Busy schedules mean we don’t always practice what we preach when it comes to eating well. A little meal planning can go a long way says Accredited Practising Dietitian Ashleigh Feltham.
You work in fitness, so you’re only too aware of the crucial role that healthy eating plays in overall physical and mental fitness and wellbeing. But that doesn’t mean that you always practice what you know (and what you may preach), especially with early morning and late evening clients and classes. As with everything in life – a little planning when it comes to your weekly meals can go a long way to helping you both save time and live better.
Here are some easy tips to help you save time and money while living on the run:
1. Pick a food prep day
For many people, Sunday is a great day to make several meals at once in bulk to enjoy over the week, but of course, for you, another day may work better. The point is, regularly scheduling a couple of hours each week can enable you to make 3 or 4 different meals in bulk, which you can then divide into portions and have ready to go later in the week (or beyond). Use single meal-sized containers for each meal and store for up to 3 days in the fridge, or longer in the freezer.
2. Make a winning meal combo
The key to any winning meal combination for both satisfaction and taste is to make your meals with at least half vegetables, quarter whole grain sources such as rice, pasta, quinoa or couscous, and quarter lean protein like egg, fish, chicken breast, turkey breast, lean mince, beans or tofu. A hearty soup, such as chicken with whole grain rice or quinoa and vegetables, or a minestrone, is a great menu inclusion each week, especially in the cooler months, as it can be easily frozen in portions.
3. Shop like a pro
If you don’t have a plan before heading to the supermarket to shop you will end up buying a stack of things you didn’t really want to buy and forget what you were there to purchase (the supermarkets are very clever that way). So, plan with a shopping list of all the ingredients you need to make your winning meals for your food prep day. You’ll find that you save money, cut food waste and save a lot of time by eliminating those repetitive supermarket detours every evening on the way home from your last training session of the day.
4. Remember your snacks
Meal planning doesn’t need to be restricted to lunches and dinners, it can include your week’s snacks as well. Easy and fridge-free snacks you can store in your desk or in your bag include:
- Trail mix – 30g of nuts and seeds + 30g popped corn (these can be store bought in individual packets)
- Rice crackers/vita wheats/ Weetabix – 1-2 with 1 tablespoon of peanut butter/stringer cheese
- 95g spring water tuna + piece of fruit
- Apple with peanut butter (1 tablespoon) to dip
- Small can of baked beans + piece of toast or 1-2 whole grain crackers
- Miso soup.
5. Change it up
When it comes to meal planning, variety is important not only for your health, but also for adding a little excitement to your day. Take the time to search for easy recipes on the web and try to change up your meals at least once a month. Create a folder of your favourite meals as well as a corresponding ingredients/shopping list, and then just mix and match them to create no-brainer weekly meal plans.
You do have the ability to eat well while living on the run. By actively setting aside a little time each week you can fuel yourself optimally, save a few bucks and get even more out of your day.
Download the Network Weekly meal Planner
Just click on the Member Gymbag icon in your Network Member Portal and find it in the resources!
Ashleigh Feltham is an Accredited Practising Dietitian and owner of Feed Your Future Dietetics. She is also an experienced personal trainer group fitness instructor. Follow her on Instagram and Facebook.