Tom, the personal trainer who founded Waite Training in Leeds has many tips to help you get started on working for your fitness goals.
Rustling up three healthy meals from scratch every day is a lifetime goal for many of us. But in reality, it can be unfeasible. That's thanks to busy schedules, leaving you stuck splitting precious time between work, family, friends, and the wide variety of commitments life throws at us.
This can leave us reaching for quick-fix meals or the takeaway menu to make sure food is eaten. But there are some great tricks out there to help you eat healthy, even if you're strapped for time. Here are some clever ways to shorten the minutes that go into prep, cooking, and clean-up that'll leave you eating healthy.
#1. Prioritise Breakfast
Breakfast is said to be the most important meal of the day. But it's easy to function on a quick coffee to get out the door quicker. Make an effort to prioritise a healthy breakfast that sets you up for the day ahead. If you're pushed for time when you get up, get it prepped the night before. You can make overnight oats that are filling and a healthy start to the day. They don't take long to make, and spending the night in the fridge makes them even tastier the following day.
#2. Batch Cooking
Batch cooking is one of the simplest ways to make healthy and fulfilling meals when your schedule is packed. Set out one day a week to get some nutritious meals cooked, separated, and into the freezer for use later in the week or even month. Your future self will appreciate you for your forward-thinking. And means you can eat healthy, even on a tight schedule.
#3. Build Your Recipe Collection
When you don't have a stockpile of quality recipes ready when mealtimes come in, it's much easier to make something quick but lacks nutrition. So instead, build a personal recipe collection of meals that are quick and simple. That way, you'll have plenty of options to go for that are tried and tested, even when you're pushed for time. What if you're bored of veggies? Check out our free guide on Sauces, Marinades and Dressings to jazz your salads up.
#4. Use Healthy Food Delivery Services
There are so many advantages to existing in a modern world. And one of them is healthy food delivery services. You can get recipes and all the ingredients you'll need landing on your doorstep once a week. Companies like Hello Fresh and the Mindful Chef let you choose meals that are high in nutrition. And you can choose ones that are under 30 minutes for cooking and prep.
#5. Create A Weekly Meal Plan
Having a weekly meal plan is excellent for time-poor people. That's because you don't have to worry about what you'll cook; the plan's got you covered. However, if a meal plan feels too restrictive for your life, then loosen it up.
Have a group of 10 recipes you can make with the ingredients you already have, and that doesn't take long to rustle up. That way, you can choose what you feel like eating on the day, knowing you've got everything you need to create a foodie marvel.
#6. Don't Shun Frozen Or Canned Options
Frozen or canned foods often get a bad rep. But, for vegetables, in particular, they're a great option when you don't have a lot of time for prep. They still keep all their nutritional benefits, and it'll be half the preparation time. Plus, having canned food means you don't have to keep on top of what's in date and what's past its best every week.
#7. Keep It Simple
When it comes to healthy food, we can think that all our meals need to be complicated. But food is just as nutritious when you keep it simple. Stick to just a few ingredients, and it won't take much time to create a nutrition-packed meal. And that means you're not spending hours juggling 10 different ingredients and condiments.
#8. Not All Ready Meals Are Created Evil
While I wouldn't recommend relying on ready meals purely, but when you're in a rush or your creativity leaves you, there is nothing wrong with having a meal or two from the chilled aisle or the freezer. I don't mean pizza or pasta bakes.
Luckily, most supermarket chains now have a range of healthy options for microwaveable or oven foods ready in a few minutes. When all things are lost, and you still want to stay on the healthy side, choose something from ASDA, Morrison's or Waitrose that have veggies on the side. You'll be surprised. You can also find a great range of soups if you like them.
Hopefully, you feel like even though you might be stretched for time, getting a nutrition-packed meal isn't unachievable. By just making a few minor tweaks to the way you prepare and the options you choose means you can eat healthy when you're on a tight schedule. Food needs to work for you and your life, so don't be afraid to get a little creative with how you do things.
But remember, even if you slip up once in a while, that's ok. Sticking to healthy food every day can be challenging, even when you're not pushed for time. But you can quickly get back up on the horse and make better food choices for you and your body from the next meal.