What you’re in for: A short one this week where I divulge my secrets to making a healthy lifestyle more manageable. After reading this you will have no excuses for not prepping the best food possible!
Managing a healthy lifestyle can be a daunting task, especially without me here to give you helpful hints and tips to make life easier. Fortunately for you, I’m here!
The best way to ensure that you eat and live well as much as possible is to take the hassle out of stuff and streamline everything you do. Here are my top ten tips for creating a nutrient dense, wholesome diet that is easy to stick to:
- Plan ahead. By knowing what meals you are going to have during the week and when, you can avoid ever being caught short and reaching for a Tesco’s meal deal. Personally I like to structure my meals in a 3 day rota and then on Sundays I just wing it with whatever is left in my cupboards.
- Do a weekly shop. When you know what meals you are going to have during the week, you can start to think about how much food you need to cook those meals. Doing a big shop once per week ensures you have everything you need for the coming week. Knowing what you are having also prevents buying too much or little so less goes to waste and you know you have enough for the week.
- Batch cook certain meals. I am aware that batch preparing a salad probably isn’t the best idea as you will no doubt end up with a soggy pile of lettuce after a day or two but making a big pan of chilli or a nice stew is a great way to make sure you aren’t getting caught short later in the week. Make enough for 3 meals and you’ve got breakfast, lunch and dinner sorted for 3 days of the week.
- Chop up your veg ready to cook. After I have completed my weekly shop and batched cooked key meals, any veg I have left over gets diced up and stored in air tight containers ready to be thrown into a stir fry, Spanish omelette or something similar. This takes makes cooking simple meals even easier!
- Prep your breakfast the night before. If you are really pushed for time in the morning you can always do most of the hard work involved in your breakfast the night before. By whisking up some eggs and dropping the afore mentioned chopped veg in to the mixture you have an omelette ready to be thrown into a non-stick frying pan for a tasty, balanced meal ready in ten minutes.
- Remove temptation. I tend not to buy anything that I know is going to be detrimental to my goals to keep in the cupboards. My old favourites (chocolate hobnobs) no longer get bought because I know that, as sure as the sun will rise in the morning, if they are there they will get eaten. I find it helps if I do my weekly shop on a full stomach. If i’m wandering up and down the aisles and i’m hungry, it’s usually game over and i’ll end up with some Krispy Kreme in the trolley without even thinking about it.
- Cheat clean. Replace milk chocolate bars with dark chocolate bars, exchange Nutella for a healthy nut butter instead. Making small, simple changes will allow you to have something a little naughty in the evening that actually has some health benefits as well. Dark chocolate with cocoa mass over 70% is a powerful antioxidant and may improve blood flow and lower blood pressure. A good quality nut butter (cashew, almond, pistachio) has plenty of monounsaturated fats and protein. It will keep you satiated for longer than the Nutella.
- Keep a bottle of water handy. One oft overlooked piece in the health puzzle is good hydration. Its one of the basics I get my clients to master and you should do it too. Keep a 1 litre bottle with you at work and especially at the gym. Add a pinch of pink rock salt or celtic sea salt to increase the mineral content of it or add sliced citrus fruit to give it some flavour and a nice dose of essential vitamins. If you struggle to remember to drink then put reminders wherever you can. On a post-it note on your computer screen or as an alarm in your phone. As a starting point most people will benefit from drinking 500ml every hour to increase cognitive function, decrease snacking and generally make you more awesome.
- Freeze your fruit. Why? Because when you put it in a protein shake as a frozen object it just about makes that shake the best thing in your life at that moment in time. Plus it keeps your fruit fresh. I find it works best with bananas and a chocolate protein but mix it up and try your own combos.
- Bulk buy. If money is an issue and you have a big enough freezer then I suggest bulk buying meat that is on offer. You will save money in the long run and it means you are covered for a month should you ever need to whip up a dish for the fam or some guests. I use a sight called musclefood.com (no affiliation) because they do huge packets of good quality chicken at decent prices but they have a whole host of other meats on there. If not you can look out for deals at your local supermarket which will change month to month.