Here we are smack bang in the middle of 2017 surrounded by social media showcasing the health highlights reel (detox dinners, gym get-ups and progress pics) of our female contemporaries, leaving us question how on earth these women have the time for such things!
In all my time nutrition and weight loss coaching I have yet to find any woman, including myself, who isn’t affected by the constraints of time! We all want nothing more than to be healthy with true body confidence at the very least, if not a perky ‘peach’ (apparently now trendier than a 6-pack). But we know that it takes time to achieve these things and if you’re a busy, plate-spinning, life-juggling lady boss, full time mum, or a female simply existing in this modern world, it can seem impossible to entertain even the thought of a healthy eating routine whilst maintaining the craft of being a woman – AKA being everything to everyone (else)!
Many nutritional experts will tell you that ‘healthy’ and ‘convenient’ are on the opposite ends of the nutrition spectrum – of course if we are talking about typical fast foods and takeaways then absolutely this is true. But there are many wholesome and nutritious foods you can make from scratch that do not take hours in the kitchen.
There were times during my days running a busy health studio in the UK and trying to do a million other things when it was challenging even for me to honour my body with healthy choices. But there are ways! The trick is to not over think it and follow some of the simple tips and recipes I share below.
Before you head to the kitchen for some convenient healthy cooking, check out my top 5 tips below for maintaining a time efficient busy woman’s healthy diet and to help you prepare your own health highlights reel!
Tip 1. Get Organised
Look, I know this is not exactly breaking news BUT the undeniable truth is that planning will save you time in the long run and we all just have to suck it up and do it!
You don’t have to spend hours shopping and scheduling meals, but certainly a quick plan of the dishes you are going to make through the week in order to have all the ingredients to hand goes a long way to keeping you on track. Taking 10 minutes on a Sunday afternoon or evening for example to think about the next 7 days will save you ‘umming and aarhing’ over what to have for dinner each night an hour before it needs to be served. To successfully prioritise health in our busy lives we must take ownership and get organised – my tips 2, 3 and 4 will help you to do this with ease.
Tip 2. Build a Super Food Pantry (Download your Superfood Pantry Infographic)
A Superfood Pantry is your trusted ‘go-to’ food cupboard for ingredients that are simply just good for you. Whether whipping up a quick snack or a main gourmet meal, having to hand the foods that are by default good for you, will make your time in the kitchen super efficient as well as super healthy!
The free download here is a useful resource and as you will see, there are three key components to any healthy meal – Protein, Plants and LGL-GF Carbs.
Both animal and plant based proteins contain amino acids that are crucial for health. Maintaining a balanced metabolism, enabling repair, recovery and adaptation to stress and exercise all rely on good amounts of proteins in the diet. Protein-dense foods also help us to feel full and satisfied and keep blood sugar levels stable; allowing us to more easily maintain energy and shed unwanted body fat.
Plant based foods (vegetables, fruits, seaweeds, legumes, grains) are important because of their antioxidant and fibre contents.
…protect our bodies from free radical damage (FRD) which leads to premature ageing, tissue damage and inflammation – all of which make us susceptible to disease and weight gain.
…is KEY for soooo many healthy processes in the body. It not only keeps our bowels clean and regular, like protein it supports optimal blood sugar balance which helps in turn with heart health and weight loss.
LGL-GF (low glycemic load gluten free) Carbs
It’s not unusual for personal trainers and health coaches these days to recommend carbohydrate-free eating, especially for weight loss and although this can be a useful method to kick start a metabolic ‘shake-up’ it is not sustainably healthy. The key is to regularly choose carbohydrates that naturally carry a low glycemic load.
Blood sugar control is proving to be one of the most important factors in both long term health and efficient fat burning / fat loss. The Glycemic Load (GL) refers to how much of an impact a particular carbohydrate has on our blood sugar levels and the hormones (including insulin) which deal with these fluctuations. Long term, excessive fluctuations in these hormonal regulators has been linked to Type 2 Diabetes and other metabolic diseases, therefore it is recognised that for general daily consumption, the lower the GL the better. Of course where exercise demands and other special circumstances are concerned, higher glycemic foods are beneficial from time to time, but in general, the more stable we can keep our blood sugar levels within an optimal range, the healthier we will be.
The Superfood Pantry also highlights Gluten Free grains – this is a big topic unto itself, and I will blog about this soon, but the reality is these days that naturally gluten free foods (such as those listed in the Superfood Pantry) are better for your immune system and insides, which means optimal nutrient absorption and better energy production for most individuals.
So the trick is to get these three components of a healthy meal in a natural yet fast and convenient way – The recipes I share with you below do exactly that!
Tip 3. Invest a little now to gain a lot later
I highly recommend you invest (in stages if necessary) in some core kitchen tools that will make your life a lot easier. I don’t know where I would be without my slow cooker, high speed blender (such as a Nutribullet) and steamer pans.
Despite their name, Slow Cookers actually save you a lot of time because the bulk of your meal cooks throughout the day while you’re out doing whatever you do best. Before I set off for a year on the road… I used my slow cooker ALL THE TIME! I loved the fact that I had food ready for me to come home to and only had to steam up some green veg (a vital accompaniment) to complete the meal.
I also believe stainless steel (not plastic) steamers are a must for healthy cooking with convenience! If you grew up in the time of over cooked, boiled to death vegetables, it is likely you have been put off vegetables for life! But a quality stacking stainless steel steamer can easily reverse this adversity. With a steamer you can perfectly maintain the crisp vibrancy of your vegetables without losing flavour and most importantly nutrition. I also LOVE to steam fish and chicken because they take no time at all to cook to tender juicy perfection. Steamed Pesto Salmon and Vegetables for example takes only 20 minutes, including prep time! How much easier can healthy get!
Finally how would I live without a blender? No seriously, I think it would be game over! Smoothies and superfood shakes are as integral to my daily health routine as brushing my teeth (both of which feature twice a day)! It is not uncommon for me to have a super smoothie for breakfast and then again in the afternoon after craving something sweet! A quick blend of banana, spinach, almond butter, cocoa nibs, dates and honey is often just what the sweet Dr. ordered…and this is also what I LOVE LOVE LOVE about a high speed blender – the ability to make healthy treats that will not only satisfy the sweet ‘itch’ that can be so hard to scratch when focusing on being heathy, but will also nourish you at the same time.
Tip 4. Shop for groceries online
These days there is no excuse to not have healthy food in the house. Online grocery shopping, be it through your budget supermarket or high end organic delivery service, is a perfect way to ensure hassle free upkeep of your Superfood Pantry when pushed for time. Weekly or 2x weekly deliveries straight to your door will make your healthy lifestyle a breeze and what little extra you may have pay for delivery will be well worth your time and money spend getting to the shops and then wandering aimlessly around food aisles wondering what to buy at the same time as being tempted by the cleaver marketing of chemical laden, processed junk which makes up the majority of our supermarket shelves.
Tip 5. Persevere to eat as a family
Over the years I have met many women who prior to working with me spent hours in the kitchen trying to please fussy children and fussy husbands – sometimes making up to four different meals each night if they were to eat their healthy meals as well as keep the peace.
I made a strong point of showing clients (observing of course the upmost respect for them as mothers, appreciating it is no easy task to constantly feed a family) that this habit unfortunately sent out a number of unhealthful messages. One being that ‘Mum’s healthy eating’ is not normal or common place and only something that Mum does – yikes not ideal if we want our kids to grow up knowing health and it’s importance for everyone.
I also explained that fortunately fussy/unhealthy eating behaviours can be un-learned with perseverance and a little tough love. If you had a mother like mine growing up, you’ll know that this can work very quickly! Mum’s motto for us was ‘you either eat what you’re given, or you go hungry’ – needless to say there we no fussy eaters in our house!
So if you’re the main cook (and if not, this applies to the person who is) in order for you to meet your health goals, to make life easier in general and to emit impressionable, unhealthful messages around food and nutrition, it is important to work on healthy eating as a whole family. The best way to honour your loved ones is to feed them the same good stuff you want to feed yourself.
So, now that you’ve had a little food for thought, it’s time to make a little food for, well….eating!
Below I share a sample ‘convenient health food’ plan consisting several of my favourite simple quick and delicious recipes for you to enjoy – you will find links to these recipes on the document and HERE on the website.
In Health & Happiness
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