating this amount of food will help curb afternoon and evening cravings – A LOT! First see how many calories you are currently eating for breakfast and lunch. Then adjust them by adding (or subtracting) an extra serving or an additional food group (i.e. add a piece of fruit).

Incorporate at least 3 different food groups: Having the variety of different foods in your breakfast will give you the nutrients you need for a great productive morning. The body will be satisfied longer if you eat a mixture of protein, fat, and carbohydrate. See if you are missing one of them and add in a new food that will help balance the meal out. My Plate gives these food groups: protein, grains, fruit, vegetables and dairy.

By lunch time you have burned what you ate for breakfast. It’s time to consume a different combination of foods, but still have the variety. If you sit for hours during your work, choose more protein and fat in your lunch than carbs. This will give you fuel for the afternoon without spiking your blood sugar.

Set up 2-3 options: If you try to make a new breakfast every morning, that’s a lot of work! And you’re probably not going to follow through if you had a late night or slept poorly. Instead, create just two or three options. This way you won’t get too tired of having the same thing every morning, but you won’t be constantly checking a recipe to see how it’s made. The key is finding the right amount of variety and nutrition so you can change if you need to but not spend a ton of time in the kitchen.

For lunch, again set up a couple of good options for yourself. If you are on the go during the day, packing your car with nutritious foods will give you good options without being tempted to pull into a fast-food drive thru. If you are on the road daily, a cooler packed with lunch is great way to stay trim. Pull out what you need and find a nice place to enjoy the outdoors.

Take a look at the sample template below. It’s simple, but has variety. You’ll see not just breakfast, but the whole day planned out on one sheet. Feel free to print this and use it or the blank template I have attached at the bottom.

Make the effort to plan out a few meals for yourself this week. Add it to the template and scratch it off if it doesn’t work. Next time, we’ll talk about Step 2: Tackling the fillers- snacks and late night cravings.

Until then,
Keep moving!


Note: As a fitness coach, it is my highest priority to keep my clients motivated and on track despite obstacles, distractions and just human nature. We all need a supportive environment to maintain healthy lifestyle and habits. If you are searching for that kind of environment, check out what we do here at CrossFit 1088: Hosted by Blue Wave Fit, where our mission is to bring CrossFit to All Ages. http://www.bluewavefitocala.com or email me at: priscilla@bluewavefitocala.com

Priscilla Jones and her husband, Brian, are owners of CrossFit 1088: Hosted by Blue Wave Fit. Their mission is to bring CrossFit to All Ages in Ocala, FL while raising their circus of four children.
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