We are all very busy with packed daily schedules, so maintaining a healthy nutrition habits can be very challenging, and at times even impossible. Very often people complain about the fact that due to their schedules they don’t have time for grocery, let alone cooking healthy! I believe that just like with anything else, it is all a matter of managing your time and organizing properly.
I think that the most effective way to maintain healthy nutrition habits is meal preparation. I was never really a big fan of this idea because I prefer to be spontaneous when it comes to cooking. However, I have come to realize that meal preparation not only saves me a lot of time, but it also helps me stay on track and not go for unhealthy choices whenever I get hungry!
In the beginning it does take some getting used to, but very soon you will see that it is totally worth it! The best part is that you can make this meal preps as detailed as you want. I would suggest that you start with the following simple steps:
- set a fix day when you do your main grocery (for me usually Thursdays)
- the day (or couple of days) before, plan your week ahead:
- see when you have meetings, lunch appointments, dinners, cocktail parties, etc
- plan some “stay home” evenings where you can cook your meals from scratch
- select some dinner recipes – I would suggest to select a good mix of known and new recipes. This will give you the flexibility to still try some new recipes on the days that are not too busy
- select some lunch recipes that you can take along to the office on the days that you don’t have lunch appointments
- select a few different snack options that you can always take a long – it could be fruits, nuts, healthy energy bar for the very busy days, etc. I find that having a healthy snack option in your back is very important, as you then automatically avoid any unhealthy choices
- what I find very helpful is to have a food / nutrition diary where each week you write down the recipes that you want to prepare the following week – there you can also note down how long it took you to prepare the recipe, how you liked it, whether you can adapt it to your taste, etc
- make sure that you always have enough supply on super foods, such as chia seeds, hemp seeds, quinoa, nuts and seeds, coconut oil, ginger, beans, cayenne, apple cider vinegar, goji berries, etc
- make sure that each week you buy variety (based, but not limited to the pre-selected recipes for the following week) of fresh veggies and fruits – this will save you from having to run to the grocery store every day
- if you really want to take it a step further, you can spend some time on Sunday afternoon actually preparing some of your meals – cutting and pealing veggies, pre cooking quinoa, etc. This will save you even more time during the week. I personally never do this because I still like to decide our meals on daily basis depending on the mood, but I always make sure that we have a lot of different veggies and fresh ingredients
- one point that I can’t stress enough is – NEVER go to the grocery store on an empty stomach. I am sure that you have heard this before, but it really is the key to staying away from all this unhealthy snacks and meals in between
Even if your lifestyle is not super busy, I still suggest that you try meal prep – you will see that it will save you a lot of unnecessary trips to the grocery store, and you will be much more focused on healthy choices throughout the week.
Photo by Luciana Meister