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Back to school means back to healthy habits

jar salads

Meal preparation can help you reach your health goals.

It’s easy to get out of your fitness routine during the summer months. Invitations to backyard barbeques, ice cream stands on every corner along with sampling delicious foods on vacations makes it easy to add on a few pounds during the summer months. Back-to-school season is the perfect time to get back on track in meeting your fitness goals.

“Preparing meals for the week is just one way to keep the momentum going,” says Via Christi Weight Management educator Leann Moore, adding that it also can be a tremendous money-saver and method for encouraging portion control.  "My favorite way to meal prep is find two recipes, one for the crockpot and one for the oven so I can prepare most of my main meals at the same time.  While they are cooking, I prep my healthy snacks for the week."

When meal prepping, do what works best for you, even if that means purchasing pre-made meals. “The goal is make sure you have the convenience of grabbing healthy snacks and meals while you’re on the go during the week,” Moore says.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, Americans age 18 and older spend about 37 minutes in food preparation and cleanup. This is time worth spent considering that lack of time is a top reason why people don’t cook at home. Advance meal prep allows you to walk through the door of your home and have a satisfying dinner or lunch within a matter of minutes – an effective alternative to fast-food and pre-meal snacking that can contribute to extra calories and weight.

Says Moore: “If you can invest one or two hours a week in meal and snack prep, you will find healthy eating to be much easier and your future self will be grateful!”

For information about Via Christi's Weight Management program in Wichita, go to viachristi.org/weightloss.

For more information on healthy weight loss in Manhattan, please contact Via Christi LIGHT at 785-565-2900 or visit viachristi.org/light.

About Roz Hutchinson

Roz Hutchinson is a Wichita wife, mother and chief spoiler of six grandkids and three Chihuahuas, a die-hard women's basketball fan, and director of Communications and Public Relations for Via Christi Health.