Want to Save Time and Money? Plan Your Meals and Eat Better Now
You’ve spent all week caught up between classes, trying to keep up an active social life, and fighting to meet your fitness goals on the side. It seems like you’ve hardly got a free moment to sit back and relax, never mind prepare yourself any kind of gourmet meals.
The consequence is that you find yourself eating on the go a lot. You’ll grab a sandwich here or there, and if you’re feeling really creative one night, you might throw whatever you’ve got into a pot and let it simmer until it turns into some grisly mockery of what food should be.
On top of all that, you notice that your extravagant dining habits are somehow draining your bank balance. Nutritionist and Gym Manager of our Northolt Pure Gym, Hollie Miles, says meal preparation is golden to achieving your health goals.
“’Failure to prepare, prepare to fail’ is key when it comes to your diet,” she says. “You need to plan when will be best to prepare your meals- whether you do batch cooking on a Sunday for the week, spilt batch cooking between 2 days, or prepare your meals in the evenings. If your goal means a lot to you, you will find the time to do it. Having your meals prepared is great as you know exactly what you are eating daily, saving you money and reducing the likelihood of you diving into the biscuit tin, as your next meal will be ready prepared and close to hand.”
Here Hollie gives us some tips on how to break that ugly cycle of poor dining habits:
Batch Tasks to Reduce Stress & Save Time
There’s a well-known business productivity trick which can help you get started in actually organising your diet -- it’s called batching.
The basic idea behind batching is that you group together similar tasks and do them all in one go instead of spacing them out.
There are various benefits to this, mainly that focusing on one thing at a time makes you more productive and lets you get things done faster. (Research from Stanford University says that trying to multitask makes you slow and rubbish at whatever you’re doing).
Start by setting aside solid blocks of time to commit to your diet or cooking related needs, instead of telling yourself that you’ll worry about it when you’re hungry and then getting confused when you keep finding Mars Bars in your back pocket.
Begin with one whole evening for planning next week’s menu. Tell your friends you’ve got important personal matters to attend to- or something along those lines.
Plan to Make Better Decisions
So there you are, sat at your desk, working out what to eat for the next week. What’s the point, you might ask?
To begin with, when you plan your meals in advance, you can think about your budget and avoid overspending later. Next, you can make sure that you’ll get in all of your required macronutrients each day and actually meet your health and fitness goals, instead of silently hoping for the best day-by-day. Once you’ve done that, go out and get the ingredients.
What about the Actual Cooking?
Another great “batching” trick for when you’ve got the ingredients could be to cook all your meals for the next day in the evening, but that’s up to you.
One benefit of planning your meals in advance is that you can plan meals which don’t take forever to prepare. You’d be amazed by how many nutritious, and filling meals can be whipped up in 15 minutes.
Here’s one simple example recipe to get you started:
10-minute cooking time.
2 large eggs
Chopped onions – 2 tbsp
Chopped red bell pepper – ¼ cup
Sliced ham – 2 slices
Olive oil – 1 tbsp
- Chop up onions and bell pepper.
- Add olive oil to the pan and set the hob to a medium heat. Add the onion, pepper and ham, and stir until the onion becomes translucent (partly see-through).
- Stir the eggs into the pan, cook until lightly brown on the bottom, flip over to brown the other side, then eat.
Hollie Miles, GM and Nutritionist.