“Fail to prepare or prepare to go hungry!!”
Well that’s my motto in life anyway! Of course you won’t starve as there are shops, cafes and restaurants in abundance only ready to soothe your hunger but also deplete your wallet.
Every day can be tough when living on a budget, travelling frequently, juggling a hectic schedule or just trying to make improved food choices for you and your family. This is where planning and preparation come into play. We plan and prepare ourselves everyday for a variety of tasks and activities. Sometimes to the outside world we can display ourselves as extremely organised but behind closed doors and particularly in the kitchen it can be chaos.
This is normal life for many and can be easily altered by following my top tips for each mealtime of the day.
I love breakfast and kind of can’t understand how people can leave the house without something eaten or a meal packed to eat on the commute. My favourite breakfast options can all be prepared in advance and take only minutes.
Top my homemade granola with some yoghurt and fresh fruit. Prepare an overnight oats pot the night before to grab and go in the morning. Freeze a batch of cupcake quiches for a quick protein hit in the morning. Blend a colourful juice or smoothie to get your day off to a colourful start.
Depending on the time of year and my plans for the day my go-to lunch options are leftover dinner, salads and soups. Soup is a great option as it can be frozen in batches and defrosted quickly in the microwave. Have the soup on it’s own or add a slice of oat bread on the side. Salads can be eaten everyday, all you need to do is rotate your fillings. Store your salad contents in a jam jar to stop it going to mush with the more delicate items like salad leaves on top and the juicer contents like beetroot and tomato on the bottom. Here are my favourite combinations:
- Shredded chicken, curried fruit couscous, carrot curls & spinach.
- Hot smoked salmon, beetroot & avocado.
- Citrus chicken, mexican bean salsa & sweet potato wedges.
- Broccoli & feta salad with tuna & fresh spinach.
You arrive in late from work, starving and don’t have the energy to cook, this is where your freezer becomes your best friend! Batch cook a big curry, lentil stew or risotto at the weekend, then simple portion and freeze. All you need to do is allow it to defrost in the fridge during the day or when you get home in the microwave. Revitalise this dish by adding some fresh leafy vegetables or adding a grilled protein source to a vegetable dish. Tinned fish is another great protein option to add to a frozen vegetable dinner. Here are some of my tried and tested batch cooking options:
- Spicy Chicken & Beans
- Beetroot & Mushroom Quinoa Risotto
- Chicken & Quinoa Bake
- Smoky Lentil Stew
My mother used to describe me as a “grazer” at home and unfortunately I haven’t changed. Snacking is important for everyone but ensure you are eating correct portions.
Nuts are such an easy option, pop a bag in your car, handbag or desk drawer to always have them on hand. A whole bag of nuts can disappear before you know it so check out this great infographic for nut portions.
Vegetable sticks and hummus I find are great for travelling. Snacking before exercise, I tend to eat a plain banana or some of my Banana & Nut Bites made ahead. Homemade muffins baked in advance, frozen and defrosted are perfect for outdoor adventures.
As you can see, there are plenty of recipe options for each and every mealtime. Now it’s over to you. I challenge you to make one thing on this list and freeze or store it for later. Schedule some time during the next week or month to plan what meals you need to prepare in advance, what you would like to cook and the ingredients you need to purchase. By writing these things down, you formulate a plan and consciously make decisions about your mealtimes.
Before you know it, a healthy habit will be formed. Not only will this habit reward you with a full belly but also save time and money, keep you well nourished and in control of your mealtimes!
Keep an eye on my Instagram story where I often share the contents of my lunchbox.