Bored with eating? Can’t decide what to eat? Feeling uninspired around food? Is cooking just another thing to do on your long to do list? If you’re anything like me, I regularly fall into a rut of eating the same thing every day, week in week out. We are creatures of habit, and planning adventurous and exciting meals takes time and effort. Time which many of us don’t have, because we’re too busy doing all the other things on our to-do lists.
However when we get stuck in a rut with food that’s when we don’t make healthy choices. We go for the simplest, the easiest, the one that takes the least time to prepare or we pick up the phone and order a takeaway. That’s eating by default and not by design. If we want to start eating healthily, we have to design or plan it as it just doesn’t happen otherwise. How many times have you gone to the supermarket when you’re hungry and come back with some healthy foods but also a lot of instant foods? Foods that you can cook quickly, or that you can pop in the microwave and don’t require any effort or thought. How often do you start munching that bar of chocolate or packet of crisps in the car? If we’re honest we grab the empty calories or the instant fix, because we’re too tired or stressed at the end of a long day and we want instant energy.
The good news is that exciting and adventurous eating is just one decision away. If we eat 3 meals a day, 7 days a week that’s 21 meals. 21 opportunities to try something different! Start with 1 – 2 meals at a time and work up to lots of variety in our diet! We will have more time as a result, our bodies will be better for it and our waistlines may change (for the better I hope!).
Here are my top tips for planning meals in advance:
1. Set aside a quiet moment and make a plan. Decide how many meals you need to cook and choose some recipes. Double up on some recipes so that you’ve got another breakfast or lunch or supper prepared ahead of time.
2. Make a shopping list and stick to it! Don’t go shopping when you’re hungry or when you’re tired as you won’t make healthy choices. Use online shopping to save you time and prevent purchasing unnecessary items.
3. Plan a couple of hours in the kitchen doing some prep. Chop up veggies and store in the fridge. Make a big pan of soup and freeze it in portions. Roast a selection of chopped up veggies that you can have with a main meal or use as the basis of a salad for lunch the next day. Roast a whole chicken and use it for several meals including the carcass for soup.
4. Plan to eat a rainbow of fruit and veg every day. This will make sure you are getting a really good amount of vitamins and minerals. You will also be getting high levels of antioxidants which protect us against free radicals that cause us to prematurely age both inside and out.
Rainbow fruit and veg
Try & eat a portion of each colour every day:
Red: tomatoes, red peppers, goji berries, strawberries, red apples, redcurrants
Blue/red/purple: aubergine, cherries, blueberries, red cabbage, blackberries
Yellow/orange: sweet potato, carrots, butternut, papaya, pineapple, physalis
Green: spinach, broccoli, lettuce, runner beans, kale, fresh herbs
White: garlic, onions, parsnips, turnips, white cabbage, celeriac, mushrooms, cauliflower
Brown/grey: spices, nuts, seeds, legumes
Here’s a chart for you to print off (below) and stick on the fridge. Why not challenge everybody in your house to a competition. Who can tick the most boxes in a day?
To get you started, here’s one of my breakfast recipes. I love making this muesli because it’s so simple to make. it gives me energy and keeps me feeling fuller for longer. Why don’t you try it?
Breakfast Bircher Muesli (serves 2)
30g jumbo oats (use gluten free oats if gluten sensitive)
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1/4 400ml tin coconut milk (you can also use almond/rice/oat mylks)
1 tablespoon full fat Greek yogurt (use coconut yogurt if dairy intolerant)
Handful of berries
1 tablespoon chopped mixed nuts (replace with sunflower/pumpkin seeds if you have a nut allergy)
Mix oats, chia seeds and coconut milk together and leave in the fridge overnight. Next morning stir in the yogurt, berries and nuts and enjoy!
Questions? Advice? Health issues? Email me: