Do you know anyone who is not frantically busy? And while you may have the best of intentions when it comes to making your own healthy snacks and meal prepping each week, time always seems to get the better of you. Trust me, you are not alone and the good news is that you do not have to dedicate hours and hours each week to build a strong nutritional platform even when you are super busy. Rather you need to know a few simple tricks of the trade to help make good nutrition the quick and easy option each week.
Good nutritional practices largely come via planning rather than knowledge. Often we know what we ‘should’ we eating but life takes over and we find ourselves in situations where we do not have the supplies on hand that we need to eat well. For this reason, a crucial step in taking control of your nutrition is dedicating a little time each week to planning some of your meals and snacks in advance. Once you know that you will need lunch a certain number of days, or have no plans on a couple of nights you will be able to make the necessary arrangements to have some healthy options on hand. The weekend or Mondays are generally a good time to set aside 5-10 minutes to run through your diary and consider your commitments and the impact it will have on your food choices. Ideally we should start the week knowing what we will be eating for lunch and dinner most days in order to keep in control of our nutrition.
Very few people have the time to prepare a healthy, nutritionally balanced meal on a daily basis especially if they are not cooking for others. This may be because cooking and eating well is not on their top list of priorities, or due to jam packed schedules, but whatever the reason there is no need to feel guilty. Rather the trick is to keep a supply of backup options in the fridge or freezer so should you find yourself home for dinner, there are better options on hand than the local Thai or pizza takeaway. One option is to cook when you do have time and then freeze a few favourites – spag bol, stir fries and soups freeze well and can be reheated for both lunch and dinner. Another option that is becoming increasingly popular is to order meals from a meal delivery service each week that can be used when needed. There is a wide range of meal delivery options and generally speaking, the higher the price, the better the quality. Ordering individual meals occasionally can be a much more cost effective option than order an entire week of meals that you are unlikely to eat.
Keep your nutrient rich snacks on hand
It is the times that you find yourself away from home, hungry and without a nutritious snack on hand, that you end up scoffing down a chocolate bar or packet of chips. Making nutritionally sound choices on the run can be challenging which is why you need to keep a supply of nutritious snacks that contain both fibre and good quality protein to ensure you are full and satisfied whenever you need to grab a snack on the run. Good options that are easily transportable include a container of nuts, a Bounce energy ball or some homemade trail mix.
Utilise online options
While we may not find ourselves at home often enough to need a full supermarket shop or order groceries regularly online, don’t forget how handy it can be to have some supplies delivered to work. Unlike home, we are generally at work a certain number of hours each week, and often there is someone there to sign for the delivery. A weekly delivery of staples and snack foods such as fresh vegetables to snack on; tins of fish for lunches and nut or protein bars to have on hand for quick and easy nutritious snacks can go a long way in helping to prevent the daily trip to the vending machine or coffee shop for high calorie treats and extras. Once you know that you will have a supply of your favourite yoghurt, nuts, cheese and crackers on hand to serve as nutritious snacks throughout the day, your daily food platform starts to have a firm and sustainable platform.
Two for one meals
Busy work days or the school hours are often so jam packed that our lunch choices suffer. One of the easiest time management strategies that also benefits our nutrition is to always utilise your dinner leftovers for lunch. Not only does this mean you are cooking or preparing food fewer times each week but it is an extremely cost-effective way to enjoy a filling, nutritionally balance lunch minus the exorbitant lunch prices. Pasta dishes, stir fries, soups and homemade pies are all meals that lend themselves to supersized portions that can make enough for both lunch and dinner without too much extra effort.