Since relocating my entire life to Birmingham my healthy eating game has been below average. I’ve indulged in several celebratory meals, family takeaways, and midnight stress eating sessions – involving a jar of peanut butter- and to be honest it’s been fantastic. For the past few weeks though, I’ve been trying to get more micronutrients in because I’m feeling sluggish, my skin is horrendous and I know I normally feel more upbeat and motivated. Like most people, I feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day and when it comes to cooking I can’t really be f****d at the moment. I have managed to step it up though and eat more fruit and vegetables with a few super basic hacks.
Get stocked up
My first secret to staying on track is to always be fully stocked with ‘grab and go’ style food, or at least that require minimum preparation. I always have carrots, peppers and cherry tomatoes in the fridge as they can be chopped up and eaten raw – great for when you want to mindlessly munch on something in front of the TV. That’s a mini-hack right there too; if you can eat it raw then do it, and collect 100 lazy points from me. For breakfast, porridge sachets are a great cupboard staple. I always opt for the plain oats and add fruit and honey to sweeten. For dinner put some pre-cooked rice sachets, pre-chopped veg, fresh spinach, cooked prawns and chicken in your trolley as well as a jar of Lazy Garlic or Lazy Chilli for flavour. My fruit bowl is always full of bananas, satsumas, apples and grapes for an easy sweat treat. Oh and I even created a free shopping list for you to use which you can see here.
I’m all about snacking in between meals, it keeps me happy, satisfied and means my main meals are normally smaller (and less time consuming) to prepare. When I start work at 7.30am I normally have lunch around 11.15am (I work in a deli so it’s impossible to take a break at a regular lunch time) but then I don’t eat dinner until my husband gets home at 6pm. Naturally, a snack needs to be had in between these meals otherwise I get cranky AF. It’s always tempting to reach for cereal bars and chocolate especially after a full day at work, but I try to wait until I get home and make a plate of chopped veggies, salad, fruit and some humous. I love the cute little mini pots of humous as they stay fresh longer and can be taken to work without making a mess. I also love that Pip & Nut have invented these handy little sachets of their nut butters which I like to have with fresh apple. It means I don’t need to use any will power to stop eating the entire jar and again, they can be popped in my bag for work or travel. Other ready to eat snacks I rely on are sugar-snap peas, boiled eggs and greek yoghurt. Coconut yoghurt is great too if you can source it, and of course Nakd bars are a regular choice for a quick nibble on the go.
Cook once a week
My ultimate life hack for those who hate to cook is to do it all at once. I know it sounds horrible, right? But honestly, if you just set aside 2 hours on a Sunday you can batch cook a few chicken breasts and a one-pot meal and I promise you’ll only have to use the microwave for the rest of the week. I normally cook about 8 chicken breasts and make a large pot of chilli, and chop up some carrots and peppers ready for that ‘grab & go’ meal as required. You can also prep ahead overnight oats or boil some eggs for breakfast, both will keep for about 3 days refrigerated in an airtight container. This should get you set up for most of the week then at the weekend you can get back to eating leftover takeaways for breakfast and cereal for dinner. Or is that just me?
Don’t forget to check out my free shopping list