Planning is key where healthy eating outside the house is involved, when I’ve previously tried to meal prep on a weekend for the week ahead I lost interest by mid week. I’d either make it too complicated or too boring.
I’m lucky to only eat lunch at work three times a week, on tuesdays and thursdays I finish at 1pm so I eat at home.
So I decided to start meal prepping for those three packed lunches usually the same meal to have on each day.
- Sunday is prep day, not only do I make my three lunch boxes but I make up a few other things that I can use in the week like a jar of homemade pesto and some energy balls. I’ve got my favourite playlist on and I’m often cooking the sunday roast at the same time. I actually enjoy my time in the kitchen singing, dancing and cooking.
- I choose a meal I know I will look forward to. There is nothing that will send me running from the waggon faster than some “bro food” like chicken and broccoli. One week while enjoying Nandos with my sister I decided I could prep my own version for the week ahead. This week I had loads of Tuna and Buckwheat so I made a simple grain bowl and split it into three.
- I try to make it a visually balanced meal, by that I mean I can literally look at my lunchbox and see protein, carbs, a source of healthy fat and some veggies. So for example with my Nandos style prep I had baked sweet potato wedges and some chicken thighs, sweetcorn and a side salad. Then for after a pot of nuts.
- To avoid bloating and help with good digestion I try to avoid eating fruit with my meals and instead have it on its own. I read in a book about gut health that fruit requires different digestive acids to be broken down and should always be eaten separately to other food groups.
On the two days I eat at home I have something a bit more spontaneous. The way I manage my eating pattern with intermittent fasting means that on these days I might have only had some fruit so I’ll have something a bit more brunchy to eat like porridge or eggs. Other days I might make a big salad or jacket potato.
The important thing is I listen to my body and what I’m really craving. This keeps me on track for the other three days because even if I don’t fancy what I’ve prepared I know I can change it up tomorrow.
My advice if you need to eat at work every day is to meal prep for 3 or 4 of those days and allow yourself some spontaneity on the other days. Maybe that’s every other day like me or just on a Friday to celebrate the weekend.
I’m not saying you have to make it into a cheat meal, just to have something healthy that you fancy. If that means waking up a bit earlier and making something or popping out for lunch or to the shop just do it. Life and fitness isn’t all about rigid planning and rules.
Sustainable health changes come with adapting your every day habits.