September screams reorganization - and not just of your desk, but of your meals too!

Written by Kiki Athanas, In-House Wellness Expert @ Calii Love and Founder of MEByKiki.com.

Getting into the swing of meal prep may seem daunting but it can certainly pay off in the long-run – especially when it comes to your time, your budget, and your overall health. In fact, the benefits of meal planning include:

Reducing food waste, as you only buy what you need (i.e. what’s on your recipe list!)

Boosts your intake of whole foods, as you’ll less likely to scram at the last minute – resorting to less than stellar processed “fast food”.

Provides you with mindful control over your diet, giving you the insight and preparation to feel in charge of exactly how you want to eat, and ultimately: how you want to feel.

Great advice on this very topic comes from Jenni & Mirna of Naughty Nutrition, who share that setting realistic goals and expectations with what works for you is always your best bet. “You absolutely don’t need to have perfectly organized containers for every single meal of the week. But, you can set a few minutes on the weekend and check in:

What do you already have in your fridge or freezer that you can make use of? Check for items that may be expiring soon = less food waste.

What are some recipes you can use those items in, and what other meals are you craving? Start building your recipe database.

What additional ingredients do you need? Create a shopping list based on the recipes you plan to make.

Are you eating out or have super busy days? Know healthy restaurant options nearby for takeout.” 

“Once you have an idea of your week, we find it really helps to have a loose schedule of your meals on a fridge planner, word doc or a meal planning app like Meal Garden including times you plan to eat out. You can then set aside an hour to batch prep (wash, chop, roast, bake etc.) all the ingredients you need, and get ready for the week ahead. For a step-by-step plan on meal planning for busy people, you can refer to more tips here.” – Jenni & Mirna

Now if you’re not only planning for yourself, but for a family at large, you may want to consult the experienced guidance of RHN Julie Daniluk:

Ask most kids what their favourite food is, and you may hear, “pizza”, “mac & cheese”, “candy” and “pop”. Low in nutrition, these temptations can rob little bodies of the key nutrients needed for growing, learning and emotional well-being.

Compounding the issue, the number of children with allergies, asthma and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are on the rise. A 2011 study reported in The Lancet suggested that 64% of children diagnosed with ADHD who follow an allergy-elimination plan (like the one outlined in my book, Meals That Heal Inflammation) experienced an improvement in symptoms.

Kids often eat well at home, and finding solutions while on-the-go may make a big difference when it comes to avoiding gluten, sugar, dairy and artificial dyes.

One way of encouraging kids to eat their fresh fruit at school is to provide them with a fun dip! 

Fruit Fun-Du with Coconut Caramel Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw honey
  • 1⁄2 cup raw coconut butter
  • 1⁄2 cup coconut milk
  • 1⁄4 tsp salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract 
  • 1⁄2 cup tahini
  • pinch Himalayan sea salt

Optional:

  • 1 tbsp NutraVege Lemon or Tangerine flavour (This is to support healthy brain function!)

Directions:

1. Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Transfer to a medium bowl.
2. If using the Omega-3 liquid stir in just before serving to preserve potency.
3. Serve alongside your favourite fruits such as oranges, apples, pears, strawberries and pineapple.

So there you have it, whether you’re encouraging a little one at home to make healthier choices whilst getting back to the often more hectic schedule that September brings – or simply looking out for yourself…meal prep can be a savior – not a villain. Of course, if you catch yourself on the run without a meal prepped, making mindful choices at restaurants (such as Calii Love, hint hint!) is just as admirable. A few tips in this case include being conscious of portion sizes (i.e. don’t be afraid to pack up leftovers for later!), watching out for fatty or vegetable-oil based dressing (instead ask for a simple mix of olive oil & lemon, which most places have available), and when in doubt: ask for double the greens!

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