One of the most common obstacles people say they face in trying to eat healthier is “TIME”. With our busy lifestyles it’s becoming harder to find time to buy healthy foods, prepare them and cook from scratch.
But – If you keep eating really unhealthy foods such as ready meals and takeaways you are significantly increasing your chance of becoming seriously ill from diabetes, heart disease, metabolic syndrome etc.
Do you actually have TIME to be sick?
If you become ill you could end up spending long spells in hospital receiving treatment, which means less time with your family and friends and less time doing the things you enjoy. So, finding time to eat healthier is really important.
One of the problems we all face is the “all or nothing” attitude. We try to go all in on changing everything about our lifestyle and then find we just can’t maintain it and slip right back to where we started from.
I believe it’s better to start with just one or two small changes to begin with. Once you’ve adopted these changes into your life, it becomes easier to make the next few changes. As you begin eating healthier you should start to find your energy levels improve. More energy = more productive use of your time and so the next steps become easier.
So, here’s my first step to get you off on the healthier eating path:-
Shop once a week
Why? – It saves time and you don’t waste money buying food you shouldn’t eat or food you end up throwing away.
If you shop every day or every other day, then you’re increasing the temptation to buy unhealthy foods. Those chocolate bars look so appealing at the check out!
If you have kids, it helps train them that the cupboards won’t be full of food all week. Mine are like locusts and can clear a week’s worth of snacks in one day. When they do though, they end up with no more snacks for the rest of the week – and yes the reality is we do have snacks in this house! – it’s all about moderation.
Start off with a Meal Plan
Every week I sit down and work out a meal plan for the next week. I have a stack of recipe books and magazines that have easy recipes that don’t take long to prepare. I flick through these and pick out some ideas. This exercise should take about 10 minutes – the time it takes to drink a cup of tea or coffee. If you have to commute to work on a bus or train, then you could do this whilst travelling.
When planning my meals, I try to bear in mind what’s going on in the next week – if there’s a night when we are going to get back late – then I make sure I have a super easy meal that can be prepared quickly and easily. Other nights, when I have time, I have something a bit more fancy. I post my weekly meal plan each week on this site to give you some inspiration and ideas.
From this meal plan I write out a shopping list of the ingredients I need. I have a notepad in the kitchen which I add items on during the week when I’m getting low or have used something up. This keeps the basic staples in the food cupboard topped up, so you always know you have them to hand.
Order on line
I use a supermarket delivery system. This saves a huge amount of time. One evening a week, whilst watching TV with the family, I click through my order using my shopping list.
It’s then delivered in a one hour delivery slot at a time convenient to me. No wasting time wheeling a trolley round and round the aisles searching for stuff, no queuing to unload and reload it again through the tills, no driving backwards and forward to the supermarket. BUT most importantly, I’m not tempted to load my trolley up with lots of unhealthy processed foods that I don’t actually need.
The downside of this process –
The family will probably moan that they don’t get much choice or treats – plus side – if you haven’t got unhealthy foods on the shelf then they can’t eat unhealthy food!
I don’t always feel I get the freshest, best fruit and vegetables on offer. Ideally I’d love to spend time going to a Farmer’s Market picking these up fresh each week but the reality is, I usually don’t have time. If you live or work in a town/city then you may find you can slot this into your lunchtime or a Saturday morning. Like anything, adapt and find a way that work’s best for you.
Cook from scratch whenever possible
Once you have a meal plan and you know you have the relevant ingredients already at home, it becomes much easier to think “ok, when I get home I’m going to cook X” instead of “I don’t know what I’m going to make for dinner – I’ll just get a takeaway”.
I usually end up multi tasking meal preparation time either by:-
- having the kids sat at the workbench doing homework so I can help them whilst I’m chopping vegetables;
- or, I might be catching up on a ‘You Tube’ video or podcast;
- or, talking to my mum or a friend on the phone.
If you’ve had a particularly stressful day, it can be quite meditative chopping and preparing food and gives your brain a chance to start relaxing.
If you can get the whole family involved, it’s a good time to chat and connect together about your day.
Meal preparation doesn’t have to be boring!
However, I’m the same as everyone else and some nights just don’t work out and you know what – sometimes a takeaway makes life easier! The thing is, to just have some systems in place so that it’s not the everyday routine.
I’d love to know whether you think this healthy eating step is doable, or are you already doing this? What’s your thoughts or opinions on this? Send me a comment in the box below or on my facebook page.
If you found this article helpful please like and share on the social media buttons below.