Cost-Effective Time-Saving Tips To Staying Slim For The Summer And Eating Well

Having a tough time eating well? Feeling the pounds come back on? For those who answered, ‘YES’,  I hear you.

This happens to all of us. We are all BUSY! For most of us, our children are on summer break, you have company over, and you’re trying to carve out time to exercise, eat ‘clean’ or just hit the freakin’ beach!

Pardon my french : )

For all of you who need some help staying on The Plan – read on!

Eating well all starts with planning ahead!

Planning ahead is the single most important factor when it comes to staying slim and staying on your plan. It’s easy to hit the convenience ‘fast food’ joint, or head to the nearby restaurant when everyone is hungry and nothing is ready, but a little planning not only keeps you from gaining unwanted weight, it can save you both time and money!

If you have children you can involve them in the planning process too, which will teach THEM about planning ahead with proper food and water essentials. It will likely get them thinking ahead as well!

Tip #1: Make sure you are well stocked up.

Keep your kitchen well stocked up with items listed on The Plan using your Fit ‘n Healthy Shopping List

“The benefit to this extra effort is that when you’re done, you can simply ‘grab and go’!”

Remember, to get Slim And Sexy For Summer requires a ‘whole food’ diet consisting mainly of a good amount of healthy fat, moderate ‘high quality’ protein, and lots of ‘non-starchy, fibrous’ vegetables (low on ‘starchy’ ones). Eating this way, at times can be challenging – but be consistent. THIS IS THE KEY TO GETTING AND STAYING SLIM AND SEXY – WITHOUT THE ‘GOING ON AND OFF THE PLAN CRAPPOLA’!

If you are new to eating a ‘whole food’ diet – first of all WELCOME TO THE Fit ‘n Healthy LIFE! What you put on your plate will go a long way to restoring your health (and you’ll look good too).

I suggest you begin by familiarizing yourself with the local farmers’ markets and natural food stores. You can google search them or find them in the yellow pages by searching for ‘Farmers Market’ (then your location) and  ‘Natural Health Food Store’.

My advice is to develop relationships with them, find out their deals, ask questions and read labels (it’s okay to ask the farmer the conditions he uses to raise his animals). Remember to only buy from those who raise their animals naturally (pasture raised, organic feed or at least – No GMO in feed). So, for chickens, cows, pigs, etc, we want them outside eating bugs, grass, and organic feed.

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Tip #2: Use a meal planning template each week

Rather than wait until the last minute to make your meals, have a weekly meal template including quick to grab snacks for the road, along with your main protein sources, healthy fats and oils, seasonal veggies and fruits, and planned starchy carbs (grains, potatoes, beans), if using. Note: Starchy carbs are avoided or limited for those on a fat loss program.

For example, each week, for dinner I cook:

Main protein for the week

  • 1 whole chicken
  • fish or seafood
  • burgers or flat iron steak
  • coconut crust pizza (using Mennonite sausage)

Main veggies for the week (seasonal)

  • all colored peppers
  • cucumbers
  • snap peas
  • garden carrots

Main fruits for the week (seasonal)

  • blueberries
  • cherries
  • apricots
  • raspberries

Starchy carbs

  • Basmati rice
  • new potatoes
  • Kamut pasta

Tip #3: Stretch the protein

Protein is the most expensive part of the meal. Look for less expensive cuts and stretch them out (use as deli meats, add to stir fries, or enjoy as part of your next day’s breakfast). Using a slow cooker allows you to enjoy the flavor of the tougher cuts and remember to keep the bones for stock!

Tip #4: Buy from your local farmers’ market

Often you will find all sorts of locally grown fresh vegetables and fruits at lower than retail prices. Organic meats and fresh seafood are often sold at lower prices. Fresh organic, free range eggs and locally made dairy products (made using raw, organic milk), may also be available. I buy local, unpasteurized honey and grade B maple syrup there too!

Tip #5: Buy larger amounts at lower prices and freeze

Invest in a separate freezer and fill it with large orders of different cuts of beef, pork, chicken, and seafood, and flats of seasonal fruits.

Vegetables can be blanched and frozen as well (e.g. peppers are at an all time low price when in season).

Items that respond well to freezing are meats, seafood, butter, fruits and berries, most vegetables (blanched first), nuts, seeds and whole grains.

Note: To blanch: simply place your vegetables in a pot of boiling water for 2 – 3 minutes, remove them with a strainer, and then place them into a pot of cool water (you can add ice cubes if you like). Once cool, place the veggies into a freezer bag and they’ll keep for up to two years without freezer burn. They’ll also retain most of
their nutrients!

Always keep your nuts, seeds and whole grains in the freezer for long term storage. Never place these food items in the pantry as the natural oils present will go rancid (and so do you:)

Tip #6: Buy with friends

Ask a few friends to join you in purchasing a large amount of meat, a 25-lb bag of nuts or seeds, or any bulk food.

Look for buying clubs in your area and either join one or start one yourself! Buying clubs allow you to cash in on the savings wholesale pricing offers. Having extra amounts of food in your home also saves you time from frequent grocery trips.

Tip #7: Consider the cost per serving when purchasing meats and seafood

Ideally, an adult serving should cost no more than $3-5. So, if an entire chicken costs $25, it should provide 5 adult servings. I like to buy eggs for this reason and often have them for dinner. A whole carton of organic, free range eggs costs about $6 (only 50 cents per egg).

Remember, it is better for your body to buy a higher quality meat and eat less of it, then to buy a lesser quality meat and eat more of it.

Tip #8: Grow your own vegetables, herbs, and fruits

This is an especially great tip if you have children! Involving children in gardening (from seed to plant) actually increases the variety and amount of fruits and vegetables that the children will eat – without a struggle!

I must say, there is nothing like going out on my deck and snipping off fresh herbs to add to the meal.

If you live in an apartment, use your balcony (if you have one) and plant in decorative pots. Rooftop gardening is also something to consider – when possible.

For more ‘support tools’ to get and stay on the Fit ‘n Healthy Track, check out my book The Fit ‘n Healthy Plan – The Healthy Diet & Lifestyle Plan Made Easy!

Please be sure to share this blog with anyone else you know struggling to get and stay on a ‘real food’ diet. Possibly even go shopping together for more fun!