I get asked lots of questions about nutrition, eating a healthy diet and losing weight. I'm not a qualified nutritionist but it is a subject we covered in our training, and something I've been personally interested in for many years. I've learned a lot and made many mistakes along the way. My bowel disease, food sensitivities and other health complications means my nutrition is something I have to think about every day. I've been asking myself for sometime now should I be ‘meal prepping’ or subscribing to a recipe box delivery service? Ask yourselves the following questions, you might want to read on.......
Do you answer yes to any of the following?
I try to stick to a healthier diet but I’m not sure what to buy when
I’m out shopping/I'm too busy to cook from scratch every day/I'm always tempted by the naughty treats in the kitchen
I’m trying to lose weight but struggle to control my daily calorie intake.
Perhaps you’ve seen the recipe box subscriptions and been tempted, but put off by the prices or limited options? This is a growing industry, no doubt one of the few to have more than just survived the current pandemic, as people look to reduce their visits to the shops and make better food choices easier. With many of us changing to working from home and having our daily activity levels reduced, we are finding 24 hour access to the kitchen, plus extra spare time, is having a negative on our waist lines! We are looking for ways to curb our snacking and take back control.
I’m sure you’ve heard of food prepping. It’s a common term used in the body building community, and the benefits are starting to be recognised by a wider audience. Organising your week’s menu ahead of time can save you time and money. It’s not a new concept, being something many of our grandparents and great grandparents would have been brought up doing out of necessary, but in this era of excess and busy lifestyles, we can find ourselves wondering around the supermarkets, which stock pretty much everything you could think of, we're surrounded by temptation, picking up whatever we fancy, pre-packaged, pre-cooked, we choose the path of convenience, the easiest and simplest options. As a society we have slipped into some very unhealthy habits and it’s time to take back control.
Meal planning and prepping can help us do this. The level at which you take this is up is for you to choose. It has to be what’s comfortable for you in order for it to be sustainable long term. This might just mean writing a meal plan for the week and using that to create your shopping list, cooking extra portions when doing your lunch or dinner a few times a week, or as far as spending a day, or two half days, preparing and cooking all your meals and snacks in advance. My personal happy place at the moment is cooking extra portions a few times a week, but I want to step it up as I’d like to lose a few kilograms whilst also making sure I am eating well around my training. I love cooking, but some days, when I’m super busy, I just don’t feel like spending an hour in the kitchen and if there’s nothing in the fridge ready to just reheat I end up going across the road (literally) to my very convenient supermarket and picking up something not so healthy! Occasionally I end up throwing away uneaten vegetables at the end of the week, and we all hate wasting food!
I tried full on meal prepping last year, spending a day preparing a whole week’s worth of food. I really enjoyed the convenience of having healthy meals ready to reheat, like my own personal microwave meals, salads to dish up straight from the fridge, guilt free snacks to satisfy cravings, and I was pretty smug with myself for those few weeks. Knowing I had ready prepared meals in the fridge gave me piece of mind, and a better chance of sticking to a healthy lifestyle. It felt good to be in control, I felt physically better for providing my body with quality nutrients and the scales rewarded me for my efforts. I dropped a previously very stubborn 3kg, which had refused to budge with my previous attempts at a calorie reduced diet. Unfortunately, the habit didn’t stick and the 3kg is back. Urgh. Last year was a testing time for all of us. I had jumped in too deep too quickly, and with everything else going on around me I lost focus. This time I’m determined to integrate a healthier and less wasteful system into my weekly routine. I’m going to do this in stages rather than jumping into the deep end again.
This is about building better lifelong habits.
I hope you join me on my journey, help keep me motivated and maybe pick up and share some tips, and be inspired to make some positive changes to your lifestyle too. Look out for the next post where I give an example of a weekly meal plan and look at how I'm going to make this part of my normal routine.