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A Little Planning Goes a Long Way for a Healthy Lifestyle

As the mother of teens, the benefits of planning seem to be an ongoing lesson for both my kids and me.  Sometimes it’s watching John run around in the morning trying to grab his stuff and run out the door to get to school on time (“If you had organized the things you need last night, you wouldn’t be rushing around this morning”).  Many other times it’s me trying to make sure we’re eating healthfully throughout the busy school/work week.  It’s a challenge to be sure, but I have found that things run much more smoothly and we all reap the benefits with a little bit of planning.

I’m a list maker by nature, so some of this comes naturally, but it’s taking the time to sit down each week and plan my grocery list and weekly menus that can be difficult.  I tend to shop at the same supermarket, so I start with the weekly circular that arrives each Thursday.  There are things I’m going to buy every week, like milk, but the items that are on sale help me to better map out my weekly menu.  Once I know what my meal plan is, I make out my full shopping list.

I also use my calendar to figure out what’s going on for the upcoming week and determine how much running around I’ll be doing on a particular night–this influences what we’ll have for dinner.  For example, an evening where appointments are scheduled until 5:30 would be ideal for my main dish to be via the crock pot.  It’s ready when I get home and I just have to make a few veggie side dishes.

For me, planning is also crucial for incorporating exercise into my schedule.  Let’s face it–it’s so easy to get home and want to slug out on the couch.  I’ll map out an exercise plan early in the week and stick to it (for the most part!).  Example: I drop Alex off at the orthodontist at 3:50 and hit the gym to do some strength training exercises and 20 minutes of cardio before heading back to pick her up at 4:50.  She also brings her homework along to do while waiting.  It may not be as long as I’d like to spend at the gym, but compromise is key with a busy schedule.

Fruits & Veggies–More Matters has ideas, recipes and tips to get you started.  Visit the Healthy Meal Planning section where you can even access weekly menus and shopping lists.  Trust me–you might take a few minutes out of your busy day to do this, but you’ll be so glad you did the remainder of the week!

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