1. Plan ahead
Use the weekends to plan your meals for the week. Note down what meals you plan to have and create a list of ingredients needed. Over the weekend (or when possible), buy what you need.
2. Meal preparation
Once you have your meals planned for the week, prepare as much as possible when you have some time - Sunday is usually a good day to do this. Batch cook meals and then divide in tupperwear/food boxes. Store your meals for the following few days in the fridge and place the remaining in the freezer. You could also use another day midweek to prepare additional meals. For example:
3x overnight oats (oats, yoghurt, chia seeds and milk) with different toppings on each (i.e. banana, peanut butter, frozen fruits). Top tip, make your overnight oats in jars or glasses and keep in the fridge - ready to go in the morning!
Roasted mixed vegetables, chicken/fish and bulgur wheat/couscous, divided into 3 lunch boxes.
Brown rice with lean mince/tofu and veggies, divided into 3 lunch boxes.
Wholewheat pasta, tuna and butter beans with light mayonnaise, divided into 2 lunch boxes
Chicken/tofu stir fry with mixed vegetables, divided into 2 lunch boxes
Make sure your meals are based on carbohydrates (i.e., rice, pasta, oats), protein (i.e., meat, beans, eggs) and some healthy fats (i.e., olive oil, avocado, nuts or seeds) for a balanced, filling meal. Not having enough carbohydrates or protein may leave you feeling hungry!
Being organised will help to ensure that a) you have a healthy meal ready to eat, especially during/after a busy day at work and 2) helps to prevent ordering or buying takeaways.
3. Don't forget the snacks!
Aim to have healthy snacks easily available/in your bag, such as:
Plain yoghurt with frozen fruit
Keep some boiled eggs in the fridge
Nut and oat-based cereal bars or make your own
4. Don't cut out your favourite foods
Yes, you read that correctly. Do not try to avoid or cut out your favourite foods. Whether it's chocolate, pizza, biscuits. The key is to have them every now and again in moderation/small amounts. If you completely cut these foods out, you will likely start to crave them in a very short period of time and then reach a point where you do have them and potentially overeat/binge. This may lead you to feeling like you've failed or perhaps feel like you've derailed off eating well. Having the foods you enjoy in moderation will help to prevent this from happening and is part of having a healthy, balanced relationship with food.
5. Make use of cupboard items
Tins of beans, lentils, chickpeas, chopped tomatoes and tinned fish (i.e. mackerel, sardines, pilchards) are great items to have in the cupboard to make or add to a quick, easy meal. Think chickpea and lentil curry or tinned mackerel with chopped tomatoes and pasta - these are delicious, healthy, balanced meals based on cupboard items!
6. Carry a water bottle
Whether at home, at work or out and about, travel with a reusable water bottle and aim to drink water often. Limit fruit juices/smoothies to a glass a day (150ml) and have soft drinks/sugar sweetened drinks less often. Water is best for teeth and health!