Having a hectic life not only means it can be difficult to fit exercise into our schedules, it can also be difficult to fit in that pretty crucial element we all need....food!!! Obviously we all know (or should do!) that this is terrible for our health. So how can we possibly make sure that we're getting that healthy diet we all need?
No time to eat.....
I love food. I also tend to think about it for what feels like the majority of the time! Despite this, I've definitely spent days at work with my eyes fixed to the computer, surrounded by papers and books and I've totally forgotten to (or just felt like I didn't have time to) get up, walk to the kitchen and grab some food (and even water sometimes, which is obviously incredibly bad for me!). I bet that I'm not alone??
Food glorious food...
Of course it's totally counter-productive for us to forgo food in order to have more time to work. I need my brain to be on point so that I can solve complex legal problems for clients and advise them (correctly!) about their options. Equally, somebody with a physical job obviously needs the energy they'll get from good food and water. Despite this, lots of us still find ourselves prioritising work over eating, and certainly over eating healthily.
I'll often have the best of intentions to do a big healthy shop full of goodness in preparation for the week ahead, to make my lunches for the week, and to have healthy dinners every evening. There have been weeks where I've done the shop...tick! I've made a list of lunches and dinners for the week....tick!!! All going well so far!! I've then prepared Monday's lunch of a healthy colourful salad full of juicy fruits and veg....tick!! Dinner might be fresh grilled salmon with a side of asparagus....yes!!!....In a successful week Tuesday might also go to plan.....but then it frequently goes tits up...
Much of the remainder of the week can then see me paying through the nose for takeaway lunches, eating the Pret sandwiches and brownies at lunchtime meetings, or bringing some hideous sloppy concoction to work in a gross Tupperware box that I've only had time to rinse yesterday's sloppy concoction out of! It can be a sorry state of affairs.
The fact is that when I have to buy lunch, although it's usually delicious and beats whatever I would have brought in from home, buying lunches (especially in central London) is not great for the bank balance! Also, if I bring some shitty lunch with me from home that I've only had a moment to cobble together, then I'll often end up eating half of it (because quite frankly it's a bit gross!) or I'll go and buy lunch again.
As for dinner, my recipe plan will go straight out the window if I've had a late finish at work. I mean, who wants to start cooking a new recipe at 9pm when all you really feel like doing is opening a bottle of wine, grabbing a bowl of cereal and slumping down on the sofa in front of the TV??
Solutions, solutions, solutions...
So the question is, how to deal with this and find more time?!!
Over the past few weeks I've been trying to be healthier and spend more time focusing on my well-being. As part of that, I've tried my hardest to tackle this particular issue and find the time (somehow!!) and put in the effort to prepare healthy lunches and cook balanced meals for dinner.
In trying to be healthier, I've realised that getting up that little bit earlier or making myself find that extra time of an evening to cook a proper dinner, is actually achievable now I've started doing it regularly. It's definitely easier than it looks once you get into a habit. Plus, now I've started to look after myself and make sure most of my meals are healthy feasts, I'm much more reluctant to eat crap. Putting in the extra effort to claw my way out of bed earlier or just get off my bum and cook has definitely been worth it. Now let's see if I can stick to it!!!
I'm not going to give you loads of tips because (a) I'm not an expert and (b) I'm sure that you've heard it all before; prepare lunches and dinners on Sundays, prepare lunches the night before, prepare one pot dinners....blah blah. My only tip (but only you will find what works for you!) is to take an hour to sit and plan meals for the week ahead and buy all the ingredients you need in the weekly shop. I do my shop online to save time (...and to avoid slow moving people in the supermarket, grrr!). I grab a cup of tea (or wine depending on the mood!), grab some of my cookbooks and recipes I've saved on Instagram, and I try to find quick, easy meals that won't take hours to prepare and won't cost a bomb to make. This isn't a plug but if anybody needs inspiration, I've found the "Lean in 15" books really useful for quick healthy meals. Also, Zanna Van Dijk's book "Strong" is really good.
Here are photos of some of the meals I've been rustling up lately. All super easy and doable even when I don't have much time:
I don't profess to being some super organised health warrior. Definitely not. I've been there, with absolutely no time to eat or eat properly but all I've done is made a few small changes to enable me to find time to do it and so far it's going pretty well.
Now that I've spent a couple of weeks doing it successfully, recipes have become more familiar and planning the week's meals is actually quite enjoyable (such a loser I know!). Obviously I still end up grabbing something to go for lunch or a microwave meal from M&S for dinner every now and then but the point is that it doesn't happen nearly as often as it used to and I feel better, and more energetic and switched on as a result!! The bank balance isn't feeling the pinch as much either!!
If you have any tips for fitting healthy eating into your day or if you have any lunch recipes to share then let me know. I'm still getting the hang of lunch and haven't quite found enough inspiring (and easy) recipes to keep me interested, so would love to hear from you with any ideas! Also, let me know if you have any recipe book recommendations or please send me links to any useful websites/Insta feeds!