One of the most common barriers to making healthy choices is time. Work, family, kids, exercise and cooking a healthy meal every day can just be too much to think about sometimes.
So help yourself out and follow my top kitchen tips to reduce time spent in the kitchen:
Batch cooking! Thai curries, Vegetable Stir Fries, Bean Chilli, Cottage Pie, Ratatouille, Moussaka, roasted vegetables and soups are some great examples of dishes that are easy to make, easy to store and freeze. They're also excellent dishes to bulk up your veggie content. Get yourself some glass storage containers (healthier than plastic ones), so meals are ready to go.
Batch cook grains. Cook a big batch of rice, quinoa or couscous at the beginning of the week so that you have some grains ready to add into lunches or dinners without having to wait for them to cook.
Food delivery boxes! These are a game changer. I am currently obsessed with Oddbox as I love the fact I am saving all the food from going to landfill and it's a fun surprise each week to see what arrives. I've also been recommending Mindful Chef and Gousto to clients for their dinners, which helps to take away the pressure of meal planning a few times a week. They are also a great way to learn new dishes to add to your cooking repertoire.
Meal prep & planning ahead. Trust me, this will make cooking a lot easier and quicker. If you just spend 10 minutes each week deciding the week ahead you will stop yourself snacking, skipping meals or binging on frozen pizzas. It provides routine, structure and can often save you money as you can bulk shop. Make it visible by buying a meal planner so the entire household knows what the plan is - this one can even be put on the fridge.
Are you 'stomach hungry' or 'mouth hungry'? There are my tips to stop snacking
Make sure to eat 3 full meals a day.
If you skip breakfast or lunch you will be rummaging through cupboards to find something to eat. Usually a sugar or caffeine fix as your blood sugar has dropped, and something easy which usually means biscuits, crisps, bread etc. If you're full from a healthy meal, and distracted with the kids or work you'll be surprised how quickly time flies between meals.
Ask yourself, are you ‘stomach hungry’ or ‘mouth hungry’?
If you're ‘stomach hungry’, usually you feel a little shaky or struggle to concentrate which means your blood sugar has dropped and you need to eat a proper meal. This is fine, refuel with some whole grains, good source of protein and of course lots of veggies.
If you are 'mouth hungry', it's usually that you are bored, want a distraction or as a means to procrastinate. Instead, try going for a walk, drink a glass of water or herbal tea or have a 5 minute rest from your computer. Just do something to change up the monotony of sitting at your desk so that you avoid pointless snacking.
If you're taking care of the family and it is snack time, try to incorporate healthy snacks you can enjoy together such as apple and peanut butter, veggie sticks and hummus or a healthy trail mix.
Want to improve your digestion and stay hydrated? Then follow these steps:
Mindful Eating Slow down and look at the food you are eating. This will help the Cephalic Phase of digestion where the brain sees the food and triggers the stomach to start producing digestive juices. If you are on your phone or watching TV, your brain missed this visual trigger and will have a harder time digesting.
Sip, don't gulp whilst eating This will help to aid digestion by not overly diluting your stomach acid and digestive enzymes.
3 Square Meals As I said earlier, this will prevent snacking and give your gut the chance to digest its contents fully and provide a chance to rest. And yes, breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day. It will kick start the metabolism, balance the blood sugar, improve energy levels and help with concentration!
Eat at the table to prevent reflux and indigestion Taking a short walk after meals will also aid digestion.
Let's talk about water targets! These are the levels you want to be hitting to ensure you get enough water each day. You can now get great water bottles with times labelled, set an alarm on your phone, or download an app (there are many!). Just 300ml of water can improve your cognitive performance by 25% so it's important to stay hydrated. Aim for 1.5-2 Litres per day (more if exercising).
300ml upon waking
500ml by lunch
300ml mid afternoon
500ml by dinner
300ml by bed
I'd love to speak to you more about forming health diet habits, improving your digestion to maximise every day health or boosting your happy hormones, book in a free 20 minute consultation today.
Registered Nutritional Therapist
Kelly is a Registered Nutritional Therapist who focuses on positive physical and mental wellbeing, achieved through diet, lifestyle, sleep and exercise. Having struggled for years with IBS and hormonal imbalance, and increasingly frustrated with the lack of support and helpful advice from her GP, Kelly began her own journey of healing the body from the inside out. After seeing huge improvements she quit her job to study nutrition and focus on harnessing the healing powers of food to help other people in similar situations.