Saturday 16 December 2017

Week 7: Food preparation is key to success when time is short

David Gillick
David Gillick

I won’t lie, it can be very hard to eat well consistently while keeping control of everything else in your life.

When time-management is tricky, the result can often be that we neglect our diet and slip into unhealthy eating habits.  When you find yourself hungry after a long day, the thought of cooking and chopping can be off-putting, so we often end up grabbing a ready-meal, making a poor quality dish or, even worse, skipping a meal entirely!

What can we do in order to make things easier for ourselves?

There is no getting away from preparation, I’m afraid, and if we put the time in it will go a long way. It’s worth keeping in mind that when you’re putting time and effort into training for an event like the 2015 Vhi Women’s Mini Marathon, you need to support your body by eating healthily.

I try to plan my meals for each day, something I grew up on, to be honest. Mum was a nurse who worked nights so time was in short supply during the day.

The easiest approach for her was therefore to stick to a routine of meals throughout the week. Monday was mince and spuds, Tuesday was lamb chops, Wednesday was ham, Thursday was stew, Friday was fish, Saturday was treat day (pizza and chips) and Sunday was a roast. 

So have a think and see if you can adopt a similar approach to help you fit healthy eating into your weekly plan.

If you are very pushed for time during the week, another approach could be to set aside some time each Sunday to cook a few meals you can freeze and eat throughout the week.

Lasagna and fish pies are great examples of dishes that can tie you over for lunch or dinner the next day.

Spending half-an-hour in the evening chopping extra vegetables to use the following evening for dinner can save a lot of time. Even buying the chopped vegetables in the supermarket is another option. You might end up paying a little extra, but if time is precious you can still eat well as a result.

Some supermarkets and butchers sell healthy-roasting dishes full of good protein sources and vegetables, and all you need to do is pop them in the oven.

As with your training, the key to any plan is to stick with it. It is important to link a meal plan to your daily routine. If you know every Tuesday you are late home in the evening for whatever reason, then you need to be prepared.

Wouldn’t it be nice to come home to a homemade stew in the slow cooker ready to eat?

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