The old saying ‘The road to hell is paved with good intentions’ can be quite apt when it comes to healthy eating. We can start on Monday eating lots of vegetables, a piece of salmon and some strawberries – then by Thursday, after a few late nights in the office meeting a crucial deadline, we’re fuelling ourselves with chocolate, coffee and a takeaway dinner as there s been no time to do a food shop!
What can you do to make life a little easier for yourself?
Here are some strategies to help you put good nutrition first!
- Plan ahead.
Try to plan your shopping with an idea of what you’ll eat in the week. That stops the ‘rushing out and grabbing anything last minute’ approach to eating! I m not suggesting that you plan every single meal – though if you can, that’s even better!- but just try to plan some of your meals.
2. Batch cook
Try to set aside some time on the weekend to prepare one or two meals for the freezer. E.g. a vegetable curry, soups or casseroles. Put them in some containers so that you know you’ve got something to hand for dinner, even if you get home late from work
Prepare a couple of hardy salads like red cabbage slaw or quinoa tabbouleh to keep in the fridge for the next three days or so. You can just top up with a protein like eggs, salmon or feta, and some green leaves for a speedy meal. You could also roast a tray of vegetables – onions, peppers, sweet potato, aubergine, tomatoes – have some for dinner and keep the rest in the fridge for work day lunches or dinners.
Make extra portions of your evening meal so that you can either freeze or take to work for lunch the next day.
- Shop wisely
Try to avoid buying foods that you know to be unhealthy like biscuits, crisps and cakes. If they’re in the cupboard you’ll eat them!! Instead stock your fridge and cupboards with healthy foods like colourful vegetables, berries (frozen ones also great), apples, pears, hummus, pitta breads, cottage cheese, eggs, tinned fish, nuts and seeds. That ll mean there s always something healthy to eat however late you get home
- Cook from scratch
Cook from scratch whenever you can to avoid additives and chemicals that are found in factory produced foods. If you’re not (yet) a fan of cooking, try to find a few straightforward cookery books and give cooking a go! People like Jamie Oliver and Dale Pinnock have written some great healthy and easy recipe books. This needs time of course, so you have to plan to do this at the weekend
- Slow down
Its so much healthier for your digestion if you can eat more slowly. We are so used to rushing around and grabbing a bite, or eating at our desk while we are working, that its easy to forget how to eat properly.
Give yourself a short lunch break- however busy you are. Its important! Allow your body a chance to prepare for digestion:- wait until your mouth starts to water before you eat – the amylase in saliva will help start good digestive process and help you absorb nutrients from your food
Try to chew your food at least 20 times each mouthful. It’s a lot – but it helps your brain know that you’re eating, and helps you release the leptin hormone so that your brain knows when you are full. Putting your knife and fork down between mouthfuls also helps
- Enjoy your food
Stop thinking of food as just fuel. Try to remember that nutrient rich foods are going to make you feel healthy and vibrant. They also taste great – especially when you use lots of herbs and spices, each with their own nutritional boost.
Plant based foods are the most nutrient rich foods we can eat, so maximise your intake of these to ensure that you’re feeding your body with the greatest number of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients you can.
‘Eat as many vegetables and as little sugar as you can. Good Luck!