Today I’m sharing something a little different. I feel like this is such an important topic, and so many people have questions about it. I’m frequently asked how I stay in shape while being a food blogger, and how I eat healthy while working a full time job and running a blog on the side. It’s all about meal prep and planning my friends.
My number one tip for you is MEAL PREP. I couldn’t live without it. Having healthy food prepared (or half prepared) at my fingertips all week is how I survive. No exaggeration.
On Sundays, I make it a point to make some type of energy bites, grill/cook some chicken for salads, and chop up some fresh veggies to dip into hummus or roast for a dinner side. I also love making quinoa salad because it keeps so well in the fridge. This recipe is one of my faves. So much flavor and texture!
Tip number two: PREP YOUR BREAKFASTS AHEAD OF TIME. This is something I feel like so many people struggle with. It is so so crucial to eat a good breakfast. I try to get in as many veggies as I can in the morning. It’s what makes me feel my best. And protein. And healthy fats. You really do need it all. I always try my very best to have all of those components in every meal and every snack. This pesto mushroom sweet potato frittata is something I make often. Some variation of it that is, depending on what veg I have on hand.
That’s the beauty of meal prep. It’s so customizable depending on your dietary needs. You’re vegetarian? Make some roasted chickpeas or quinoa salad instead of grilled chicken for salads. You’re paleo? Make a frittata with sweet potato. Vegan? Prep overnight oats or chia pudding.
This is one of my favorite overnight oat recipes..because date caramel!!!
Another reason why breakfast is so important: your body needs to refuel after 8+ hours without nourishment. Especially for people like me who exercise early in the morning. I wake up at 5am to get to the gym before work, and to be honest that’s usually to early for me to eat.
If I wake up STARVING, which definitely happens, I’ll have a little bit of roasted sweet potato, a small banana, or a vegan, organic protein bar like GoMacro (love them!) to get me through my workout. Something with simple carbs that will digest quickly and give me enough energy is key.
This sweet potato was stuffed with Greek yogurt, granola, blueberries, almond butter, and cinnamon. SUCH a good combo. And perfect for post-workout. Carbs, fats, protein, and texture. Because I always need texture.
Something else that is KEY: pack snacks! You do not want to be near me when I’m hungry. Not kidding. Hungry Molly + low blood sugar = no fun to be around. I ALWAYS keep a quart sized ziplock bag of my favorite protein bars in my purse AT ALL TIMES. People laugh at me when they see it, but I really can’t live without having “emergency food” in my purse. Haha.
Some other snacks I love are my go-to chocolate peanut butter energy bites (pictured above!), love these dirty chai ones too, celery and peanut butter/almond butter, carrots/bell peppers, roasted veggies and hummus, cucumbers, homemade trail mix with nuts and dried fruit, and sometimes some dark chocolate for good measure!
That 3pm hunger is REAL. That’s why it’s so crucial to have snacks at-the-ready! I can’t tell you how many times in the past I’ve forgotten to pack some, and came home from wherever I was, and ate an entire family sized bag of pita chips and family sized container of hummus. It’s happened MANY times. I’m sure we’ve all been there.
Now for dinner, I don’t prep the entire meal ahead of time. At least not for the entire week. Maybe one night I’ll have a leftover pot of chili or stir fry or something I made for the blog that weekend, but for the most part, it’s prepping things like dressings, sauces, and spiralized veggies. That way, dinner will come together in minutes.
My beet noodle bowl recipe is PERFECT for that. You can spiralize the beets ahead of time so they’re ready to roast, and make the dressing. When it comes time to make dinner, it’ll be on the table in half the time.
Now things like chili are great to make ahead of time. This buffalo chicken chili is one of my ABSOLUTE faves. My favorite party dip in chili form, and healthified! It’s so so good.
Hearty kale salads are also good to make ahead of time. This one is full of SO much flavor and texture. My requirements for a good salad!
Healthy food doesn’t have to be boring. I’ll take chili that tastes like buffalo chicken dip any day, and crunchy kale salads with tons of flavor never get old. When you eat well, you feel amazing, and that energy serves you well in every aspect of life. The eat good, feel good mantra is so so true.
One more thing I’ll leave you with in this long winded post: life is all about balance. It’s something I feel so strongly about and try to practice daily. We’d all be kidding ourselves if we said we didn’t need brownies and bacon studded guacamole from time to time.
I can’t live a life with just health food. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t eat probably 10-15 servings of potato chips the other night while watching a movie with my mama. I did because I wanted to. Not because I felt deprived and accidentally over-ate, but because I WANTED to. I ENJOYED them thoroughly, and didn’t wake up with regret. And potato chips are one of my very favorite things in life. Why deny ourselves of things we love?
P.S. Lightened-up chili mac! It’s another one I just had to put in here. One of my faves!
Also, TELL ME! What are some of your tips for sustaining energy throughout the day and staying healthy? I’d love to know.