October Unprocessed Week 2
This past week of the challenge helped me to realize that my eating had gotten a little off track. I have been traveling quite a bit the past couple of weeks and my eating schedule has been erratic. Although I have tried to make healthy choices while eating out, at times restaurant meals can contain a lot of sodium. I have been feeling a little sluggish and noticed that I have been having cravings for certain foods – starchy carbs mostly. It can also be difficult keeping hydrated while traveling also.
So I have been grateful for the unprocessed challenge this week – it has made it easier to restock the pantry and refrigerator.
If you are participating in this type of challenge for the first time, it can be a little overwhelming. Knowing what to toss from the pantry and what to keep can be confusing. For some tips, you can refer to last week’s post, 10 Rules for Unprocessed Eating.
Try to keep it as easy as possible by breaking it down into manageable goals:
1. Replace just one meal with unprocessed options.
2. Eat one more fruit or vegetable a day than you normally eat.
3. Replace a snack a day with unprocessed goodies like dried fruits or nuts, or make your own trail mix!
4. Plan you meals for the week (or at least 3 days at a time)
5. Find recipes with 5 ingredients or less
6. Cook enough food in advance for 3 days’ worth of meals
My biggest challenge is time. Between work, studying, the gym, keeping up with GFN on facebook and spending time with family, my time is extremely limited; so I have to cook my meals in advance. If I have to think about what I’m going to eat, chances are, I won’t – or I will choose the wrong thing. So here is what I do – this may or may not work for you, everyone has to find the system that works best for their lifestyle.
On Sundays I plan my meals (six of them per day) for the next three days, and then I go shopping. I only buy what is on my list; this keeps costs down and trigger foods out of the pantry. When I get home I chop veggies, and cook meals and store them containers in the fridge. That way, all I have to do is grab, heat and eat. Now, if I’m really busy, I may just repeat these meals for the second half of the week rather than try to think of something different. I always plan one cheat meal for the week (usually on Saturday) so that I don’t feel deprived. I usually eat the same thing for breakfast (mixing up the protein sometimes) because it’s easy for me.
A sample of my meals may look like this:
Breakfast: Oatmeal with ground flaxseed, cinnamon and blueberries. Egg and veggie muffins, or scrambled eggs.
Snack: GreekYogurt with banana, 1 tsp honey, walnuts
Lunch: Chicken with ¼ c. black beans, ¼ c. corn, lettuce, ¼ c. avocado & dressing of salsa mixed with yogurt
Snack: Turkey burger with veggies
Dinner: Chicken with salad and an olive oil dressing
Snack: Yogurt or scrambled eggs
The first 3 meals will contain a starchy carb, the last 3 will only have protein, good fats, fruits and veggies.
I usually cook chicken, turkey burgers or turkey meatloaf, greek yogurt with walnuts and a teaspoon of honey, salad with chicken and olive oil dressing, sweet potatoes, brown rice, corn, black beans, and any variety of veggies.
You can find my recipe for Egg & Veggie Muffins under “Recipes”, the Blueberry Pancakes are great too – and quick! For some more quick and easy meal options, click here.
As you move further along in the challenge, it will get easier. On Wednesday I will be posting some recipes using foods that are green in color, so be sure to follow the challenge on our facebook event page October Unprocessed. We are also doing a giveaway at the end of the challenge, be sure to enter by clicking here.