How to Eat Healthy Every Day - Even When Busy and Tired.
THIS KEY FOUNDATIONAL STRATEGY WILL SET YOU UP FOR SUCCESS.
One of the main things I hear from clients is that lack of time and energy gets in the way of eating healthy.
And when you fall into unhealthy patterns, sometimes it’s just easier to keep going with what is easy and familiar.
I know the thoughts of starting to eat healthy can seem daunting. You’re always waiting for the perfect time when work is less busy, you’ve less on, more free time.
Guess what, there will never be the perfect time! All you have is now. And you have to find a way to prioritise your health and wellbeing within your busy schedule.
In this article, I’m going to share with you the absolute #1 foundational strategy you need in order to eat better, feel better and have more energy.
That strategy is meal planning and preparation.
If healthy food is available and easy, you’re more likely to choose this food.
If you have a trusted system for making healthy food available, you don’t have to decide to eat well, you just do it.
SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS
Before we get into the practical actions you can take; you need to take some time to establish HOW you’re going to incorporate meal planning and preperation into your week.
Commit to one thing
Start with identifying one meal each week you would like to improve, whether that’s a breakfast to set you up for the day, an energy fuelled lunch, a nourishing dinner or simply improving the nutritional value of your snacks.
This now becomes your non-negotiable for the week.
Write down: This week I am committed to having a healthy ___________ [breakfast/lunch/dinner/snack] every day.
You are now committed to making time for this one thing this week.
Find the time
Now that you’ve made your commitment for the week, challenge yourself on where you’re going to find the time.
For example, instead of watching TV for 2 hours every evening, can you take 30 mins to prepare ahead for the following day?
Or if you spend time in the morning scrolling social media, can you use this time instead to prepare your non-negotiable meal for the day?
Lock in this time and make it a habit, a ritual. Make it part of your schedule, something you just do as part of your normal routine.
Make a plan
Decide how you’re going to transform your chosen meal and what foods you like and enjoy that will support your healthy eating commitment. Because after all, if it's not easy and enjoyable, you won't stick to it.
Come up with a basic menu for the next few days or week. It doesn’t have to be anything over complicated.
As a rule of thumb, think about what you already enjoy eating and decide how you can make it little better.
For example, jam jar salads, soups, batch roasting vegetables and pre-prepared quinoa would all make for easy, quick and nutritious lunches.
Also check your schedule. Do you have a late meeting that might require you have something pre-prepared?
If so, maybe have something in the freezer you can take out for dinner that evening.
That’s the basis of your plan for the week ahead.
Now, all you need is to go shopping and get all the ingredients you need.
Bonus - You will be less likely to be temped with less healthy food when you have a shopping list!
Having emergency items on hand will ensure you always have something healthy to reach for.
Such items include tins of beans (chickpeas, mixed beans – with no sauces or added sugars); tins of tuna, sardines, mackerel in olive oil; frozen fruit and frozen vegetables; nut butters; sauces etc.
Also, have a good stock of staples and flavour enhancers that will make meals tasty and appealing such as herbs, spices, seasonings, garlic and ginger.
Challenge yourself to try new something new or something you don’t normally eat such as sweet potato instead of white potatoes or spelt pasta instead of white pasta.
Here is a shopping list with all the staples needed on hand to prepare any combination of healthy meals.
MEAL PLANNING AND PREPERATION 3 WAYS
The key thing here is to find what works for you. There is no magic formula. If you can find 30 minutes every day, great. If it’s 2 hours once per week, great. Or it could be a combination of daily and weekly prep.
Notice what feels easier for you, and just keep doing that.
Weekend Meal Preparation
Take 2-3 hours on Sunday (or whatever day works for you) to start prepping and cooking for the week ahead.
Whip up a batch of lean protein. For example, by grilling or roasting several chicken breasts/thighs at once.
Try batch cooking some one-pot meals that can be easily cooked in a slow cooker, then divided into containers to be frozen or refrigerated, such as soups, stews, curries, chili, etc.
Wash and chop veggies so they are on hand for the week ahead, whether it’s for a salad or stir fry in the evening.
Daily Meal Preparation
Use your mornings to prep a few extra items to have on hand for later in the day, or the following day.
Prepare your lunch for the day ahead or make a double batch that will last 2 days.
Whisk up some eggs and chopped veggies so you have a quick and easy omelette option for later in the day.
When preparing your porridge, make a batch by combining oats, ground flax, cinnamon, protein powder etc in a large container that will do for a few days.
You can always do a combination of both methods, preparing longer cooking items at the weekend and then adding some quick prep items (such as fruit and veggies) every day.
Download my free guide on how to build the ultimate healthy summer salad for inspiration on quick and easy lunches or dinners that are quick and easy to plan and prepare.
Healthy eating can be easy and enjoyable. With the right plan, support and guidance – and taking one step at a time, you can eat better.
“I'm really enjoying the new lighter more energised me. I hadn’t realised how much I would enjoy my new varied diet as much as I do. I can continue to make normal dinners for the family, but I am now including more healthy food choices for the benefit of us all”
If you feel you’re in a dietary rut, always stopping and starting healthy eating but never quite succeeding, then contact Margaret Kavanagh Nutrition for a free consultation.
Margaret works with clients one-to-one, creating personalised plans designed for their unique body and busy schedule while supporting them every step along the way to weight loss and renewed energy and vitality.
It’s time to make the switch from exhausted to energised. You deserve to look great and feel great.