Tips for eating well when pressed for time
Q: Do you have any tips for eating well throughout the work week? Mywork schedule makes it difficult to have the time to prepare healthy meals. – James
It is undeniable that we have more on our plates than ever before and while I appreciate that many of us are juggling numerous tasks and roles daily, there is nothing on this Earth that can replace a highly nutritious way of eating. It’s so important that we take responsibility for our nourishment and prioritise our own health and wellbeing – it affects how we show up each and every day. With that said, I completely understand that most people these days simply don’t have the time or the energy to spend hours in the kitchen every day. Nutritious food doesn’t have to be complicated, but a little planning can go a long way in helping to make nourishing choices easier throughout the week. Here are some tips:
Rather than cooking just enough for one meal, cook a larger amount so that you’ll have leftovers for lunch the next day. If you’re freezing it, pack each serve/meal into a separate container so that you can easily defrost one meal at a time.
For some people, the time they perceive it takes to chop up vegetables is a barrier for them to include enough each day. If this is you, perhaps keep a couple of bags of frozen vegetables in your freezer for days when you would like to save on prep time. Snap freezing retains nutrients well so frozen vegetables are still a great choice nutritionally, and they come already chopped for you. Or chop fresh veges and see how little time that actually takes!
Some people like to do a ‘‘meal prep Sunday’’, where they allocate a couple of hours to cook in bulk meals or certain components of meals to be used throughout the coming week. You might like to roast a big batch of vegetables that you can add as a side to lunches and dinners over the next few days. Or a big batch of quinoa that you can add to a few meals.
If you struggle to make time to prepare a nutritious breakfast, you could portion out the ingredients for a green smoothie (such as some banana, spinach etc) and freeze into daily portions so that in the morning, all you need to do is throw one lot in the blender with some water, almond milk or coconut water and blend. Or you could make a chia pudding or overnight oats in the evenings and place them in the fridge so they’re ready to eat the next morning.
SLOW COOKER MEALS
Using a slow cooker can be a great
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way to prepare a nutritious meal – it just takes a little preparation work in the morning or the night before, and you have a meal waiting for you after a long day at work. You can freeze leftovers, too.
Preparing nutritious real food may take more time, but it is time we have to allow for in our day.
Dr Libby is a nutritional biochemist, best-selling author and speaker. The advice contained in this column is not intended to be a substitute for direct, personalised advice from a health professional. Dr Libby is touring 17 towns and cities with her Food Frustrations event, talking about the confusion around food and what you’re supposed to eat. See drlibby.com/events for full details.
A slow cooker can be a great way to prepare a nutritious meal.