Meal planning hacks for the rest of us

What’s the secret to meal planning? The secret is…. there is no secret.  You just do it.  MEAL. PLAN. EVERY. DAY.  There’s nothing inherently “sexy” about it, despite what those flashy instagram posts or blogs lead you to believe, but there are a few tricks to save you time and money. Eventually, you will get to the point where meal prep is just another chore like bathing or brushing your teeth (Am I inspiring you yet!)

You have to get to the point where you are sick and tired of being sick and tired.  The right nutrition will go a long way to improving your energy and health.  Great nutrition nourishes and heals the body.


  • Limit Variety During The Week To Save Time And Money. This means the core of what you eat everyday remains the same, but you can make changes to the seasonings or sides.  Core items in my diet include eggs, egg whites, wild Alaskan salmon, cod, chunk light tuna, sardines, or Tempeh. With every meal, I try and have a heaping of leafy greens or cruciferous vegetables. This could be anything from arugula and spinach salad, to roasted cauliflower and broccoli. Steamed kale and sautéed riced cauliflower is another great option.
  • Prep And Cook In Bulk On The Weekends.(or your least busy day). If Sunday is your meal prep day, then you’ll have to make sure your grocery shopping is done by the day before.  For me, this means I have to put the frozen fish in the refrigerator on Friday or Saturday in order for it to be thawed when I’m ready to cook it.
  • Have The Right Tools For The Right Job. You’ll need make sure your kitchen tools are easily accessible.  Tools that I use each week include a vegetable steamer, a toaster oven, an iron skillet, a large skillet, a baking stone, a Nutribullet and of course, a coffee maker.  Everything I use is stored strategically close to my cooking area.  In addition to cookware, an often neglected aspect of meal prep is Tupperware and a large insulated lunch bag.  Remember, you’ll be cooking anywhere from 2-5 servings to last you throughout the week and most of your meals won’t be eaten at home.  You’ll have to find a system that works for you.  For me this means I cook on Sundays and Tuesday evenings since I work Monday through Thursday.
  • Know your grocery store and get in and get out. Stick to your grocery list and try to avoid impulse purchases.  If you can limit variety, then your grocery shopping experience will be quick and easy because you’ll be eating the same core foods each week.  This recommendation is not a popular one, but unless you have extra time to plan, purchase and prepare a new menu each week, it’s really your best option.  The number one reason people don’t prepare their own meals is because of perceived lack of time.

The core of a healthy eating plan is one that emphasizes whole foods in their mostly natural state.  It should be low in added sugars, refined carbohydrates and saturated fat.  Feel free to go sugar-free, but don’t replace it with artificial sweeteners.  It’s worth mentioning that your meal plan should also be calorically balanced with the appropriate macro and micronutrients for your individual needs. This is your meal plan!

Don’t have time to cook?  No problem. Save time, energy and money and let our team of culinary professionals prepare your meals for you and your family.  Click here to order fresh, chef-prepared meals.  Order them just the way you like by visiting our website.

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Hidden Cues To Eating

Lifestyle Education Discussion:
“Hidden Cues To Eating”
“Why can’t I stop?” Have you ever repeated this question to yourself in an attempt to understand your eating behaviors? Of course you have. We all have. It’s a battle between what YOU WANT TO HAPPEN and what you ACTUALLY DO. It all comes down to food habits and food cues. It’s often said that nutrition is 20% science and 80% habit, so the question often is not “what,” but “how.” Let’s dig into this a little deeper.

A habit is a routine or behavior that is repeated regularly and tends to occur subconsciously. No question that habits are hard to break, and this is especially true with eating habits. Cues are anything in your internal or external environment that trigger you to a particular behavior. With food cues, they can originate internally, externally or arise in certain social situations. You will be familiar with the following:

– Eating at weddings, funerals and birthday’s
– Eating/drinking beer watching football games
– Overeating while watching TV
– Eating popcorn and drinking soda at a movie theater
– Eating at night (stressful day and unwinding with food)
– Mindless Eating at parties
– Eating candy from a coworkers desk
– Eating donuts or cookies left in a breakroom
– Eating out with coworkers at lunch
– Overeating at buffets
– Craving a whopper after seeing a Burger King commercial
– Stopping for a Krispy Kreme donut after seeing the “hot now” sign
– Eating for emotional reasons (stress, lonely, anxious, happy, sad, bored, angry, tired, etc)

When I’m working with individuals in a one-on-one setting it may be surprising to find that we spend little time discussing nutrition and “what” he/she should be eating. Instead, the majority of our energy is spent identifying habits and triggers. The focus of yesterday’s discussion was two-fold: Identify and recognize various cues to unhealthy eating habits and to understand how to replace those unwanted habits with habits that provide a positive reward for the brain. As we discussed yesterday, the brain loves reward. The more powerful the reward, the more difficult it is to break the habit. Hyperpalatable foods such as pizza, ice cream, junk food, etc stimulate the pleasure centers of the brain and provide a powerful reward (dopamine) that is hard to break. If you want to change the habit, you have to find an activity that provides a reward to the brain. The challenge is that eating junk food provides instant relief. Eating well and exercising produces more of a long-term, sustained reward. If you truly want to change your eating and exercising habits, you need to do so in a way that provides reward for the brain.

Some rewards of eating well and exercising:

– Improved energy
– Self confidence
– Disease prevention
– Look good
– Feel strong
– Empowered
– Shame-free
– Better sleep
– Getting off medications
– Cured depression/anxiety
– Improved immunity
– Glowing skin
– Increase mobility
– Freedom to live

I say this all the time, but weight loss isn’t about having more willpower or self-control. Instead, it’s about digging deep and understanding what motivates you. It’s about taking an inventory of your environment and then developing strategies that ensure success.

To the ladies and gentlemen that have made this work for them, please post your suggestions/experiences!

Sustainable Weight Loss

Once a quarter, we invite clients to speak about their successes with weight loss and lifestyle change. How do you define “success?”  Well, it turns out that weight loss success isn’t just about hitting a number on a scale.  It’s much deeper than that.

People who come to Nutrition Solutions have one thing in common–they’re desperate to get healthier.  And that’s about where you could draw the line on similarities.  Each person that comes in receives an individualized assessment and a personalized road map for achieving their health and weight loss goals. Why? Because each individual comes in with a unique identity that includes their goals, values, preferences, genetics, biology and so on.  We firmly believe that there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to health and our interactions with clients reflect that.

In my role as a dietitian and certified personal trainer, I get to work intimately with clients. I get to know what they want, need, and what matters to them most. Nearly everyone that comes to work with us desires weight loss, but as soon as you scratch below the surface you’ll find that what they want is more personal and nuanced than that.  What clients really want is to return to a place of balance when they weren’t limited by their weight. Over and over I hear clients excited to be able to do basic things like bend over and tie shoes, or ride roller coasters with their kids.  People who get healthy for life realize that certain health choices don’t line up with their values and goals and they commit to the process of change.  This does not, however, mean they are perfect and that they don’t make mistakes.  It does mean that they don’t ever give up and they surround themselves with the right support.

Sustainable weight loss isn’t really about a number, but rather it’s about a lifestyle and a commitment to daily habits that fuel that lifestyle.  At Nutrition Solutions, our mission is to provide tools and professional support to aid in this lifestyle transformation. We have everything from medically supervised weight loss programs, to nutritional genetic testing, and everything in between. We even have a culinary team that will prepare your meals for you!  All of the tools and support are available to each individual at each step of their weight loss journey.

If you are interested in learning more about our programs and services, call us at (864) 676-1248 or simply visit our website for more information

Nutrition Solutions


Weight loss is a team sport

Let me share a secret about weight loss:  it’s not just about the diet, or even fitness for that matter.  So often people approach weight loss with the end goal in mind and they often assume that the journey there is simply a matter of finding the right diet and exercise routine.  Although in a simple sense that is ultimately true, this fails to appreciate the complexities and nuances involved.  For example, humans are hard-wired for pleasure and they seek out rewarding experiences.  If you can understand that basic principle, then it’s no wonder why many of us would prefer to binge on pizza rather than salmon and broccoli, and why a Netflix binge is almost always preferred to a challenging hike or run.  Never mind the consequences, we’re thinking about the here and now–the instant gratification.

If you want to lose weight and keep it off, you’ll have to look at your friends and family. Yep, that’s right.  Weight loss is about having the right support system and often this means you must make severe changes to your social networks.  Take a look at the top 5 people you spend the most time with.  Is it your partner, coworkers, friends or family?  What are their health habits?  Unfortunately, I have enough experience to know that most people trying to lose weight lack what I would consider a basic support system.  Support does not mean that your partner allows you to diet while they remain stuck in their own poor health habits.  Support means they are on their own health journey and are alongside to encourage you when you’re feeling down.

Weight loss is a team sport and shouldn’t be something you tackle on your own.  If you want to lose weight and keep it off, you’ll need the right team and you’ll need tons of practice.  Will you fumble?  Of course, but you will learn and eventually get to the point where you are leading by example.

Who do you need on your team and why?  Get clear about what you need and then get creative about building your support system.  We can help!  If you’re tired of yo-yo dieting and you’re looking for a real lifestyle change, give us a call or visit our website.