I admit that I am an unabashed lover of all things sweet!! Oh – and salty! Oh – and carby!! (sigh) The truth is – my love affair with unhealthy food makes me struggle with the other elements of a wholehearted life. When things are unbalanced, when I’m not taking time for myself, when my environment is cluttered or I feel isolated, sometimes I turn to food. And the teacher’s lounge is the biggest pitfall, right?! I know I’m not alone here…
It takes a wholehearted person to know her weaknesses – and I know mine is my eating habits. So in that spirit – I have to pass the mic to someone who is actually an expert on this topic.
Jody Drange, is an amazingly wholehearted woman and registered dietician and dear friend of mine. Additionally, she’s one of those people who has an open heart, doesn’t sweat the small stuff, is there for others, and truly puts her heart into all she does.
While Jody is the expert here – I have dieted enough to know this one truth: We are what we eat. So therefore what we eat directly impacts how wholehearted we can really be as teachers.
So, we (myself included) have the pleasure of learning from Jody in this post on cultivating healthy eating habits for busy teachers so that in the end we can serve ourselves, our families, and our students in the most wholehearted way possible!
I love the saying “To look good everyday plan your outfits. To feel good everyday plan your meals.” I often teach my patients about planning ahead to help make healthy living easier during a busy work week. So what steps should you take to stay on track and be prepared?
- Make a meal plan for the week and start with one meal per day. I suggest dinner because it’s the meal most people struggle with. We think we deserve to indulge after a hard day’s work, which is why a planned meal is needed to help steer us clear of this pitfall. After you get the hang of planning dinners, add in lunch and eventually breakfast. As a bonus, plan your dinner meal to have extra servings. Our family typically plates our dinner and packs leftovers for lunch the next day at the same time.
|Grilled Chicken with Roasted Vegetables (and brown rice if you have any leftover from making the stuffed peppers)
|Stuffed Peppers (assembled on Sunday) with Side Salad
|Salad: Grilled chicken, unlimited vegetables and Herb Vinaigrette dressing
|Leftover Stuffed Pepper and steamed broccoli with 2 Tablespoons shredded cheddar cheese
|Happy Hour with fellow teachers. GOAL: avoid fried items and limit calories from drinks
TIP: When planning your meals try to aim for your plate to have: 25% grains/starchy vegetables, 25% lean protein, and 50% non-starchy vegetables.
- Grains/Starchy Vegetables: rice, bread, pasta, quinoa, potatoes, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, corn, peas, beans
- Non-Starchy Vegetables: broccoli, spinach, carrots, onions, peppers, zucchini, asparagus, mushrooms, cauliflower
- Lean Proteins: chicken, turkey, pork loin, 90/10 hamburger, bison, eggs, fish and seafood
- Construct your grocery list to include everything you will need to make the planned meals. Make sure you have included side items like vegetables and non-salt flavorings like fresh herbs! TIP: remember to check your freezer, refrigerator, and pantry for items to avoid buying something you already have on hand.
- Stick to your grocery list! Don’t be enticed by items not on your list or “sales” that you see when in the store. If getting a good deal is important to you – use the weekly ads while you are planning your week.
- Once you get home, plan your prep time. This means cleaning and cutting up your produce to make it fast food! We are more likely to grab grapes for a snack verses chips if they are clean and ready to eat. Tip: use Ziploc bags or small reusable containers to portion out your fruits and vegetables for easy packing come Monday morning.
- Make a couple of meals ahead of time, which is called Batch Cooking. This will take a couple of hours in the kitchen on Sunday afternoon, but will allow you to have meals for lunch and dinner for 2-3 days or more. TIP: Don’t forget to portion this as you are putting it away for easy packing at lunch or reheating for dinner.
It may take you some time to write out your meal plan the first couple of times, but it gets easier and easier each time you do. So stick to these 5 steps for healthy living success this school year!
Jody Drange, RD, CDE, ACSM EP-C
Challenge accepted! Join me and let’s have a healthier and more wholehearted school year!
~Alison, A Teacher’s Best Friend