Having a busy schedule in the 21st century is a given, but often makes it hard to follow a healthy diet. The solution is to plan the food for busy periods in advance and to have a healthy meal or snack on hand. It is an immensely gratifying feeling being organised for the week, and that way there’s no excuse to reach for the naughty foods and ruin your healthy eating intentions.
Without further ado…
1. Plan your meals for the week in advance. The rule is: to eat something, it should first be in your fridge, to find something in the fridge you should first buy it, to buy something you should think about it! Capiche?
2. Plan breakfasts at home: If you know you’ll be eating breakfast at home, what are some quick healthy items that you enjoy? Be sure to add all the ingredients on your shopping list for the week.
3. Plan breakfasts on the go: If you know that you will have to leave early some mornings, plan to prepare a breakfast for these days the previous day or stock up on ready-made items, such as yoghurt, fruit, hard boiled eggs, etc.
4. Plan lunches and dinners that you will eat at home. Make sure to block time for cooking for each meal that you plan to eat at home and to buy the ingredients in advance! It is easier to cook larger portions and freeze them sometimes than to cook each time from scratch! Think about simplifying cooking by using pre-cut vegetables, pre-boiled rice, etc.
5. Plan the meals you will eat outside. If you cannot go home from the office for lunch, explore healthy options for eating out. Or think about bringing cooked food from home with you.
6. Plan for the times when you simply don’t have time to eat. For example, if you have to work late and then you have to go the gym immediately. If you review your schedule the day before, you can be prepared. Think about planning a bigger lunch on that day. Or prepare a sandwich to take along and to eat during transit.
7. Plan for unexpected changes in your schedule. Stock up on healthy ingredients, which can quickly turn into a healthy meal: frozen veggies and meats, also grains such as brown rice can stay in your home a long time and you don’t have to worry if you don’t manage to use them all at once. Stock up your office with healthy snacks, such as nuts, oats, full-grain crackers, canned vegetables or if you have a fridge their containers of yoghurt or cottage cheese.
8. Make sure you think about your meals at least a week in advance. Do a full shopping list and go grocery-shopping before you are hungry!
9. Always keep fruits and vegetables more accessible than sweets. If you have to dig around to find something sweet or unhealthy, you’re less likely to opt for that when you’re in a hurry.