When you’ve had a long day and can barely muster any energy to cook a meal, let alone a healthy meal, where do you go?
The easiest option is to go for the quickest simplest meal, a ready made frozen dinner or even 2 minute noodles. Plus those 2 minute noodle are delicious. Soon enough within 3 mnutes, you’ve just gulped down the whole bowl, and feel somewhat fed.
This scnenario is fine, if its a once in a while occurence. If its 5 nights a week though, it might be a sign of a bigger issue such as planning your meals. And of course life gets in the way.
So the obvious suggestion is to: prep your meals, which is great if you did prior. Present you will always be grateful if past you did some planning to make your life easier.
But do you do if you didn’t prep?
Plan For Unplanned Meals
The simple solution I would give is to have 4 or 5 easy quick recipes in your back pocket that are ready to go at any time. These are meals which you know will contain what a meal needs: 1) nourishment, 2) satiety and 3) to be mostly enjoyable.
Note that I mentioned at the very end, “mosty enjoyable” and not tasty, because using “taste” as a key requirement in your meals is usually what leads to overindulgence of less nutrient dense foods ie junk “unhealthy” foods. (PS – Requiring every single thing you eat to be delicious and mouth watering is a sign of dependency on instant gratification – not exactly the key to making long lasting real positive change in your life).
Such examples of quick easy meals would include:
- Wholewheat pasta with lean beef mince and julienne vegetable stirfry – est 15mins to make total
- Grilled chicken and oven roasted potatoes, with broccoli added in the last 10minutes – est 25mins to make
- Rolled oats, mixed with low fat yoghurt and a scoop of chocolate whey protein, cinnamon and blueberries – 2 mins to mix, leave overnight in the fridge – great anytime meal (not just breakfast! I love this for lunch)
- A chickpea, cucumber, carrot, tomato salad, with homemade dressing/vinaigrette – est 3 minutes to mix it all
- Egg white, pepper and onion scramble – est 7minutes to make (micronutrients and protein knocked out at breakfast, always a win!)
These are examples of my own go to meals, which make it easier to go grocery shopping because all you’ll need are less than 10 foods to buy.
This not only makes it quicker to go for shopping, its quicker to decide what to buy, and its cheaper than having to buy food for “variety”.
If you need variety in all your meals and don’t have a few healthy staples you eat around 70% of the time at home, you may need to be more aware of the meals you eat and be proactive about finding these staple meals.
These “routine” or staple meals will usually not find themselves and especially not engrain into your regular routine until you actively choose those meals time and time again. Learn how to make them easier for yourself. Find those meals and turn them into your “habit” meals and it’ll become almost automatic to make them even when you’re tired, uninspired, bored and even ravenous.
This will then allow for the vast majority of your meals to be made from fulfilling and nourishing meals, then guess what happens? Yep, improve your health status/lose weight/ get strong/*insert health mission here*.
The Best Defence Is A Good Offense
Even with long tiring days, to take active measures in your health means you need to do what you can to avoid a “catch up” scenario such as getting home and having no meal prepped, no healthy food available and no quick recipes you can whip up on the fly. It’s worth it to take time to find meal prep options and tips to have your meals ready.
At the same time, do experiment with 1 or 2 recipes that are quick, healthy and that you like. Master it to the point where it becomes your lazy-meal. Start with just 1 meal, then find another recipe, which eventually you add to your arsenal of easy-to-make meals.
Also I find that meals can be for any time – I have had beef steak at breakfast and banana oat pancakes for dinner. Be as free and flexible with your meal times and types because ultimately, this is all about you, what you can adhere to, and what you enjoy making because its taking you on the journey to who you are becoming.
Failing to prepare is preparing to fail. The good thing is, there are many ways to prepare, you just have to be willing to do the work, which will pay in dividends as you carry on in your everyday life.
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