So you don't have time to cook?
It’s all too easy to assume that because time is scarce and our lives are so busy, it is impossible to prepare and cook nutritional and tasty meals. Even though there are a plethora of TV chefs and fitness gurus willing to share their super healthy and amazingly quick recipes, we often find it easier to head for a takeaway or ready prepared meal rather than spend precious time slaving over a hot stove. This doesn’t have to be the case, with a little planning you can eat healthily, save money and control what is fuelling your body.
Firstly, you should spend some time thinking about what meals you eat and where you eat them:
Breakfast – at home or whilst you are travelling to work, ie, does it have to be transportable. Remember a good nutritious breakfast will fire your metabolism up for the day
Lunch – home or work/al desko, does it need to be packed up
Dinner – is this your main meal of the day
Will you need to provide yourself with snacks?
Second comes the planning stage when you decide what you want to eat and then make a list of ingredients needed to take to the shops. It depends on your preference as to how often you shop, ie, one large supermarket or online visit a week, or more frequent trips as and when required. It is easier to stick to your healthy eating plan if you have made a list and don’t shop on an empty stomach! A quick internet search should be able to provide you with numerous nutritionally sound meal plans for all budgets and dietary needs, which you can adapt for your own use. Some will also include shopping lists of ingredients, which is really useful.
Beware of falling into the trap of trying too hard straight away. If you have always been used to a diet of morning ‘till night fast-food, it is going to take a lot of determination to find the time to plan and cook each day. This simple strategy is a good one to follow at first until you get into your own routine:
Keep to the same breakfast every day
Set one evening of the week aside for planning
Keep your snacks easy and fruit and vegetable based
Drink a daily green smoothie
Prepare as many batch meals as you can for the week
Double your evening meal for easy next day lunch/dinner
The following is an example of a nutritional and tasty menu for a day, that should not take you long to prepare and cook:
Quinoa fruit salad (breakfast)
Your selection of fruit (can be from frozen) with a scoop of quinoa. Toss the whole thing around until the quinoa is evenly distributed. Add a dressing of honey, lime, and basil for a little extra yum.
Skinny pizza wrap (lunch)
Whole wheat wrap, 3tblsp light pizza sauce, herb seasoning, your choice of filling but this works well with turkey pepperoni and shredded mozzarella cheese.
Spread pizza sauce on wrap. Top sauce with herb seasoning, pepperoni slices and sprinkle with cheese. Roll wrap tightly. You can eat this cold or pop it in the microwave for 1:30 minutes or until the cheese melts.
Easy chicken fried rice (dinner)
Ingredients: skinless/boneless chicken, cooked and cooled brown rice, tblsp oil, spring onions, garlic clove and your choice of veg. Frozen mixed vegetables make this healthy chicken fried rice recipe quick, easy and economical. About 15 minutes to prep and cook.