Finding a Way to Eat Right on a Busy Schedule

Posted by:Lindsay S. Nixon Category: Guests

Like many of us, Natalie knew she wanted to eat better and make a change — and she did! In fact, Natalie was a past Herbie of the Week.

When Natalie emailed me a few days ago, I asked if I could share her email on the blog as a guest post. Natalie reminds us that it really is about progress, not perfection, and that there is always room to grow. Improvements can always be made, and that life is great about throwing curve balls. It's up to us to find a working solution, and Natalie did just that! I hope you can find some inspiration from Natalie and her brave honesty.

Natalie is the only Herbie in her house, and she's about to start working a crazy schedule — but she figured out a solution to make sure she sticks to her healthy, plant-based diet.

"Hi There! I just wanted to send you a quick update that I thought would make you smile. Since going plant based 1 1/2 years ago, I've had some great successes (being Herbie of the Week!), some spectacular failures (coconut oil is healthy in a raw soup, right?), and a whole lot of learning. Sort of like that chart you put up about the road to success vs. how we think it looks.

Anyway, despite being plant based, I still can't kick this last 30 pounds and I realized although I exercise regularly, it's my love of nuts, chips, avocados, and soy coffee creamer that is keeping me from getting to a healthy weight. So I made a resolution to only cook out of your books and Engine 2 for 90 days... OK, so far so good.

Well, as life does, it threw me a curve ball and a job I had applied for months ago, in part to get me out of the high stress emergency room nursing I was working in, called me back for an interview.

After being very part-time for the last 9 years to be home with our kids, I go back full-time next week. So now, I have to shift gears to being a full-time working mother of 3 elementary-aged kids. Panic set in, how is this going to work? I'm the only Herbie in the house! What about when I'm exhausted after a long day, or while we're getting adjusted? I don't want to wimp out and eat the kids' sloppy joes.

I know myself well enough to know that if I'm too tired, stressed, or hungry, I do NOT make good food choices. And then you started posting all the "cook in a day" ideas and it hit me! Freezer.

Today, in under 4 hours I have made these freezer meals: Cajun Meatloaf (p. 141 HHC), Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins (p. 42 HHC), Maple Muffins (p. 46 HHC), Hawaiian Chickpea Bowls (p.127 HHC), Mexican Chowder (p. 112 EHH), and Smoky Black Bean Wraps (p. 95 HHC) — with the doubled recipes for Veggie Korma (p. 100 HHA) and the frozen pancakes made earlier this week....

I'm feeling super confident I can easily maintain despite this huge adjustment. I can either fly out in the morning to drop the kids off at school with a healthy muffin and banana in the car or sit down and eat my pancakes (which microwave beautifully).

Lunch will be easy to grab and go with bags of carrots or an apple. The meatloaf can go in the oven with a baked potato while I steam some kale and cook the family's dinner. This can work!

Of course, the last hurdle is that dreaded two in the afternoon slump (Scone and Latte Time, in my previous working life), but I have a plan for that too. Butter Bean Cookies and Black Bean brownies to the rescue in individual snack bags, perfect with a cup of coffee/tea. Or little Tupperwares of Engine 2 Healthy Hummus and veggies which I'll pre bag.

Speaking of portion size, I use myfitnesspal on the iPhone to track. Just about every recipe I've made from all the cookbooks has been entered by Herbies. By following the recipes closely, and portioning them out as stated in the book, it makes tracking intake super easy.

Anyway, just wanted to say thanks for all the yummy recipes. They truly are the best food I have ever made and eaten. Easy, quick to prepare and out of stuff you can find at almost any store.

From a seriously Happy Herbivore,


P.S.: I also can't recommend the meal plans enough to busy individuals, or anyone trying to eat better. It's so much easier when you have a plan. Print the shopping list, buy groceries, spend 2-3 hours making the meals and voila! done for the week!"

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