You’ve pinned more healthy recipes than you could ever make in a lifetime. Your bookshelves are overflowing with clean-eating cookbooks. Your pantry has more superfoods than your closet has clothes.
But. You still can’t get yourself to eat right on a regular basis. And you're constantly wondering what's wrong with me?
Well, I have some good news. Nothing is wrong with you. You don’t have a willpower problem. And you don't need a fancy new blender. All you need is a PLAN. A plan to eat more plants.
I know it's not always easy. Even though I'm a plant-based chef, I, too, struggle to eat healthfully 24/7. I mean, kale doesn’t magically de-stem and wash itself in my kitchen. My juicer doesn’t clean itself. And healthy snacks don’t just pop into my pocket on plane rides. But I still manage to eat well most of the time. And I do that by planning.
So how can you make PLANning your PLANts work for you? (See what I did there?)
Here are some tips:
1. Get really good at making a few recipes.
If you have a set of go-to recipes, whipping up something healthy even when you’re exhausted won’t be a pain in the ass. Become so good at making a smoothie that you can do it with your eyes closed. Get so comfortable massaging kale so that you actually look forward to it. Roast tempeh enough times that it couldn’t possibly get easier.
2. Be OK eating the same thing several times a week.
If you think that because I blog about healthy dishes that I’m always cooking up new, innovative dishes, you are very, very wrong. In my life, a few usual suspects come up again and again — sweet potato fries, homemade pesto, granola, and smoothies.
3. Make a “to-cook” list.
The best way I’ve found to actually truly make those pinned, bookmarked or dog-eared recipes is to schedule it! Just choose ONE cool, healthy recipe and one lucky day during which you’ll make it. Then check your inventory to see which ingredients you need, list them out and go buy them. On that lucky day where you’ve committed and told everyone in your household and on Facebook that you’re making this awesome recipe, actually MAKE IT. No excuses!
4. Carry around “enhancers."
I’m talking about things like Stevia, packets of plant-based protein powders, hemp seeds, chia seeds and nutritional yeast. These are all goodies that you can pop into various foods to “enhance” them, nutritionally, so you don’t have to be stuck in the world either eating something not-good-for-you or sadly eating nothing at all.
I love to sprinkle packets of stevia in cocktails (I order them completely simple sugar-less) or caffeine drinks. I love to add hemp seeds to salads and chia seeds to oatmeals. I’ll even sprinkle nutritional yeast on top of a cheese-less veggie pizza pie I might order.
5. Be future-oriented.
Yes, yes, live in the moment because it’s all you’ve got. But live with the knowledge that you don't want to be hangry. If you know that you'll be out and hunger is bound to strike, the ONLY way to not give into the temptation to eat junk is to PREPARE. Bring your own healthy snacks!
6. Don’t leave room for surprises.
Listen. Living life on the edge can be fun. Who doesn’t love buying concert tickets on a whim? Or eloping? But if you’re really on a mission to eat healthfully more often than not, you can’t make a habit of allowing food surprises. I won’t go to a restaurant without reading the menu online first. Why would I sit down and then not be able to order one thing off the menu? Why would YOU do that to yourself? (Well, hopefully you won’t after reading this.)
Avoid that by researching your food options in advance. Sometimes that might mean you have to bring a dish to the family dinner or politely ask to switch restaurant reservations.
7. Do your best and forget the rest.
As fitness guru Tony Horton says, always do your best and forget the rest. Make your best plan, pack your best snacks, do your best research, practice your best staple meals in the kitchen, but then when things come up: forget them. Don’t dwell on those unhealthy moments. Don’t beat yourself up if you forgot to pack something for the plane. You are, after all, human.