How Simple Preparation Can Save You Money and Your Health
What do you eat for lunch everyday at work?
Do you buy takeaways? Is it a boring sandwich you made in a rush just before leaving the house? Or is it 'fast' food that you found in your pantry - quick cook noodles, muesli bars or canned soup?
Many of these options can be high in bad fats, calories and salt - and low in the vitamins and minerals that we need. This food also won't keep you full for long, which can lead to snacking later.
It's a vicious cycle!
Eating habitually like this can cause poor health issues, and can also result in weight gain.
It also hurts your finances. Add up how much your takeaway and snack food is costing you per week, then multiply that to work out your monthly and yearly costs. Where else could you be valuably investing this money instead?
The answer is in preparation. Spending some time on Saturday or Sunday preparing for the week ahead is an investment into your health, energy and finances.
If you have a yummy healthy lunch and snacks prepared, you'll be far less likely to be tempted to buy takeaway. Your blood sugar will also be more stable and you won't be reliant on sugar and unhealthy snacks to keep you going.
Not a chef? Doesn't matter! Keep it simple and have fun with it!
My easy tips for preparing your own meals:
Plan Ahead. Research healthy recipes and snacks that you love and create a shopping list. Make sure there is variety, otherwise you will get bored eating the same meal everyday. Find inspiration on food websites, blogs or try different cuisines.
Some of my favourite meals to prepare for lunches include roast chicken pieces with vegetables, chopped salad with tuna, or pan fried salmon with quinoa and vegetables.
Balance and Variety. Try to include a palm sized amount of good protein, lots of different coloured vegetables, and some good fats such as avocado, nuts, oily fish. For carbohydrates, use whole grain options. Quinoa, wild rice or barley are also delicious alternatives. Salads are a great idea, and use herbs to give flavour.
Cook in Bulk. Using bulk cooking methods will be quicker and easier - such as roasting, steaming or slow cooking. Let the food cool slightly before storing in spill proof and microwave suitable containers. Refrigerate within 1 hour of cooking. Another tip - when making dinner, make extra portions that you can take for lunch.
Snack Prep. Pre-prepare snacks such as cut vegetables, fruit and healthy dips into containers. Snack ideas include cucumber and carrot sticks with hummus, olives, cheese, rice crackers, boiled eggs or unsalted nuts.
Monday Haul. A great idea is to take in your week's food prep in on a Monday, so you don't have to remember to take it in everyday. Make sure there is enough room in your work fridge though!
Breakfast Love. You can also prepare breakfast ahead of time to avoid buying it. Bring your own bread from home with toppings in containers. A smoothie in the morning can be a quick and healthy option. Fruit salad or oats soaked overnight is also a delicious way to start the day - my recipe below!
Following these simple steps and investing some of your time on the weekend can result in positive changes, more energy and improved health.
You can also save a LOT of money through bringing in your own healthy foods, as well as look after your waistline at the same time!
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A favourite breakfast of mine and it keeps me full until lunch! It's so quick to make and easy to grab out of the fridge in the morning - I usually prepare 3 serves to keep in the fridge to eat during the week.
1/2 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup rice or almond milk (or milk of your choice)
1 tsp LSA
1 tsp chia seeds
I mix all of these ingredients into a bowl or container and top with fruit such as frozen blueberries, sliced peaches or nectarines, or chopped mango. Cover and store in fridge overnight.
Eat it cold or slightly warmed in the microwave or stovetop. It is also great topped with a spoonful of greek yoghurt and some pepitas.