I knew when I started this practice session of Conservation Fitness that it would be hard to stay on the meal plan at the end of October. I did it last year, when I tried the Whole30. Believe it or not, it’s not Halloween which is hard to resist tempting food. It’s what comes AFTER Halloween for me that makes it hard to resist.

For one thing, all my friends who took their kids, nieces and nephews, or friends’ kids trick-or-treating have tons of candy that they try to unload onto me. Others who hosted or attended parties are also unloading their leftovers. And how DARE you refuse or deny their generous offering?!

My friends aren’t the only perpetrators. I mean, I am just as good at sabotaging my health all on my own. Going into a store where all their Halloween candy is on discount is remarkably difficult, even for an Eating Green connoisseur. And then they start getting all their Christmas treats front and center. And suddenly, I want ALL THE FOOD!

There is one other problem with starting a food and fitness challenge this time of year. November is known as NaNoWriMo- National Novel Writing Month. It’s the time of year when writers everywhere are congregating and writing, sharing, and celebrating their books. And writers thrive on mindless eating. Mindless eating and writers go hand in hand.

And yet, I survived last year and made it through Whole30. So this year, I am going to get through the Conservation Fitness Program. The biggest reason I get through it is because of meal planning and meal prepping.

The idea of a fitness program is showing how meal planning works to remove temptation. Conservation Fitness teaches you the habit, why it’s important for your health, and reinforces the idea by showing how it benefits the environment. And the guide itself is a grand example of meal planning. I provide you a week of meals, a shopping list for all the ingredients, and the recipes for each meal and snack.

While I provide the structure for the month, what I really hope is participants see how helpful it is having a week of meals planned out and writing out a shopping list for everything you’ll need. In fact, I am thinking of adding a fifth week where I have participants fill out their own meal plan, and write out their own shopping list.

So Conservation Fitness helps out in the first part of meal planning and prepping. I wish I could come to everyone’s home and help them with the meal prepping, but they really have to do that on their own. But I can give you some helpful tips for meal prepping at home.

  1. For quick lunches, chop salads, and place the prepared ingredients in separate containers. Chop up lettuce and greens and favorite salad ingredients- tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, radishes. Measure out dressing and toppings in different containers. Then in the morning, grab your salad, dressing, and toppings, and go.
  2. Make a chicken salad, but make a big enough batch for 5 days (or however many you need for on the go). Separate in different containers. In the morning, grab two slices of bread and your salad on your way out.
  3. Make a large batch of pasta, quinoa, or rice pilaf and separate into containers. Add spices and veggies you like, and then grab and go.
  4. On a Saturday (or a day you aren’t working), take an hour to write out a meal plan for you and your family. Make it a family event. Ask everyone to choose a good family meal for you all to enjoy. Write out your shopping list so you know everything you need for the week.
  5. The day before your week begins (like Sundays), spend two hours making your batch lunches and breakfasts. Try muffins, egg casseroles, or pancake mixes. They help making breakfast in the morning easy and convenient.
  6. Look ahead at your meal plan for the week and spend a little time preparing ingredients for dinners. Chop veggies for a stew and store in the refrigerator until you need it. Slice zucchini for your lasagna, or make the marinade for your chicken ahead of time. This time spent prepping for your meals will save you HOURS in the kitchen.
  7. In the evening, make some preparations for easy morning routine. Set your coffee maker. Chop veggies for a snack. Set out some fruit to grab as you leave. Hard boil an egg or two for lunch. When you wake up, you have things conveniently available so you won’t be hurried getting ready and making healthy choices.

This week, I’ve been doing a lot of meal prepping. I spent two hours on Sunday preparing my breakfast casserole, prepping for dinners, and making easy lunches and snacks. All the dry bread ingredients I would need for the week were put in separate containers. I have a very small fridge, so I probably would have prepped more in the beginning of the week if I had more room. So I’ve been doing a little meal prepping each night to prepare for the next day. Which is working pretty well.

Today:

Breakfast- Last of the Keto Casserole
Lunch- Small salad, wasn’t feeling hungry
Dinner- Cauliflower Mac and Cheese Risotto
Snack- Veggies and Keto ranch dressing- oooooh, this is why I’m doing a practice run. Good grief, I must have written the recipe down wrong from where I adapted this. Because I’ve made this before and it did not turn out like this. But now that I’ve made it and figured out the recipe is way off, I can fix it at least in the program guide. I can’t fix the ranch dressing here and now. Which is too bad because I’m supposed to have it for a snack later this week.

Workouts:
CrossFit Beginners- slacked off but did do the MetCon (rowing, pull-ups, plank, and push press)
ZooFit- Fate of the Die

Mood: I had a rough start to the day. I was trying to sign up for a Health Coach certification, but discovered I need a lot more formal education before I could get certified through ACE. While on the phone with a representative, I got a text from my landlord telling me my car was about to get blocked in by the roofers. At CrossFit, one of my “students” brought cupcakes. Not that I was that tempted. But still. Then I got home and started preparing my meals, making my ranch dressing which I felt I absolutely ruined. Making other snacks and then dinner felt better, and especially after our easy-going workout. But the evening was salvaged by getting with a good writer friend to go to my NaNoWriMo Kick-off event.

Oh let me tell you about my plans for NaNo. Unlike previous years, I’m not planning on writing a whole book in a month. I have too many projects I need to work on to focus on a novel or story. But I do plan on increasing my word count daily to 1000 for the month. I will likely blog daily (at least until the 18th, for sure). I have some magazine articles and blog post I want to write and submit. Some major editing on big projects. I want to work more on my proposals and queries. And I have some presentations I want to work on for next year. So, I’ll be busy, and likely get over 1000 words a day, but not in the official NaNoWriMo sense.

Challenges: I mean, it’s Halloween. I used to live for Halloween. Now, I just kind of put on Halloween themed socks, come up with a Halloween themed workout, and don’t do a whole lot else. I don’t party like I did several years ago. But treating is tricky. Especially when you flub up your snacks. Hopefully I fixed my mistake and tomorrow we’ll be back on track.