The thought of consistently eating healthy throughout the week and the process that involves is enough to cause high levels of stress and anxiety in many of us. The time. The money. The time. Fear of failure. The time. Lack of enjoyment. There are so many thoughts that come to mind and they all get jumbled up. When they get jumbled, we get stressed. When we get stressed we either quit or we choose not to get started in the first place. Sound familiar? Well check out these easy tips that will help you get started, gain momentum, and hold onto it forever.

First, we must understand that almost all stress in our lives is a result of a lack of clarity. We don’t know how to proceed. Think about it. We have our day planned out and things are going well, then our boss, spouse, and kids each come at us with 2 or 3 things they need from us that we didn’t plan for. It wasn’t part of our plan. We don’t know how we’ll accomplish it all. The lack of clarity around what to do creates stress. This concept transfers directly to our nutrition. Oftentimes we want to eat healthy, consistently, but we just wing it assuming that we’ll make great choices when presented with them. Well, all of life’s other happenings present themselves too and when in a crunch or stressed out the thought of figuring out food adds to the fire. Then we make the fast, convenient choice to accomplish the task of satisfying our immediate hunger.

So how do we reduce stress? We must add clarity to the situation. When we do the task in front of us will be presented in a much more achievable light. When we know we can get it done and how we’re going to do it, the stress magically disappears. In the example with our boss, spouse, and kids, all we’d need to do is write down each item, rank them in importance and urgency, decide who can help us, which items get removed completely and then get started checking off boxes. In the case of your nutrition, Planning is king. Take 15 minutes to plan out your week nutritionally. This plan doesn’t have to be perfect or perfectly healthy. Make a 3×7 grid, breakfast, lunch, and dinner for each day of the week. Write in the meals where you know you’ll be eating out like date nights, business lunches, birthday dinners, etc. Include where that will be. Once those boxes are set you can write in where and roughly what time you’ll be eating the rest of the meals. Then you can dive deeper into what you want each of those meals to be. Maybe you have a go-to breakfast every day? Plug it in. Once you’ve filled in this plan, you can decide what each meal will be. Check out restaurant menus in advance, make a healthier choice prior to going. What boxes can include pre-prepped meals and which will have a freshly prepared meal? The more detailed you develop your plan, the more clarity you’ll have around your week of nutrition. The more clarity, the less stress you’ll likely take on regarding food in the week ahead.

Next, meal prep and plan. This doesn’t have to be fancy, time consuming, or complete. In fact, 1 prepped meal can check off 3 of your weekly boxes. 2 meals can check off 6. That’s a large portion of the week and might just be what you need in order to keep progress towards your goals. Planning, prepping, shopping, and cooking will require less than 3 hours of your time. Sounds like a lot? Nah. When you consider that you’ll invest roughly an hour total, deciding, driving, ordering, waiting, eating, and then driving again, for each unplanned meal throughout your week, 2-3 hours of prep will clearly cost you less time. The time excuse is played out.

When meal prepping, choose 2 recipes that each use a different cooking method. For example the crockpot and the oven. This way you can have them both going at the same time saving you more time. Keep the recipes simple. Simple food is easier to prepare well, allows you to control portions more effectively, and maintains the natural flavor of the ingredients. Learning to appreciate the simple flavors is key to finding enjoyment in clean, healthy eating.

Lastly, be prepared for things to go wrong. There will be weeks when unexpected events arise and you aren’t able to execute your plan or even make one. Don’t let this derail you. We plan for this as well by having 2 go-to emergency meal preps. These meal preps are not necessarily part of your weekly planning. They’re simple, healthy recipes, made with ingredients that we’ll keep on hand at all times. They’ll include minimally processed pantry items like whole grains, whole grain pastas, canned vegetables, and nuts. We’ll also stock minimally processed frozen veggies, frozen potatoes, and frozen lean meats. If we ever find ourselves in a jam, we have these items stocked and know what to do with them.

I hope that these ideas help. Just like most things in life, it’s a little simpler than we make it out to be. Simple planning will increase your clarity which will reduce the stress you feel. Reduced stress means you’ll stick to your plan more often, stress eat less, and stay on track for your goals. Time is not an excuse. In fact it’s a resource and we should use it to conquer our goals!

-Coach Derrick

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Niko Garcia


Niko comes to Earned Fitness with a wealth of coaching experience having trained under the Yamada’s for 6 years. His enthusiastic yet detailed approach to coaching allows his athletes to excel and find love for a more active lifestyle. 


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