It’s so easy to fall out of our healthy habits when schedules kick in and life gets busy in general. In this blog post I’ve listed down the 5 simple steps that changed my daily dietary habits to the better but before we get to that, here’s how my fairly normal daily routine used to looked like.
WHEN YOUR HEALTHY DIET GOES OUT OF THE WINDOW…
I wake up in the morning after snoozing for way too long with just enough time for the absolute must-dos in the morning but nothing else. I then rush out of the door and plan to grab a take-away coffee on my way to work. That coffee turns into a delicious chai tea latte with a croissant on the side. I keep telling myself that that is completely justified because I’m just too busy and I still need to eat something (which is true!).
Before I notice it, it’s lunch time and I’ve got a whole 30 minutes before my next meeting. I run to the closest take-away place to grab a sandwich and a diet coke. Or sometimes, if I’m in luck, I get offered a lunch at work. A ‘working lunch’, you know. Think about small sandwiches or maybe even sushi or salads (if they are trying to keep it healthy). I then balance any healthy options with a good portion of crisps and maybe even a fizzy drink.
Next up is my afternoon slump when anything will do: cookies, crisps, fruit, coffee, tea, fizzy drink.. Anything to get my energy levels back up. In the evening, when I finally manage to drag myself back home I am already way too tired to start planning for dinner, let alone cooking it. My head hurts and I feel all sluggish (probably also because I haven’t had enough water during the day). Therefore, I opt for something quick: either take-away or something ready-made. Glass of wine (or two) doesn’t hurt either. In a matter of fact, I think I’ve deserved it as a reward for making it through the day…
Sound familiar? That is an exact description of how my daily food routines used to look like before I got so fed up with feeling crap and decided to change it.
5 SIMPLE STEPS TO STICKING TO YOUR HEALTHY DIET
Here are the 5 easy steps that I follow to stick to a healthier diet even in the busiest of times.
(1) Make a plan
You need to have a plan for the week, or at least for the next day, so that you are clear on your choices and what you are going to eat and when. You need a plan to avoid that ‘what’s for dinner’ agony every night. I’m speaking about making a meal plan and shopping lists in advance and then sticking to it. Not only does it make mid-week cooking so much easier and faster but it also saves money, reduces food waste and keeps you on track eating the diet you want. However, it does take some time to plan the meals, collect recipes and put together the meal plan and shopping lists but it’s so worth it.
(Some shameless self-promotion then. This is exactly why we created our 30 day vegan cookbook and meal plan, click here to find out more)
(2) Meal prep (usually Sundays)
I’ve only recently started doing this but it has changed my world, honestly! Chopping and cooking your vegetables in advance really doesn’t take that much time but it can make all the difference in the middle of the week. Just check your meal plan and look for any ingredients and steps requiring chopping. Then do that on a Sunday and keep your chopped veggies in small containers in the fridge ready to use when required.
My go to veggies are broccoli, beetroot and sweet potato which I chop and cook in advance. I usually steam the broccoli and bake the beetroot as is without any spices. Then, I prepare two versions of the sweet potato. I steam a portion without any spices (perfect for smoothies) and bake another portion with some olive oil, salt and black pepper (to be used in salad bowls etc).
(3) From dinner table to lunch box
Now this one is a must! If you are a household of two adults, for example, then simply cook 4 portions for dinner so both of you can take the left overs for lunch the next day. This is the easiest way to prep your lunch for next day as it doesn’t require any additional cooking. In this way you can enjoy, healthy home-made food the next day in the office as well. A win-win situation really.
(4) Smoothies for breakfast
Okay so I know this one is not everyone’s cup of tea. Some people just need something to bite and chew to call it a breakfast. However, smoothies work for me as they are so easy to load with a lot of good stuff. They are also super easy to make and you can either make them thin enough to drink or thicker to eat with a spoon. The absolute biggest reason for me to have smoothies for mid-week breakfast is that they only take minutes to prepare and you can sip them while you’re getting ready or have them on-the-go.
(5) Healthier snacking
If you are the snacking type, like I am, then plan also for your snacks in advance to keep them healthy. A handful of seeds or nuts is so much better than a piece of cake. However, if you haven’t got them on hand the chances are that you’re going to go for anything with sugar to get your energy levels up quickly. So here’s where we loop back to step number 1 i.e. planning is key!
Finally, while these 5 steps have changed my daily dietary habits to the better I always like to remind myself (and others) not to take any ‘rules’ too seriously. Sometimes you just need that piece of cake and that’s fine. And a glass of wine (or even two) after a tough day at the office is still more than acceptable in my books.
Happy eating everyone!