Long days out with the family, hectic work life or even just not got the time to grab some food before leaving the house can be a recipe for disaster when it comes to dieting. But whilst skipping the occasional meal isn’t the big issue, being left hungry whilst hunting for a quick snack can lead to poor nutritional choices and the calories mounting up.
The best way to combat this is to be prepped and ready for the coming week, having meals and snacks ready to grab when you’re on the go. To help with this we have found out some top tips for meal preparation to ensure you’re never stuck being hungry and reaching for the calories.
Make a plan – Take a few minutes to plan out all your meals and snacks for the week. If you can control the main parts of your diet, it reduces the times you may be caught short without something it eat.
Be aware of your problem times – If you keep note of when your ‘problem’ times are then you can better plan for them. If you know you struggle to eat well when out on the road all day, look at meals that can be easily boxed up to take with you. If you always struggle with a 3pm lull in the day, stop yourself going to the shop for a chocolate bar by having a portion of nuts in your drawer.
Have cut up veg on hand – When you have a spare moment in the week cut and prepare all your veg into easily manageable servings. This means in the evenings there is no faffing around peeling and chopping – you can simply cook and enjoy.
Hard boiled eggs – Cook up a batch of hard boiled eggs to use as snacks or in salads throughout the week. If refrigerated properly your eggs can stay fresh for up to 5 days.
Cook extra – If you know you’re going to be busy the next day then cook extra the night before. Having leftovers the next day is a great way to save you time if you’re constantly on the move.
Go to recipes – Most of the time we only have 7 or 8 meal ideas that we cycle over and over, so create yourself some really easy go to recipes that suit your diet that take little or no thought when making. If you come home tired from a long day you can be eating well before you know it.
Make portions count – It’s easy to go out and buy a bag of nuts from the shop and before you know it have none left. Take 5 minutes to portion out your favourite nibbles into zip lock bags, bring one of those with you to work and you have yourself a handy portion controlled snack.
Bag up your smoothie – Same as your snacks, bag your smoothie ingredients to save you time on prep in the mornings.
Muffin tins – You can cook omelettes, frittatas, freeze smoothies or even boil eggs in muffin tins and the best part is with the right storage these foods can last you all week. So dig out your muffin tin and give it a whirl, check out our recipe for Bacon and Egg cups here.
Salad in a jar – Saved salad doesn’t have to be soggy! Prep your salad in a jar to increase its freshness. Want it to last longer? Put a bit of kitchen towel in the top of the jar to help soak up the moisture.
Protein snacks – There are some great recipes out there for high protein rich snacks such as protein balls and brownies. Make up some of these and keep them to hand for when that sugar craving hits.
Ready meals – Believe it or not there are some great healthy ready meals out on the market now. My personal favourite is Muscle Food’s eat clean range 3 minutes in the microwave and its ready to eat. These are a great addition to any freezer.
Don’t overdo it – Take your time with food prep, making a full weeks’ worth of meals will be too much for many of us and simply overwhelm us. Plan 1 or 2 days in advance or simply around your busy times/ days and gradually it will become habit.