The hardest part of any diet change or new eating pattern is meal planning. We can all have good intentions however if we do not have a plan of action the likelihood of sticking with a new eating pattern is greatly reduced. When blood sugar levels are plummeting and time is short we often reach for the easy choice which is less likely to be the healthy choice. So what can we do... try to always have a plan for your next two meals . For example it is 3 pm right now so I should already know what my dinner and breakfast meals are going to look like. I have wild shrimp defrosting, already cooked potatoes from my Sunday prep, raw broccoli and salad greens in the fridge. Breakfast is going to be oatmeal topped with walnuts and blueberries or maybe a yummy veggie omelet with a 1/3 ripe banana and almond butter. I will probably start thinking about my lunch today after dinner as I am cleaning up and hopefully putting aside a container of leftovers to take to work. Ideally it is nice to have a meal plan for the whole week however this can be a daunting task for many of us. Make your initial goal to meal plan for the next TWO meals. This seems like a more realistic approach for most. If even planning two meals in advance seems overwhelming please start with one.
WHAT I DO
Every Sunday morning my husband and I review the upcoming week which helps me greatly with meal planning. This includes discussing after school and evening obligations and from there I can decide what meals can be cookedslow, what meals need to be prepared quickly, and if we need to go out to a restaurant or grab a quick dinner at Whole Foods or Market of Choice. Planning Monday through Friday is what we strive for since it makes life easier on the weekdays plus better prepares me for grocery shopping come Sunday for the upcoming week. But to be honest sometimes this get overlooked and we just wing it but I make sure to always have a plan and groceries for the next 2 meals.
Meal planning is vital and the key to success with the low FODMAP diet. So often we skip breakfast due to lack of time or habit. Coffee is not breakfast. This can set us up to overeat later in the day and negatively affect our gut hormones that regulate appetite. If you work outside of the home bringing a lunch from home is something to strive for.
Spend time on the weekend to bulk cook. My weekly food prep includes making a root vegetable bake that includes potatoes, spaghetti squash, carrots, rutabaga, and parsnips. This is often my dinner side on weekdays and a great topping for my lunch salads. We have a new smoker and often smoke salmon or chicken thighs on the weekend for quick proteins to add to our lunch. A quick protein rich snack is hard boiled eggs , boil 6-12 of these to have on hand. Consuming more fiber such as fruits and vegetables often requires some preparation. For those just starting off I encourage taking short cuts like purchasing vegetable or fruit trays since this can save you time and increase the likelihood of including these in your diet. Otherwise spend time cutting carrots, winter squash, melon, pineapple, jicama, etc, so they are ready to grab and go in storage containers.
I feel that many of us revert back to our old ways when we get bored or get stuck in a rut. It is important to add new recipes for inspiration and excitement with your new eating habits. Try to not get overwhelmed which is easy with the overabundance of recipes on the internet. Try one new recipe or maybe even a new spice one time a week. This is more achievable and will likely result in new foods in your meal rotation.