Do you have a go-to excuse for when you neglect your healthy eating? Time, energy and treats are common excuses. We all have busy lives, and that means that preparing proper meals often gets neglected when we feel like we don’t have much time or energy. You get home after a long day and you don’t feel like cooking, or you don’t have the right ingredients in so you decide to treat yourself and grab something easy, which often translates to unhealthy.
None of these things need to negatively impact your nutrition programme unless you let them. Try following these tips to simplify your healthy eating!
1. Plan your meals
It really helps when you are trying to stick to a healthy eating programme to plan your meals. If you are particularly dedicated, you can just set your calories or set your macros, and then figure out each day what you want to eat. The potential problem with this approach is that, if you don’t have something planned, it is easy after a bad or long day to decide to grab something quick and easy. If you haven’t planned ahead, the likelihood is that the quickest and easiest food will be unhealthy, e.g. a ready meal or a take away. If you have planned your meals, however, it takes less effort to stick to your plan. Now, I’m not saying you don’t need dedication to stick to your health and fitness goals – it’s essential - but, let’s face it, we can’t have good days 100% of the time. This way, on the inevitable bad days, you will give yourself the best chance to stick to your plan and, ultimately, your goals.
Another benefit of planning your meals in advance is that it helps you to know what you will need to get in your weekly shopping.
2. Shop in advance with your meal plan in mind
If you have a meal plan, it is really helpful to use this to make your shopping list. Not only will it mean that you have all of the ingredients you need to make your meals for the week, it will also mean that you are less likely to buy junk that you don’t need.
Not only does shopping with your meal plan in mind help with your meals, but it means you will be less wasteful and likely spend less. It will also save you time, as you will know exactly what you need in the shops. If you’re anything like us, you need all the extra time you can get!
3. Meal prep
If you don’t mind a bit of repetition in your meals, it is very helpful to prepare your meals in advance. All it takes is a couple of hours at the weekend to bulk cook a couple of meals, and you can refrigerate and freeze your meals for the week. This saves a lot of time and means that you only need to focus on your nutrition plan for a couple of hours a week. If you have the time, you can make a number of different meals to keep things interesting during the week. It takes a little bit of getting used to, but once you are in the habit of meal prepping it can save a lot of time and energy.
4. Duplicate meals
This is another good one if you don’t mind repeating meals. Jonny and I use this all the time during the week, and it saves us a lot of hassle. One of us will cook each evening, and we always cook enough so that we can each take a portion to work the next day for lunch. This means that we always have a nutritious lunch with us, and saves us the expense of buying lunches in London.
5. Change your mindset
This is the most important thing you can do. We often think of food as an afterthought – as something that is essential to live but kind of an inconvenience sometimes. Other times we think of junk food as a treat, as something special to reward ourselves with when something good has happened, when something bad has happened, on holiday or just at the end of a long week. The most important thing you can do is start thinking of nourishing and healthy food both as the norm and as the a. Each time you make an unhealthy food choice you damage your body. Whether that is because you didn’t have time to plan or because you fancied a treat, the damage will be the same. Think of the time you spend making healthy and nutritious meals as an investment in your health and a step towards your goals.
It can take some time to get into healthy eating habits, but it is worth the effort. If you try out some of the steps above it should make it easier to form the habits that will help you in the long run!