We all know the situation.
You’re so wrapped up in your work week that if you blink twice you’ll miss the whole week.
You wake up and it’s already Wednesday type of feeling.
If you’re working weeks are steam rolling forward with no mercy then there’s a chance that your healthy eating is going to take a back seat…
…Grabbing a bite to eat on the move to work, having a packet meal for lunch, maybe even eating out for dinner or just consuming whatever’s in sight in the fridge at home are all common behaviours.
These are common behaviours of the classic busy person who is always on the move, eats as fast as a steam train and simply doesn’t have a spare second in their day.
If this is you then this post may provide some useful strategies.
The aim is to use strategies that allow a calming of your weekly food situation so that you’re in control from the get go. I use these strategies with clients and they work great.
If you really feel that you do not have any time and you do not have any desire to get back to or to start prepping and cooking your own meals then maybe a healthy meal delivery service would be best.
But if you’re willing to get stuck in and build some positive habits that can help autopilot healthy eating then keep reading.
1. Eat similar meals over and over
This is my top rule for eating healthy when you’re busy. There’s nothing wrong with having the same or similar breakfast, lunch or dinner each day. It helps to remove time wasting decision making, excess planning or a wondering attitude.
It’s easy to get swept up in recipes and complicated ingredients when really simplicity is the answer. Complexity isn’t the answer when it comes to eating healthy, consistency is.
If you can put what you eat on autopilot then you won’t have to be constantly meal planning or thinking about what to eat next.
This can lead to decision fatigue and an F* it i’ll just eat this attitude.
For example, I eat 3 eggs pretty much every day for breakfast with a little room for variation in what goes with it and I generally eat a big fish/meat salad each day.
- Eat similar meals
- Keep the basic foundations similar like meat/eggs/good carbs with room for variation in veggies.
- Start with one meal ie breakfast and progress to others.
Yes I buy that many eggs
I’m not talking about making a weekly meal plan or anything, I just mean having a round about idea of what you might want to eat throughout the week.
This will tie in with what you normally eat.
If you want to make a big batch of chicken and chorizo stew, you’ll probably need some chicken and chorizo.
Find some simple meal inspiration that you can repeat each week and get confident in cooking.
Eg Spicy chicken with broccoli and sweet potato mash, Chilli with quinoa, Meat + Veg + Good carb and so on.
- Write a shopping list and stick to it.
- Or get food deliveries- veg boxes, meat boxes.
- Have an idea of what meals you’ll have in the week.
Expand your cooking comfort zone
3. Create a Zen Kitchen
If you have food in your kitchen, at some point someone (maybe you) will eat it.
Don’t have foods that go against your goals in your kitchen. At all. I mean it. No joke.
If you do want to relax your eating by having foods outside of your normal routine then aim to just buy a small amount then get rid of any leftovers.
Say you buy some cake and wine for a Saturday night at home. But wait there’s leftovers on Sunday. Throw it away.
If you keep it, it will be consumed at some point.
The best option would be to have your relaxed meals/snacks away from the home.
In contrast to this, make sure you kitchen is full of healthful food- lots of fresh vegetables, legumes, nuts, meat, fish, eggs, spices.
- Don’t buy junk food or have it in your house.
- If you do, buy a small amount then throw away any leftovers.
- Stock your fridge and kitchen with unprocessed food- Meat, fish, vegetables, salad, beans, legumes, whole grains, oats, nuts etc.
4.Cook bulk portions
This is my favourite strategy on a week to week basis. Even more so than the super quick recipes that are popping up all over the place #leanin15
This is because the results is that it can save the most amount of time cooking.
Whenever you cook, cook bulk amounts so you can have leftovers for breakfast, lunch or dinner later.
Plan a Sunday prep day where you bulk cook food for all of your lunches or all of your dinners for the week.
Then you’ll have your own homemade ‘ready meals’ throughout the week. This means no prep and next to no cooking on those days.
Cook 2 chickens instead of 1, cook a chilli recipe with 2 packs of beef, double, triple or quadruple the portion sizes.
Think #leaninzero instead of #leanin15.
- Bulk or batch cook food where possible.
- There’s no such thing as food waste (unless its junk food) just leftovers for other meals.
- Build a Sunday prep routine
Lastly, If you don’t have the time to cook in bulk then do the complete opposite and cook quickly.
What you don’t want to do is to cook slowly with small portion sizes- this will use the most amount of time.
Aim for 10-15mins when cooking with food that requires minimal prep or cooking.
Like frambled eggs which are a super quick breakfast option with minimal prep: heat a pan- add coconut oil-crack eggs straight in, mix until cooked-simple.
Think frying and grilling and using ingredients that don’t need much in the way of prep. Like a pack a mange tout, chicken mini fillets and quinoa, add some spices and you’ve got a meal.
Oven roasted meals aren’t necessarily quick but are low prep:
Salmon in foil with roasted sweet potato and broccoli- Place salmon in foil with some lemon and butter, add chop sweet potato and broccoli to roasting dish- roast veg for about 30 mins and fish for about 15-20mins or what the pack says.
- If you cant cook big then cook quick.
- Choose minimal prep/cook foods.
- Build your own roster of quick go to meals.
Keep it quick
5 top strategies for when you’re busy:
- Eat similar meals over and over
- Plan ahead
- Create a Zen kitchen
- Cook bulk portions
- Cook quickly