Meal Planning Tips for Busy Lifestyles | #AD
What’s in your lunch box today? Is it something healthy? Did you even manage to pack a lunch or do you prefer to grab something in the shop during your lunch hour?
When you live a busy life, with very little time to think about what you’re going to have for breakfast in the morning, not alone what you’ll have for lunch later that day, then it can become easy to pick up bad habits, make bad food choices and spend unnecessary amounts of money on food. Up until this year I have always found it easy to be organised about meals and eating, but with a lot more on my plate with the blog, balancing a full-time job and trying to find time to fit in a gym session on weekdays, things have got a bit chaotic with meals and snacks over the last few months and bad habits have developed. There have been a few other personal factors that have caused me to not pay enough attention to the food I am putting into my body on a day to day basis, and while I haven’t been getting dinner from the local chippie every night, I haven’t been planning my food to match my activities during the week. Since the beginning of September I have been making a few changes to my food habits so that they better fit my busy lifestyle and here are some tips that have been working for me…
Porridge for Breakfast.
My sister The Not So Plain Jayne, has been on at me for more than a year now about the power of porridge, she could live on bowls of porridge and makes all kinds of interesting breakfast combinations from it. While I use porridge oats in a lot of my baking, ever since my mother swapped Ready Break from real porridge oats, I have never been able to eat a bowl of the stuff; I found the texture unappealing and the taste bland. But with some helpful tips from Jayne (watch her porridge bowl recipe here) on how to properly soak and flavor my oats, I am happy to say that they have been a breakfast staple this month. What I love eating porridge in the morning is that a little goes a long way and it keeps hunger and cravings at bay until lunch.
Eat dinner at lunch.
As I said before, during the week I like to fit in a gym session in the evenings, but one reason I noticed I was failing to do this was because I was too hungry after work to make it through a workout and if I had my dinner before the gym, the meal was too heavy for a full workout. So, the simple solution was to eat my main meal at lunch time so that I wouldn’t be famished hitting the gym and in the evenings instead having to cook a big meal, I instead have a light snack.
Plan & Prep meals in advance.
It’s a lot of work at the time, but this month I have been trying out batch cooking one night a week to prep meals for the rest of the week. I usually do my meal prep either on a Sunday on a Monday evening and try to make sauces with lots of veggies that will hold well in the fridge through the week and all I have to do to finish the meal before eating is boil some rice or pasta. Some of the meals that I have been finding great for prepping in advance are aubergine & tomato pasta (or using the same sauce on my homemade pizza base), satay, soups and noodles.
Choose snacks that will fill the sweet-tooth.
The hardest part of eating healthy for me has always been cutting out chocolate, cakes and biscuits; I have a serious sweet tooth but I’ve learned through the years that depriving myself of something sweet now will only result in an over binge of sweet treats later. Instead I have been stocking up on snacks that are both sweet and healthy, like Love Chin Chin (the lemon flavor is my favourite) and Urban Fruit so that I don’t feel deprived and I have something to munch on when I feel like a little something extra.
Staying hydrated throughout the day is one of the easiest ways to beat fatigue and cravings. This month I tried J.F Rabbit’s Veg Water, their interesting flavors make water a bit more exciting without the added sugars that other flavored waters have; my favourite is the beetroot water. These veg waters are also full of vitamins that will keep your body running smoothly and help build up your immune system as we head into flu season!