Maintaining Bright Line Eating in quarantine. Can it be done?
The short answer is, “Of Course!”
A better answer would be, “It’s possible with planning and preparation.”
Putting your meal automaticity to work can make Bright Line Eating in quarantine so much easier.
#1 Meal Plan
You already know I’m a huge advocate for meal planning (see my video Bright Line Eating Meal Planning in Five Minutes a Week). With quarantine restrictions in place, meal-planning is even more important. Running to the store a few times a week for extra ingredients can’t happen right now, so having a week or two of meals planned before shopping is key to making the most of your shopping trip.
Many of my favorite meal-planning hacks will come in extra-handy right now. Try cooking an extra-large Instant Pot roast or batch of chicken breasts and using the leftovers to top salads or stir-fry all week long. Cook a huge pot of oats and eat it for breakfast every day, topped with different combos of protein and fruit.
And if you really want to up your meal planning game, check out the meal planning course, Easier than Takeout. This is a course created by my wife that will show you step-by-step how we meal plan, shop and prep meals each week. We have been using this system for years and it made our switch to Bright Line Eating so easy.
#2 Shop Bulk & Take Advantage of Pantry Staples & Frozen Food
This tip goes hand-in-hand with #1. When doing Bright Line Eating in quarantine you need to minimize trips to the grocery store. Buying for a full week, or even two, and utilizing bulk items is key. Oats, beans, and peanuts are inexpensive, last for weeks when properly stored, and can be combined in a million ways for a variety of meals.
Frozen berries and veggies or even canned fruits and canned vegetables will last for months and are great for making sure you eat a variety of produce. Plus, they often have the same or better nutrition as fresh!
Similarly, frozen meats or canned lean meats, like tuna or chicken, are great meal bases to top with an assortment of veggies and condiments. Plus, there’s nothing easier than throwing together four ounces of canned tuna, salt, pepper and a tablespoon of mayo. Then scoop with celery and/or pepper slices for a quick lunch, alongside a bowl of frozen berries or an apple.
#3 Eat the same thing a few days in a row
This is where Susan Pierce Thompson’s “automaticity” comes into play. I often plan the same meal for a few days in a row for both breakfast and lunch. It makes it easy to plan, easy to shop for, and easy to switch between meal-time and the rest of your day. Doing this nearly eliminates your need for decision-making or willpower.
You can do this for dinners, too. Plan to cook enough beans, ground beef, or shredded chicken for several meals and change up the veggies and seasonings you throw in every day. Frozen peas and carrots, stir-fry mix, or Normandy blend change up the flavor profile of your meal enough to keep boredom at bay.
#4 Get creative with condiments
Bright Line Eating in quarantine is a great time to rediscover condiments. Condiments like salsa, mustard, and salad dressings last for ages and change the flavors of your base protein and veggies. Salsa is one of my favorites because there are different flavors in every jar and they give me a nice veggie boost, as well.
This is also a great time to try a new hot sauce, mustard or salad dressing. You may discover a new favorite. (For hundreds of salad dressing ideas check out Your Complete Guide to Bright Line Eating Salad Dressing.)
#5 Don’t let perfection get in the way of doing the best you can
Bright Line Eating in quarantine is not the time to beat yourself up if your meals are less than perfectly nutritious. Keep your bright lines, but don’t stress out if you have less variety of produce or a bit more sodium (from using canned veggies) than you’d like. Get through each day one meal at time, and let your bright lines be your guide.
I hope that you’re doing well during quarantine and using this time to focus on self-care, sleep, and mental health. Please reach out to me if you’re in need of support today. This time is challenging for all of us, but we’ll get through it together.