Dinner’s always a rush so it’s never that healthy’, ‘I don’t have time to prep food for the week ahead’, or ‘this week got away on me and I didn’t get around to exercising’ — have you found yourself saying something similar to these phrases?
Life is fast paced, and there are so many demands on our time and attention. Unfortunately, this isn’t going to change itself. The only way we can create more time, is simply to get better at prioritising our time. Investing and prioritising time to eat well and exercise is investing in our future self.
Prioritising time to cook
A quick and easy dinner doesn’t have to mean it’s unhealthy. There are plenty of throw-together options that are satisfying, nutrient dense, healthy and full of flavour. Below are some quick and easy options for the 3 base portions of a healthy, balanced plate.
• Pre-chopped slaws and salads, steamed or blanched beans or other greens, 3–4 veg stir-fries or tosses — all veggie-filled options ready in 5–10 minutes.
• Pan-fried lean proteins e.g. chicken breast, beef or pork steaks, white fish, prawns or salmon, haloumi or tofu. Canned tuna or smoked salmon, boiled/poached or scrambled eggs, fresh mussels or shellfish — all lean protein options ready in under 10 minutes.
• Quick-cook healthy carbs e.g. Mung bean vermicelli, canned legumes, frozen veg (edamame/peas/corn), ancient grains (quinoa/farro/freekeh/bulgur wheat), pulse and legume pastas — there are even some great microwave brown rices and supergrain blends available at the supermarket for super-speedy nights (e.g. sunrice) — all healthy carbs ready in under 20 minutes.
Dedicating 20–30 minutes each evening to prepare a balanced dinner is an extremely productive use of our time. Nourishing and replenishing our bodies after a busy day, with a nutrient rich meal, will not only set us up for a great tomorrow, it’ll set us up for a great lifetime.
Prioritising meal prep
Most of us don’t plan to fall off the bandwagon of our new, healthy habits. Unfortunately, these decisions tend to be made in the moment, typically for lack of organisation or time. Meal prep might sound like headache at first, but once you’ve mastered it — meal prep saves the headache.
Running out to a cafe or lunch bar each day for a bite to eat takes time — it might take 20 minutes out of each day to walk to, queue and wait for your snack or meal to arrive. Sometimes it means your break isn’t that relaxing or enjoyable, and the time spent actively getting food can be quite a lot over the week once you compile it. Spending 1–2 hours on a Sunday chopping some veg for salads or making a batch of healthy cookies for snacks can mean that, come your lunch break, you’ll have time to sit down in the sunshine and enjoy your tasty and nutritious food. When you’ve prepped your lunches or snacks ahead of time, you don’t need to make any last-minute decisions — all the hard work is done already.
How you move, frequency, intensity and your relationship to exercise are important factors to navigate when it comes to the success of a long-term exercise plan. Creating healthy habits and daily routines that are consistent and achievable are an important approach when developing a strategy of self-care. Plan your week and dedicate times in your schedule for movement. Be sure to create a combination of structured exercise you can commit to and look for small changes you can make to your lifestyle that will create opportunities to move. This might look like an evening walk with a friend once a week, attending the gym twice a week, choosing the stairs over the lift at work and opting to stand when taking a phone call. Every little bit counts and contributes to the bank balance of your health and only you can make this investment.
A huge perk of Fresh Start is that the time needed for planning and grocery shopping is all taken care of. We’re here to aid you with prioritising your time, giving you a head start to your Fresh Start.
Click here to return to Fresh Start Blog
Meet the Nutritionist
Our in-house nutritionist Emma ‘Edamame’ was born and bred in mid Canterbury and has the health and wellbeing of Kiwis in mind at all times. As an NZ registered nutritionist (NZ Nutrition Society) with a bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and Food Science from the University of Auckland, she makes sure we’re all getting our fresh dose of local veggies and our meals are full of nutritious substance – thanks for having our back Em (and our waistlines!). When it comes to New Zealand produce, Emma is a whizz, with fresh berries being her absolute fave. Intrigued to know what food this nutritionist couldn’t live without? Fresh fish and seafood, delivering on both flavour and nourishment. As well as ice cream, especially real fruit ice creams, in the summer time! Life’s all about a tasty balance, right?