Do you find yourself caving into those bad habits after a long day of work or running around?? The easiest thing to do when you get home and there is no food in the fridge is to pick up the phone or head straight for the computer to order some takeout, they make it so easy for us these days, so why not? DON’T DO IT! Even the “healthiest” of takeout options are rarely just that!
Many will work so hard whilst exercising, only to take a dozen steps backwards by not following a healthy diet to match their training regime. This is not just about looks, but quality of life and longevity. For our bodies to perform at their best we must fill them with nourishing, notorious rich foods!
Don’t fear! Meal planning is here to save the day! This may seem silly and you might think, why would meal planning make me any more likely to want to cook a meal after a long busy day….?? But once you eliminate all the factors that make you head to that take out menu, the decision to be healthy is made a lot easier.
Meal planning does not have to start on a Monday!! Don’t fall into the habit of “I’ll start on Monday”. Start planning your meals on your own shopping days and if you don’t have one choose one. Any day is a good day to make a healthy change!
Prepare, prepare, prepare! I cannot stress this enough! Take the time to sit down and write out a meal plan, look at cook books, surf the net for inspiration and write down recipe ideas whenever they come to mind. This may seem like a daunting task but believe it or not I found this very enjoyable! This gives you the chance to try new foods and eliminates food wastage! You will definitely waste less time sitting down once a week to create a meal plan than you do contemplating what to eat for dinner each night.
Only buy what’s on your list! I know half the battle for me is having temptations sitting in the fridge or cupboard. Don’t tell yourself it’s for the kids or if someone pops in, healthy snacks are just as good as any other! You should never have to apologise for making healthy choices.
Go meatless. If your training isn’t as vigorous or your not lifting heavy weights that day, 3-4 meatless dinner meals a week will save time and money and your health will benefit from it. Lowering your consumption of meat and eating a large range of fruits and vegetables can aid your digestive system as most fruits, vegetable and healthy grains are high in fiber and low in fat.
Get help! I cannot think of anything worse than having to cook a meal every night! Ask your partner or kids if they are a bit older to help out with the cooking and preparation each week. Having a plan and know exactly what your going to cook makes it a lot easier to share the load.
Keep in mind, you may have meals that just flop and don’t turn out the way you want them to, this happens to the best of us, without meal planning! But keep at it! No one expects you to follow a meal plan 52.2 weeks in a row every year, we are human! But this small lifestyle change will make a huge impact on your eating habits while saving money, waste and time!
To help get your meal planning started, I’ve included a favorite recipe of mine that can be added to some of your meat free meals.
Super Green Lentil Patties
1 1/2 cups of minced kale a zucchini
1 can organic lentils
1 half minced onion or equal amount shallots
½ cup chopped fresh herbs (basil, parsley, coriander, whatever’s on hand)
Salt and peper to season
In a food processor or blender add chopped kale and grated zucchini and blend until it is finely minced. Add onions lentils and salt and pepper, blend until combined (this step can also be done by hand with a fork). Transfer mixture to a bowl and add 1 egg, if the mixture doesn’t seem to be holding well you can add another egg. Line a baking tray and form patties, lightly brush with oil and grill until golden. Turn the patties over to cook the other side.