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“Preparation, I have often said, is rightly two-thirds of any venture.” — Amelia Earhart
Planning ahead is the key to a successful Whole Life Challenge experience. Even those of us with the best intentions run into trouble if we don’t think ahead and plan our meals, exercise, and sleep. Preparation is the glue that bonds the 7 Daily Habits, and beyond the Challenge, it’s crucial for a healthy life.
But while planning ahead is essential, it doesn’t have to be difficult.
That said, if planning out a healthy lifestyle is a new practice for you, then finding out what the veterans do would be helpful, right?
Below, players of all experience levels share their tips and tricks for weekly prep, and offer insight into how they set themselves up for their best Whole Life Challenge experience by planning ahead.
1. Keep WLC-Compliant Food on Hand (Especially When Out of the House)
From Emily: “Make sure to always have compliant snacks on hand at home, in the car, or in your purse. This has ‘saved’ me multiple times.”
If you’re out and about and start to feel hunger pangs, you might be tempted to stop at a drive-through or coffee shop. Having tasty, WLC-compliant food on hand at all times is not only better for your health, but it will save you money and time.
From Stacy: “Planning, planning, planning! I keep my purse full of avocado, bananas, and oranges, which prevent non-compliant and mindless snacking.”
2. Make Your Own Snacks
From Evelyn: “Making oatmeal muffins (that are essentially whole oats with raisins for flavor and egg to hold them together) is really vital for me to curb cravings. Especially since I still have bread in front of me all the time because of the kids!”
Most packaged food is not Whole Life Challenge compliant. Fruits and vegetables are wonderful quick snacks, but it you want a break from carrots and apples, spend some time prepping healthy snack food. Here’s recipe for Flourless Banana Oat Muffins, similar to what Evelyn makes.
One Whole Life Challenge veteran even makes her own crackers! From Jill: “I make mayo, ranch dip, and five seed crackers so I have snacks handy.”
3. Eating Out? You Can Still “Meal Prep”
You don’t have to give up eating out and socializing during the Challenge, but you might have to plan ahead before you arrive at the restaurant.
From Daisy: “If you’re going out to eat, bring your own salad dressing that you made so you know it’s compliant.”
From Ramona: “As silly as it sounds, eat something healthy with some protein BEFORE you go out to dinner. Being ravenous always leads to poor choices in restaurants and even the grocery store (and Costco)!”
And a simple tip from Lewelen: “I read the menu before I go out. It helps me determine if I can eat there at all and stay compliant without too much hassle for the chef/kitchen.”
4. Start the Week out Right
From Trish: “Never skip a Monday workout! I am much more intentional in all my health goals when I’ve had my workout, so I always get up and show up at the gym first thing Monday morning.”
Starting the week with a good workout sets the tone for the days ahead, so do whatever you have to do Sunday night — set out your clothes, go to bed early, avoid alcohol — to make sure you exercise on Monday.
5. Collect Your Favorite Recipes in One Place
One of the challenges of consistently eating healthy is figuring out what to cook. Make that process easier by collecting your favorite recipes in one place.
From Kati: “Much of the WLC can be overwhelming. Make a WLC cookbook either electronically or a hard copy with all of your favorite recipes. Try the recipe first to see if you like it enough to make again. I bought a binder notebook with sections to sort them. Keep the notebook in the kitchen for quick go-to recipes. You can do this for favorite exercises, too.”
Recipe apps like Copy Me That can also help you organize your recipes electronically.
And, as Suzanne discovered, finding a healthy recipe or food you love is a lifesaver: “[I make] compliant smoothies for breakfast three days a week and as a snack any time I need something extra. Frozen chopped kale, ice, frozen fruit of any kind, Greek yogurt, and almond milk. Add half a banana, cinnamon, ginger, etc. to jazz it up. Find a combo that you enjoy.”
6. Multitask When Meal Prepping
From Christina: “Multitask meal prep as much as possible. While I make breakfast on Sundays, I bake the entire pack of bacon while I’m hard boiling eggs on the stove, while I use my food processor for cauliflower rice or spiralize zoodles on the island. I can knock all that out in about 20 to 30 minutes and it makes enough for breakfast for the entire week (bacon and eggs) and helps get two staples out of the way for easier dinners. Sometimes I will also boil sweet potatoes for mash or roast sweet potatoes at the same time as the eggs/bacon.”
Multitasking is your friend when meal prepping for the week ahead. Make one big mess, prepare everything, and you’ll have delicious, healthy food for every meal.
7. Share With Your Whole Life Challenge Team
Marie: “I cook or bake a couple different compliant items from my favorite menu collection: egg/veggie muffins, blueberry muffins, blueberry bites, or compliant brownies, etc. The exciting and motivating part is sharing these with my WLC local teammates early in the week. They enjoy it, too!”
You can share even if you’re on a virtual team. Post your favorite recipes, workouts, and apps in the game’s Communication Feed. And once you start sharing, chances are your teammates will share their tips and “secrets” back, as well.
Because, truly, the best part of the Whole Life Challenge is sharing your experience with teammates. Your fellow WLC players not only understand your struggles and your triumphs, they are also wonderful sources of information and healthy living tips.
Live Your Best Whole Life Challenge Life
And when in doubt — reach out to your fellow teammates!