8 Tips to Meal Plan for the Work Week

You’re at work and your stomach growls. It’s mid-day and the numbness in your backside is telling you it’s time to take a break from your desk.

Feeling a little past the hungry mark, you’re disappointed to remember that the healthy groceries you have stored at home did not make it to work with you.

Enter the cafeteria…

This scene is so common. Day after day you find yourself at work, hungry, with no lunch and no plan. Things generally go downhill from there.

The logical way to avoid being caught with a sad desk lunch is to plan ahead.

Meal planning is a skill (check out my video on Why Most Meal Plans Fail and What to do About it).

Here are some tips to meal planning for the workweek to make healthy eating easier when you have a busy schedule.

  1. Gather your recipes – the Internet is flooded with healthy recipes (some better than others). Print them out and dust off your stack of cookbooks to find recipes you like and will actually want to eat. Knowing what your options are goes a long way toward being prepared.
  2. Create a meal map for the week— this is a visual meal planning tool I use with my clients. Map your eating pattern according to your daily tasks. Will you have 3 meals? 2 and some snacks? Or does your schedule require you to have a big breakfast and graze throughout the afternoon? Mapping your meals helps you to plan ahead so you know what to bring along for your work day.
  3. Plan similar items— the week starts with great intentions (of cooking several complex dishes) but once the week hits it’s a different story. Plan similar dishes with similar ingredients so you can make things like rice in large batches ahead of time. Think about ways to create variety by adding different vegetables and side dishes to batch-made protein and grains.
  4. Create a shopping list— face it, there’s no such thing as running to the store for “just one thing.” Make a list ahead of time and stick to it. Try the Our Groceries app to create separate lists for different stores, and never worry about leaving your slip of paper at home.
  5. Set a designated shopping day— during your busy week the last thing you need is to have to stop for groceries 2-3 times. Create a routine and shop on the same day each week. You can plan this around when the produce at your grocer is the freshest.
  6. Batch cook & prep ahead— a classic time management tool is to batch similar tasks together. The same goes for cooking. Do simple meal prep; chopping, washing produce, etc. in advance so food is ready-to-go in your fridge. Cook meals in large quantities for the week and store them in airtight glass containers. Note: make-ahead meals typically last about 4 days in the fridge.

The recipes in my Everyday Eats Cookbook contain common household ingredients and are designed for batch cooking (and to make your life easier). Get your copy of the Upgraded & Expanded edition of Everyday Eats with over 50 whole-food recipes that are ready in under 30 minutes here.

  1. Cook once, eat two (or three) times– even if you’re cooking for one, it takes about the same amount of effort to cook a little or a lot. Make it a habit to cook in larger quantities so you’ll have some of your favourite meals on hand with little effort. Your future self will thank you.
  2. Use your freezer— the freezer is your friend, especially if you batch cook. Use glass storage containers to freeze homemade soups, stew, vegetables and meat. Thaw them on the counter and reheat on the stove top for a quick weeknight meal.

The best way to be prepared for the workweek is to have a plan for your meals at the start. If it’s not practical to eat a home-cooked meal every night, that’s ok. Make healthy takeout part of the plan – my favourites are Thai or Mediterranean grill with veggies. You’ll get the satisfaction of sticking to the plan, instead of finding yourself at the drive thru.

What Every Parent Needs to Know to Set a Healthy Body Image Example For Their Kids

Any parent who’s let a swear word slip around their child knows how quickly they pick up on things.

Kids are impressionable. They’re also always watching the adults they love and taking subconscious notes on how to interact with the world.

That means your kids are picking up on your eating and exercise habits. They’re also taking note of your relationship with food and your body.

The number one motivator I see with my clients is that they want to improve their relationship with their body and food in order to set a good example for their kids.

It’s never too late for you (or them) to learn. So if you’re reading this and you have adult children, you’re still on the hook for setting a healthy example.

One of the responsibilities that goes along with parenthood is being someone that your children look to for cues and advice on how to be in the world. That’s still the case, even when your kids are fully grown adults themselves.

Here are some ways that you, as the parent, can set a healthy body image example for your kids (of any age).

Don’t make food “good” or “bad”

This is a mindset mistake I see often. People bring morality (judgements of good/bad, right/wrong) into their vocabulary around food. This sends the message that a person is good/bad based on their food choices. That’s a lot of pressure to put on someone for eating a cupcake, which would otherwise be enjoyable.

When we overemphasize certain foods as being bad or special, it puts them on a pedestal. This creates an emotional reaction to those foods that wouldn’t otherwise be there.

When you pair that emotional association with the chemical reactions in the body from the sugar, carbohydrates, salt, fat (typical in treat foods) the emotional state experienced around these foods is heightened reinforcing the thought pattern.

The same thing happens when food is used as a reward for good grades, or good behaviour. Typically this is done with treat foods. We then create the association of junk food with good behaviour, which sets us up for problems as we get older.

Avoid emphasizing appearance over personal qualities

When a child grows up with the majority of the compliments they receive being about their physical appearance, they associate their value with the way they look. When they get positive reinforcement for something, they’ll naturally want to do more of it. This can lead to being hyper aware of their appearance or trying to control the way they look to seek validation from other people. This can plant the seed for eating disorders as the child gets older.

Instead of giving compliments and validation for appearance, try reinforcing positive behaviour qualities. Things like kindness, generosity, creativity, intuition, good decision making, or hard work put toward their activities. These behaviours have nothing to do with body image or appearance, making them healthy things to reinforce and celebrate.

Watch your self-talk

Children of any age will take cues from their parents’ relationship to their bodies. If you’re self-conscious at family gatherings, or put down your appearance in pictures, the people around you will pick up on that.

From a young age, children learn how to treat their bodies based on how they see their parents treating themselves. Parents who put themselves down or get upset over their physical appearance are teaching their children to do the same.

It’s not realistic to think that you won’t ever have concerns about the way you look. But the way you handle those bad body image days will set an example for the people around you.

The more you can respect yourself and your body by speaking kindly about yourself, the better you’ll feel, and you’ll set a healthier example for others.

Be conscious of role models

We all grow up idolizing the characters we see on TV, or celebrities in magazines. It’s no secret that these images have been carefully crafted (and most of the time altered) to fit with society’s standard of beauty. It’s hard to escape these influences, but you do have control over what comes into your home.

Beauty and fashion magazines are not healthy role models, regardless of your age. It’s easy to limit access to these by not bringing them into the house. But you might not have thought of the social influences your kids are exposed to.

I’ll never forget when I was 19 trying on clothes with my girlfriend who was obsessing over her thighs. Up until that point, I’d never considered that my thighs could be “fat” or the “wrong shape.” It never occured to me to be self-conscious about that part of my body, but once she introduced me to the thought I couldn’t get it out of my mind.

Associations are powerful. As a parent it’s impossible to oversee every relationship your child has, and that wouldn’t be healthy either. Instead focus on setting the tone for body positivity at home. The strength of your example will stand up against outside influences.

It’s ok to be a work in progress

Self-acceptance comes from being okay with yourself the way you are. We all have our individual life circumstances to thank for the way we look and feel in our bodies today. That’s part of what makes us unique. When you spend time wishing you were different, it promotes an unhealthy self-image and lowers your self-esteem.

Working toward goals in your health and fitness can be a great thing, but not if it’s leading you to feel ashamed of where you’re at right now. The energy you carry on a daily basis will determine how happy you feel, and that’s what will rub off on those around you. Aim for adopting a mindset of being ok with yourself as a work in progress. This will show your kids (or grandkids) that they can love and accept themselves the way they are, even while working toward a goal.

It’s never too late to ask for help

You’re never too old to be a positive role model for your loved ones. After all, we learn how to behave from watching the people around us. Which means we’re never too old to pass on our problems.

For example, if you struggle with emotional eating, your kids will pick up on this pattern and are more likely to relate to food the way you do. If there’s an area of your relationship with food or your body that you need to heal, you can set a healthy example by seeking support.

It’s never too late to ask for help with improving your relationship with food and your body. If there’s a body image pattern or food habit that you haven’t been able to solve, chances are your kids will experience the same and also not know how to resolve it.

It’s not up to you to have all the answers, but you can lead by example in seeking the support necessary to overcome your challenges. This shows courage, determination and self-love, which sets a healthy example that you’ll want your children to follow.

Ready to overcome your challenges with food or body image? Book your complimentary Body-Love Breakthrough Call today to gain clarity on the best next steps for you.


When you create a healthy mindset around your body and food, your kids will follow your example. The way you take care of yourself is the way they learn to take care of themselves.

You don’t have to be perfect to set a good example for your kids. They’ll learn from the way you stand up to your challenges and effort toward being the healthiest version of you.

What Food Cravings Really Mean

Food cravings can really throw you off track. That’s true whether you’re focused on weight loss, trying to maintain a healthy diet, or just trying to focus on the task at hand. Food cravings can come up when you least expect them, and they’re frustrating because they can be difficult to decode.

It’s important to recognize that cravings are part of the way our bodies communicate with us. Unfortunately, what our bodies want is not always clear.

Pay attention to your food cravings and compare how they feel in your body at the different times they come on. Cravings for different foods will feel differently in the body. Sugar cravings for example can be sudden and come on strongly, but they can also leave just as quickly if you’re able to hold off.

Use this list of common causes of cravings as a guide to help you determine where your craving is coming from.

Causes of Cravings

There’s plenty of reasons you might find yourself craving certain foods. Here are some common ones to check in with. When you recognize where your cravings come from, it’s easier to respond in a healthy way.

  • Nutritional – craving a food because your body needs a nutrient it contains. For example, craving chocolate could be a sign of low magnesium, or craving salt could be a need for minerals.
  • Emotional – craving stimulation, excitement, or connection in your life that’s being mistaken as a food craving. It can be difficult to tell the difference in the moment, but if you check in with your body and you’re not truly hungry, it’s likely your craving is emotionally driven.
  • Bacterial – bacteria thrive on sugar. When you have an imbalance of good bacteria to yeast and harmful bacteria you can develop strong sugar cravings on behalf of the bacteria’s desire to be fed.
  • Hormonal – the hormonal changes in our bodies can bring on cravings for sweets, carbohydrates, salt, chocolate and other foods. This can be due to low blood sugar, or because the body needs extra energy while things are fluctuating inside.
  • Seasonal – anyone else break out all the pumpkin recipes in the fall? Sometimes we associate certain foods and flavours with a time of year and this brings on cravings. The craving can be more for the familiarity and nostalgia the food represents, than for the food itself.
  • Rebelling – when things are going well in your life do you notice yourself “acting out” through craving treats in your diet? If you haven’t expanded your capacity to receive good into your life you might find yourself rebelling during times that are going well. An easy way to do this is to eat foods that don’t support your wellbeing or cause you to feel off, as a way to bring yourself down from your heightened state.

When you take the time to tune into your body – take a few deep breaths, slow down, and focus on how you’re feeling – it’s easier to hear what your body is trying to say. Sometimes cravings are about eating a certain food, but more often they’re a message about your emotions that’s being confused as a request for food.

At first when you tune into your body, it can feel like you’re a new mother who has to “guess” what her crying baby wants. But eventually your desires will become more clear. Use the above list as a guide and pay attention to any feelings that are coming up, especially if you’re going through a difficult or uncomfortable time emotionally.

Feeding your body instead of working through the difficult emotions can be a way of numbing yourself so you don’t have to feel your emotions. The more you consciously recognize what’s truly going on in your body, the more you’ll be able to respond appropriately to your needs.

When you recognize your craving is emotionally driven here are some things to try:

  • Phone a friend and talk about how you’re feeling
  • Journal your thoughts
  • Talk it out with the person you’re feeling conflict with
  • Meditate on the feeling and breathe through it
  • Use EFT (tapping) to work through the emotion
  • Mindful movement like yoga can help you move the emotional energy in your body
  • Punch a pillow if anger or frustration is what’s coming up

Discerning your cravings can be difficult if you’re new to this work, but it’s worthwhile so you don’t let cravings run your life or ruin your health.

Are food cravings running the show in your life? The Eats & Asana coaching mentorship gives you the tools to connect with your body so you can understand it’s cues and respond in a loving way. These tools have helped many emotional eaters turn their cravings into wisdom that’s helped them improve their health, have more energy and feel great in their skin.

Book your Body Love Breakthrough Call to learn more about Eats & Asana and how it can help you create a healthier relationship with your body and food.

The Health Risks of Perfectionism

I was listening to a podcast recently about perfectionism. The host was sharing something interesting about people who exhibit this quality – they don’t think they have an issue with perfectionism because they don’t do anything perfectly.

I had just caught myself having that exact thought. “Well, I can’t be a perfectionist, because everything around me isn’t perfect.”

Hearing that put it all into perspective. I’ve wrestled with my own high standards throughout my life. In fact, in my teens and 20’s I was the typical Type A personality – great grades, hard on myself, and developed an eating disorder.

Needless to say, I know all about perfectionism and the harsh inner critic that causes me to set extremely high standards for myself and feel like there’s no other way but to meet them.

Just in case you’re wondering if you fit into this definition (keep in mind there are shades of perfectionism, so you don’t have to fit one perfectly) here are three common types of perfectionism that people exhibit:

Self-oriented perfectionism- is where individuals hold unrealistic expectations of themselves, attach irrational importance to being perfect and have hard self-evaluations.

Other-oriented perfectionism – is where individuals expect those around them to be perfect and are highly critical of others who fail to meet their expectations.

Socially prescribed perfectionism- occurs when individuals believe that others judge them harshly for their social context and that they need to be perfect for others in order to secure approval.

For those of us who live with high standards and high expectations of ourselves it can be difficult to discern if these are rooted in perfectionism, or just the way we like things.

Perfectionism can be a recipe for chronic stress, anxiety and is even linked to depression. It can be hard to tell whether your self-evaluations and expectations are toxic if you’ve lived with them all your life. But toxic perfectionism leaves clues. Knowing the warning signs of toxic perfectionism can help you decipher when it’s time to make a change.

Health Risks of Perfectionism

The mind and body are intimately connected. Therefore the mental stress you experience about whether your body, your home, your family, or your life lives up to the standards you have for yourself directly impacts your health.

Regardless of what area your perfectionist tendencies show up, the stress they create causes health problems that show up in similar patterns. They include:

  • Chronic stress
  • Fatigue
  • High blood pressure
  • Cardiovascular disease (or increased risk)
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • High risk for bipolar disorder
  • Risk of suicide

Occasionally, if your perfectionism is body-oriented (wanting to look a certain way to gain approval from others or yourself) the health risks can increase and include things like:

  • Eating disorders (anorexia, bulimia, orthorexia)
  • Adrenal fatigue
  • Malnutrition
  • Increased risk of osteoporosis
  • Increased risk of autoimmune conditions

No matter how you add it up, the health risks just aren’t worth the potential gain of satisfying your inner critic (especially when that critic is never fully satisfied). What’s more, it’s hard to enjoy your life and all of the amazing things in it if you’re constantly living under the rule of a harsh inner critic.

If you’re dealing with some form of perfectionism and want to explore what it would be like to loosen the reigns, book your Breakthrough Call with me. We’ll talk it through and get you some clarity on your situation and how best to move forward.

Tools to Help Resolve Perfectionism

There is no quick fix for a mindset that took years to create. I also want to be upfront and say that perfectionism isn’t all bad. Having standards for your life and striving to reach goals can be a healthy part of your overall well being.

The key is to strike a fine balance that allows your health to flourish and enables you to be your best self, as opposed to putting a damper on your mental health or your body.

Here are some tools that have helped me on my journey through perfectionism recovery (which is ongoing) and are a great place to start.

  1. Yoga and mindfulness – there are so many ways that yoga benefits the mind and body, but did you know it can help you overcome toxic perfectionism? The practice of yoga brings you into the present moment. It helps you to stop thinking about the future, stop comparing yourself and let go of worrying about whether or not you measure up.

    Mindfulness practices like yoga and meditation will help you be aware of your thoughts as they come up so you can question them and choose whether or not to believe them and continue down the path. Just don’t get caught up in whether or not you’re doing the poses perfectly. Yoga is about being in the moment. So when you show up on your mat to practice, you’ve already won.
  2. Talk to someone – a coach or therapist can be a great outlet for sharing your perfectionist thoughts and inclinations. It’s very cathartic to out your perfectionist thoughts by sharing them out loud to someone. When you hear yourself say out loud the things that your inner critic tells you, you’re more likely to question the thoughts instead of believing them. Sometimes saying the words out loud is all it takes to discredit that inner voice and choose a new thought that’s more in line with your health and wellbeing.
  3. Loosen up on expectations – when you realize there are effects of perfectionist thinking on your health it’s motivating to make a change. Bringing your expectations to a reasonable level will help you not to put so much pressure on yourself. Self-compassion is an attitude of understanding toward yourself and your circumstances. When you practice self-compassion you’ll be able to acknowledge and accept where you’re at in the moment, even if you’re working toward change.

If you’ve read this far, it’s probably because you can relate to these perfectionist tendencies. My Eats & Asana coaching mentorship supports women who are perfectionists about their bodies, their eating habits and their schedules to find a healthy way of eating and living so they can thrive (guilt-free!). If you’re curious to know what the program can do for you, book your  Breakthrough Call so we can talk more.

How to Have More Energy – what’s stealing your energy and what to do about it

What comes to mind when you think about having more energy?

For me, when I close my eyes and think about having more energy I see myself feeling up-beat, positive and ready for anything that comes up.

Like a lot of us, I don’t envision what it takes to get to that place where I’m energized and ready to take on the day. I just see the final product.

The truth is, there are a number of factors that contribute to how energized or run down you feel. Too many to go into detail with in one blog post, so I’m going to give you a high-level overview of what to consider when you’re looking to improve your energy level.

Sneaky Energy Drains

Here are some sneaky ways your energy level might be depleting without you realizing it.

Misusing your energy – Consider where you are spending your energy. Sometimes it’s not that there’s anything wrong with your energy level, but that you’re spending your energy on things other than your main priorities. Can you do less? Can you delegate some of your tasks? Ask yourself these questions to look for places where you can conserve energy.

Energy drains – low vibe people or experiences can drain your energy. Keep an eye out for times when you feel your body contract, or your mind go into negativity. These are signs that you’re slipping into a lower vibration where your energy is more dense, so you’ll feel tired a lot easier.

Not enough joy in your life – this goes hand in hand with energy drains. If you have things to look forward to and enriching relationships, you’ll have more energy. Consider whether you have enough joy in your life. Lack of joy could be a cause of low energy.

Eating too many carbs – can make you feel tired, especially if you’re choosing refined grains or simple sugars. If you’re not eating an abundance of carbohydrates, it could be that you’re not getting through protein and healthy fats to balance the amount of carbs you’re eating.

Nutrient deficiencies – these can come about from eating the same foods all the time. Variety in your diet is key to getting the range of nutrients your body needs. See your doctor for a blood test annually to check your nutrient levels.

Underlying health conditions – what a lot of major health conditions have in common is fatigue as a symptom. Whether it’s cardiovascular disease, cancer, or autoimmune conditions, fatigue is a symptom. That’s not helpful if you’re trying to narrow down a condition you’re affected by, but it can point you to an underlying problem if you haven’t considered one before.

Poor sleep – if you’re not getting proper rest at night you’re more likely to feel fatigued during the day. This is an easy one to point to for lack of energy.

Poor recovery from exercise – you might be working out to stay healthy, but is it working against you? If your body isn’t able to properly recover (with rest, nutrients and sleep) from your workouts, they could be making you more tired. Pay attention to how you feel on your workout days (especially after your workout) and if you’re drained, it’s a good sign to scale back on the length or intensity of your activity.

Emotional fatigue – big emotions like grief, anger and sadness can take up a lot of energy. Especially if you don’t have the tools to process them. If you’re going through a difficult time, you’ll need more rest to catch up.

Thought loops – thinking can drain your energy just as much as movement can. Negative thoughts in particular (and especially if you’re stuck ruminating on them) can take up a lot of energy and make you feel sluggish and tired.

Stress – there are so many ways stress shows up in the body. Feeling extra tired is one of them. Pay attention to how your body responds to difficult situations. You might notice a correlation between work pressure and feeling fatigue. Double up on your rest and relaxation to help you manage your stress.

How to Have More Energy

Now that we’ve looked at possible reasons you’re feeling depleted, here are some ways to boost your energy level.

  1. Drink more water – it’s amazing how much energy we get from being properly hydrated. Aim for 60+ oz of water each day. Even better if it’s filtered. Space your water intake throughout the day for best results.
  2. Manage stress – this might go without saying but being proactive about managing your stress level will help your body have more energy long term. Mindfulness practices, meditation, going for a walk, and talk therapy are all great ways to manage stress and preserve your energy level.
  3. Rethink your movement – your body’s movement requirements change in different seasons of your life. Moderate gentle movement like walking, a light jog, yoga or tai chi are all great ways to keep your body moving without burning yourself out. Slow and steady might be exactly what you need when you’re feeling more tired than usual. It’s important to listen to your body though. You might benefit from taking a few days off from movement if you’re really wrung out.
  4. Get enough sleep – aim for 7-9 hours per night and a consistent bedtime. Your body likes routine, so support yourself in having a great night’s sleep by creating an evening routine to wind down before bed. This should include time away from your screens and direct sources of light.
  5. Eat complex carbohydrates – foods like brown rice, beans, squash and sweet potatoes are all complex or “slow burning” carbohydrates. These won’t raise your blood sugar as quickly as simple sugars, so they’ll keep your energy level stable for a longer period of time.
  6. Add more joy to your days – probably the most underestimated source of energy is joy. Look for things you love and do more of them, often.
  7. Drink less alcohol and coffee – stimulants mess with your body’s natural rhythm. Avoid caffeine and alcohol as much as possible, especially in the evening.
  8. Revamp your relaxation – if you’re used to “relaxing” in front of your computer or watching Netflix, it’s time to rethink this strategy. When you’re watching a screen your brain is highly stimulated. Ideally your down time activities take you away from screens and allow your body to wind down. Try reading a book, meditating, or doing gentle yoga in low light as a relaxation technique instead.

There is no one size fits all approach to improving energy. It’s multiple factors that work together to make you feel energized and ready to take on the day, or depleted.

Want to pinpoint the cause of your energy drain and turn your lifestyle around to support your energy level? The Eats & Asana method has stress management and eating for energy built-in so you can feel your best every day. Find out more here.