Do you lead a busy life?
Do you find you don’t have the time to plan and prepare your nutrition because of this?
Do you often find your nutrition suffers because of this, grabbing what you can when you can, never putting thought into your diet?
Well you aren’t alone, not by any stretch of the imagination.
In a recent article written by Precision Nutrition showed that 53% of over 100,000 people surveyed found a lack of preparation and planning as being a major nutritional challenge.
I completely understand why a lack of planning and time for preparation can be a barrier to healthy eating.
Often by the time we decide what we want to eat we are already hungry and if we make food choices when ravenous we are most likely going to be motivated to eat quick and easy Calorie dense foods as I mentioned in a recent article:
Nowadays many people live busy lifestyles, perhaps you are a busy parent, you are rushed off your feet at work or perhaps you spend more time looking after others than you do yourself.
Whatever the reason is you don’t have much time to invest in planning and prepping your nutrition, there is many things you can do to improve this.
Before I share with you my 4 tips for making planning your nutrition easier without costing you more time, it is important to see planning as being a spectrum or a sliding scale.
On one side of the scale you put zero thought into what you are going to eat at any point and always eat ad-hoc. On the opposite end you have those who plan and prep every single meal, 7 days in advance knowing exactly what they will eat and when they will eat.
You don’t have to go from 0 to 100, there is a middle ground and that is where I sit.
So what can you do?
1. Write a weekly meal planner
A simple one to start off with and one that will take you a maximum of 10 minutes out of your week.
Writing a meal plan for the week for you or you and your household is a great way of providing structure to your diet.
Planning days ahead of time also removes the issues that arise from picking what you want to eat when you’re hungry because as we all know, that usually ends in the entire contents of the fridge being consumed in one sitting.
The great thing about a meal plan is it can be flexible, it doesn’t have to be kept to 100%, you can swap days around if you want and it allows you to plan around events, work etc..
2. Write a shopping list
Next up is the humble shopping list.
A shopping list will again take no more than 10 minutes to do and can be done in conjunction with your weekly planner.
The pros of a shopping list are:
· It gives you a focus for when you go to the shops meaning you don’t waste time wandering the aisles aimlessly.
· You only buy what you need (from your meal planner) saving you a lot of money.
· It also means you’re less likely to buy impulsively or due to hunger, and if you have ever shopped hungry before you will know it is not a good idea, unless you wish to bring Aisle 7 home with you.
· Less food waste. As you buy what you need and not what you want when hungry you will waste a lot less food which not only saves you money but is more ethical.
3. Take short cuts
One major barrier to healthy eating is the idea that you have to cook everything from scratch, I was bad for this many years ago myself.
However, I cannot stress to you enough how unimportant this is in the grand scheme of things.
Make life as easy as possible for yourself.
Hate preparing vegetables and ingredients for cooking? Buy ready chopped veg or ready marinated meat.
Can’t be bothered making flavoursome meals from scratch? By packet mixes, sauces etc..
Remove the barrier to healthy cooking by reducing the prep time and cut corners where you can.
4. Ready Meals
Before you think it’s a typo yes, I am recommending ready meals to you.
Ready meals have evolved a lot over the years, they aren’t the unhealthy, cheap tasting goop of yesteryear anymore.
Due to us being more health conscious as a population the food industry has taken note and created meals that can benefit out health.
You can go into any supermarket nowadays and they will have a wide range of options.
I am personally a huge fan of ready meals and when I am juggling full time studying, running a business as well as running an education sector for 150+ Personal Trainers I don’t always have the time to prep and cook meals nor can I always be bothered to do so.
I will buy a number of ready meals so when I am hungry and want to eat pronto I can pop one in and it’ll be ready in 5 minutes.
Not only does this save me time but it also makes it much easier for me to make a better choice with my nutrition. Instead of binging at the fridge for 5 minutes on crap I actually get a nutritious, tasty, hot meal which satisfies me.
I do have two rules I follow when it comes to ready meals:
1. High protein – I will always go for the meals with the highest protein content. As a rule of thumb, I would say men should aim for 25g+ in a meal whilst women can aim for 20g+ per meal.
2. Low/Moderate Calories – I look for meals which are 500 Calories or less when dieting to lose weight however when in a general phase of life, I will relax this rule to 600-700 or below.
These two simple rules give me a structure to follow when I buy ready meals and make sure I still get adequate nutrition from my meals.
I have made my “Speedy Supermarket Meals” Guide, one of my client nutrition coaching tools available to you as a thank you for reading the article and for having an interest in your own nutrition and health.
As supermarkets constantly change their ranges you may find some variations in the shops however this will provide you with plenty of ideas of quick, speedy meals you can pick up which fit my 2 rules, will be nutritious for you and save you time.
So, there are my 4 handy tips to help you prepare and plan your nutrition, to help you eat better whilst saving you time and money.
Feel free to share this with anyone you think it would benefit.