Planning and Preparation: Keys to Success {Eat.Live.Be.}

by Cate on January 9, 2013

I don’t profess to have all the answers when it comes to fitness and consistently making healthy choices.

Because I don’t.

I struggle some days just like you and you and you.

Trial and error. Rinse, lather, and repeat.

But I do know, without a shadow of a doubt, some of the keys to success.

When it comes to keeping yourself on the straight and narrow, planning and preparation is huge.

Like Justin Bieber to my almost-five-year-old daughter huge.

How can you be expected to make a good snack choice when you open up your kitchen cupboards and are faced with cookies, chips, and candy?

You just can’t.

So don’t bring it into your house.

Why have the unnecessary temptation to lure you in a weak moment?

A friend of mine sometimes struggles with making the right food choices, so one night last week, she came over and we put together a meal plan. Just three dinners. To get her toes wet. And then the next day, I took her to a vegetable market we like and she bought all the ingredients to make those three dinners. And more items so she could stock her cabinets with good snack choices.

And by doing this, it became just a little bit easier.

On Saturday, another friend came over and we made a bajillion soups. And froze them all, so we had easy, healthy, grab-and-go lunches for weeks.

And by doing this, it became just a little easier.

These are not monumental tasks. But they are little tasks that add up to monumental changes.

Those little keys to success.

Baby steps, people, baby steps.


Yesterday Madeline announced that she would like to become a vegetarian. We had a long conversation about it, what she could and couldn’t eat. I suggested perhaps trying it for one or two days a week to start off small, but she wouldn’t hear of it. She asked about vegetarians that we may know, and I mentioned that Joanne was, and that one of her Aunts was a vegetarian for a few years when she was in high school.

Madeline can certainly become vegetarian if she’d like, my only hesitation is that she get enough protein from other sources if it’s something she actually sticks with. Because you know, she’s only four. This could just be a Tuesday topic of the day.

As we went to pick up Nick from an after-school activity, she asked why sometimes vegetarians stop being vegetarians.

“Well, sometimes you just want a cheeseburger. You get a craving and just can’t squash it.”

I can’t have cheeseburgers?

“No, the meat is from a cow.”

And it was then that she decided that she was going to wait a day before becoming a vegetarian, so she could have one last cheeseburger on the way home.

A last hurrah, if you will.

And to say she inhaled it would be an understatement.

She loves broccoli and cauliflower, so I knew she would be all over this recipe I made last week (coincidentally from Joanne, and also one of the recipes I suggested to my friend during our menu planning evening … see the smooth lead-in?). This is a dish that is just so satisfying, you can’t help but look forward to your meal when you know it’s on the menu.

I’ve made it twice within the last week.

Because it’s that good.

Two caveats before I leave you with the recipe. The picture above shows guacamole because the store didn’t have any ripe avocados. It’s definitely way better with avocado. The recipe below is as it was written from Joanne, but I made it slightly different (and easier, I think), by first roasting a sheet pan of broccoli and cauliflower (instead of cooking the broccoli on the stove top and roasting the cauliflower), and then going from there.

The broccoli pesto is amaze balls.

So whether you’re becoming vegetarian today like Madeline, or need a fulfilling feel-good meal for dinner, this recipe is just about perfect.

And a great key to your success in healthy (and clean) eating.

Do check in with Joanne, Patsy, and Sarah to see what they’re up to for Eat.Live.Be. this week.

And check the #eatlivebe hashtag on Twitter and Instagram for more inspiration.

Broccoli and Cauliflower Quinoa Salad with Avocado and Goat Cheese
Serves 4-6, adapted from 101 Cookbooks


  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 5 cups broccoli, cut into small florets and stems
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted (I skipped)
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 big pinches of salt
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup light cream
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 4 oz goat cheese, crumbled


  1. In a small pot or pan, heat the quinoa, two cups of water, and a few pinches of salt.  Bring to a boil and then lower the heat to a simmer, covered, for 15 minutes or until water is absorbed and quinoa is fluffy.  Drain any extra water and set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 400.  Place cauliflower on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Spray with cooking spray, sprinkle with salt and roast for 10-15 minutes or until cauliflower starts to brown a bit.
  3. Barely cook the broccoli by pouring 3/4 cup water into a large pot and bringing it to a simmer.  Add a big pinch of salt and stir in the broccoli.  Cover and cook for a minute.  Transfer the broccoli to a strainer and run under cold water until it stops cooking.  Set aside.
  4. To make the broccoli pesto, puree two cups of the broccoli, 1/2 cup of the almonds, the Parmesan cheese, salt and lemon juice in a food processor.  Slowly drizzle in the olive oil and cream and pulse to combine.
  5. Just before serving, toss the quinoa, the remaining broccoli florets, and the cauliflower with the dressing.  Top with avocado, goat cheese, and remaining almonds.
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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Joanne January 10, 2013 at 7:41 am

Haha Maddie is too cute! the way I feel about vegetarianism is that if you crave meat and really want it, you should just have it. I haven’t craved meat or wanted it in two years, so I haven’t had it. Plain and simple. Now if only I could get myself to not crave chocolate…

I LOVE this post and it’s definitely true, the key to getting a healthy meal on the table is to be prepared! So glad you liked this dish!
Joanne recently posted..Recipe: Vegetable Eggs Benedict {}


patsy January 10, 2013 at 9:26 am

You are so right about preparation and planning being keys to success! I know when I’ve got my meals and lunches planned, I always do much better than on weeks where I just wing it!
patsy recently posted..Barley and Sausage Stuffed Peppers #EatLiveBe


Meg January 10, 2013 at 2:31 pm

This sounds delicious! I’m definitely on a veggie kick lately, and my fiance and I trying to get “wedding ready” by changing our eating habits and making some lifestyle changes. We’ll see how that goes, but absolutely agree that preparation is the key to healthy success . . . I know enough to never bring salt and vinegar chips into my house, for example, because those healthy lil’ carrots will waste away in the fridge in favor of salty snacks every time.
Meg recently posted..Getting the sparkly wedding ball rolling


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