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- Who has seen Toy Story 4…?!
“I haven’t got time to get healthy!”
One of my biggest pet peeves is when fitspiration bloggers that wax lyrical about health and how much exercise you should be doing whilst sharing recipes that take hours to make – even the fact these people cook at lunch annoys me because, in reality, how many people have the time in the day to do this or even have access to a cooker and a wok or whatever at work?!
I do of course have sympathy for those who commute to London every day to work 10-12 hours and come home dreading the thought of working out and cooking from scratch, believe me I have been there and put on weight very quickly as a result.
What I am getting at is these people are not realistic and whilst they are uploading photos of their fabulous bodies and whilst there is no doubt they work hard to achieve them, many of us will also bust a gut trying to be like them and fail, and/or get depressed and despondent knowing we could never do what they do.
Anyway enough about my rant, below I have some tips and ideas for time managing to stay healthy and achieve your goals.
Bag it up!
One tip I have given some of my time poor clients is to cook the meat in a roasting bag https://www.sainsburys.co.uk/shop/gb/groceries/foil-food-bags-storage/sainsburys-multi-purpose-cooking-bag-x10 . It tastes amazing as it steams the meat, plus it saves on calories of using frying products such as coconut oil or butter. You can leave these in the oven whilst you are doing something else, leading me nicely on to my next point…
I tend to cook my lunches and dinners at the same time. By chopping up veggies for your lunches whilst the meat is cooking for your dinners you save a lot of time and it is less boring than staring at your food waiting for it to cook!
Slice meat thinly
Unless you greatly prefer the taste of thicker cuts, this is going to make it cook a lot quicker. I also think it tastes a lot nicer the day after when it’s a bit thinner.
To go off on a tangent slightly, this would be a good tip for those who don’t like/eat a lot of meat, as the chewiness of larger chunks is likely to be a big sticking point and may sit heavy in their stomachs (don’t forget they will not be used to digesting meat!).
Set aside some time
Whilst I do understand the struggles, you will always need to put some time and effort into eating well and looking after yourself. Plan your meals and make a shopping list, use your note app on your phone for this.
The best piece of advice really is cooking at weekends. It takes 1-2 hours out of your day maximum. Afterwards you either freeze or keep the meals in the fridge. Why not make it more fun by putting on Soccer AM or last night’s X Factor? Or invite a like-minded friend round with a Starbucks and spend the time catching up? You can get several plastic boxes that look like those boxes you get in takeaway shops for about a pound at Wilkinsons and most supermarkets.
If the weekends are too difficult I strongly suggest replacing one of your gym sessions with meal prep; your food is far more important than exercise in terms of ideal body composition!
Meal of the Day
I would say the meal most people struggle to organise the most is breakfast, as mornings are generally such a rush, however it is extremely easy to find things to make that are super quick or can be prepared ahead of time. Overnight oats can be made whilst cooking your dinner. Porridge with protein powder takes less than five mins (just make sure protein powder is added after cooking) and can obviously be chucked in the microwave whilst you carry on getting ready. Lunch and breakfast also seem to be the meal that these instagrammers make overly complicated, when generally these are the meals where most people are so time restricted, but even an omelette can take five minutes. Whilst I am at it, please don’t hit breakfast bars, these are no better than biscuits despite their claims!
If I know a client is especially time poor, I will always provide them with a bank of quick recipes, so whilst it is important to understand that you will need to dedicate some time to meal prep, being realistic in what you can fit in is also crucial, particularly if you are new to healthy eating.
Feeding into the morning rush aspect, another consideration is skipping breakfast altogether. Fasting is a topic I will be covering in the future, and one that still remains rather controversial (I have to admit even until about 10 months ago I was dubious about the practice) but if done correctly, with the right guidance, and for the right people, it can make your life a lot easier.
How many times have you had a mad week, only to come home and find the food you had bought with good intentions on Monday, is now practically walking out of the fridge covered in mould?
Frozen fruit and veg actually has a better vitamin and mineral profile, as they are picked and frozen in their prime; fresh, due to the time clocked up between it being picked and reaching you, is of significantly worse quality.
I tend to freeze my own. I walk up to the market on a Saturday morning to buy it, again this is a nice activity to do with a friend. Once home these should be washed and then placed in freezer bags (these are super cheap in most supermarkets) or in the plastic containers they came in. From here, you can just get it out of the freezer when you need it and are very easily cooked.
Freezing meat, which can often turn quite quickly, is also an excellent idea, especially if you have done a bulk buy.
I hope this helps you on your mission to ‘Have it all’ – let me know how you get on! I am easily contactable via email or Instagram and Facebook (follow my contact page, or click the Instagram and facebook icons at the top right of the page.)
A huge thank you to HIIT Kitchen for the images used in this blog – not only do HIIT offer an incredible meal prep service, to make fitting in a healthy style as easy as possible, but their St Albans based cafe serves a selection of perfectly balanced healthy meals and pre-packaged dishes that will cover your food requirements for the day, including breakfast, lunch and dinner, whilst their beverage list includes speciality coffee and tea, their very own fresh cold-pressed juices, smoothies, shakes and sports drinks, and a variety of gluten free, vegan and paleo friendly snacks.