By Leslie Myers

I always say that I’m a type “A minus”. What I mean by this is that while I have goals, I sometimes I jump off my planned path toward success when another type of experience or opportuinty comes along (such as a last minute dinner out with friends, a long walk with the dog and a good cup of tea as opposed to a hard run, or a good night’s sleep instead of waking up at 4:30 a.m. to hammer out yet another early morning swim workout…sometimes I literally will “stop and smell the roses”!). As with anything in which you want to succeed in life, most of us benefit from a planning a path to get there. A path paves the way down a road of success (and if you need to jump off of it every once in awhile, just take a hiatus, enjoy it, and get back on). Remember, be mindful but not militant. Making incremental changes toward a healthier lifestyle is the key to success!

When I first talk to people about healthy or positive eating, I get a myriad of responses. A few of those include “I don’t have time to eat well”, I don’t have time to cook or shop.  Or exercise”. Here’s the deal. Like with anything, it is ALL ABOUT MAKING TIME.

Here are some tips to making a healthy lifestyle easier:

1.  Keep a piece of paper and a pen (or your blackberry) going with a list of food you will need for the week AND certain things you like to have on hand such as spices, oils, frozen items, etc.  Pick one to two days a week (some of us shop at more than one store) that you set aside an hour to do your shopping. Seriously, I could spend a few hours at a grocery store or at a farmers market A DAY but that is me, I’m a crazy foodie. One hour once or twice a week is suffice for most people.

2.  Make a weekly schedule of what you are probably going to eat for meals and snacks.  This is your guideline off of which to base your list.  This doesn’t have to be too time consuming–think “Breakfast. Oatmeal, fruit” Snack; Almonds, smoothie stuff, hummus; lunch Sweet potato” dinner Large Salad with as many vegetables and I can eat.”

3. For salads and snacks, I find that it is pretty easy to chop and slice things each day. As long as the stuff is in the house, putting together is a snap. For some of my friends and clients, it is more efficent for them to “slice and dice” for the week.  Take, for example, the LARGE SALAD; something that I believe should be in everyone’s diet at least 5 days out of the week. Pick your greens, and make sure you have enough of them in the house until your last shopping day.  Pick 4-6 vegetables such as cucumber, carrots, celery, onion to prep ahead of time and store in containers in the refrigerator. Make a batch of a salad dressing using high quality ingredient such as fresh herbs, good olive oil and vinegar.  This will last (refrigerated) for at least 2 weeks.

4.  Do a couple of “batch cooks” at the beginning of the week.  I always have a container of several cups of brown rice and/or quinoa in my frig to eat as a quick snack or incorporate into a meal (see Basic Brown Rice and Basic Quinoa on the website).  Boil a bunch of organic eggs to add to salads or eat as an “on the go” snack.Cook several pieces of fish or chicken to throw on to a salad or into a wrap.

5. Exercise: Schedule it into your day. If possible, make it one of the first things you do in the morning. I know that it is so easy to wake up, turn on the TV or computer and get completely distracted. If you exercise early, you will find that you are a happier, calmer and more clearheaded. It will take you a couple of days to adjust to getting up half an hour earlier, but it is worth it.

6. If making something substantial such as chili, lasagne or banana bread, double or triple the recipe and freeze what you aren’t eating immediately. That way you have something on hand when you have last minute company for dinner, need a quick “hostess” present or just don’t feel like preparing a meal.

If you have a time saving tip for healthy eating or exercise, email it to Leslie at Leslie@foodsensenow.com.