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Tip #4: Portable containers

September 1, 2009

Eating out is killing you (probably literally, but I was just going for the hyperbole here).  You are probably eating out for dinner too often, but if you work outside the home, odds are pretty good you are eating out for lunch too.  If you want to lose weight you are going to need to not only make healthy choices when you are dining out but more importantly find ways to dine out less often.

One of the best ways to do this is to get a whole lot of portable containers.  I recommend the medium size disposable square or bowls from ziploc and the divided rectangle container .  Also, you can get reusable plastic containers at local drug stores and grocery stores (the choice here depends on how likely you are to return the plastic containers to home before they get too moldy and disgusting.  I go with the disposable ones).  As well, I found this great site that sells the plastic, super disposable plastic containers that grocery stores pack their food in.  Depending on what you buy, they cost between $0.10 and about $0.50 each when bought in bulk.  I am thinking you might need a fair amount of storage space though (and a company name)…

In any case, having a bunch of these containers makes it fairly easy to package up your lunch from dinner the night before.  To make this work though, you have to package up your leftover dinner after dinner.  I have planned on getting up on time and packaging up my lunch in the morning about a million times, but I haven’t achieved that goal once (it doesn’t help that dinner and lunch food smells great for lunch and dinner, but rarely does it smell appetizing in the morning).  As well, when you pack your lunch after dinner, you are more likely to pack a proper portion size because you aren’t hungry at the time.

So, when you are cooking healthy meals, put some of it away in a lunch container and take it to work with you.  As well, you can put some pre-portioned food away for dinner the next day.  I cook a bunch of meals on Sunday for the family and for myself.  I put 2 or 3 meals away for dinners and lunches during the week.  Most meals will store for 2 or 3 days, especially spicy ones.  You should put the dressing on the side with salads and take it with you or add it in the morning.  I like a lot of my chicken dishes cold with salads, so if you don’t have a microwave where you work, plan for cold meals, there a bunch of very good ones.

Also a thermos is a great addition for soups or stews.  You can use the plastic ziploc bowls if you don’t have a thermos, but do have a microwave, but otherwise, go with a thermos.

I know all of this seems quite pre-planned and that probably isn’t your strong suit.  To quote the book You Are Not A Fit Person:

Fit people are very organized.  We all know this.  They are always prepared for just about everything, certainly for eating.  They are never caught without a pre-planned meal, nor without a full fridge.  This is another of those disturbingly distinct differences between fit people and us.  We rarely plan ahead, certainly not for food.  They always plan ahead, especially for food.  If you want to succeed at this, you are going to have to plan ahead.  You will have to shop at least once a week, and probably twice.  You will need to use the shopping list at the back of this book and make sure you have plenty of healthy food choices in your house and NO bad ones.

Think about it, if being prepared will help you lose weight and yet maintain your lifestyle, isn’t that a very small price to pay?  And you don’t have to be prepared all the time, just shoot for more prepared than you currently are.  I am very prepared on Sunday (when we shop) but by Wednesday I am back to my unprepared self, yet that is enough to allow me to have a sustainable target body weight.

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