I talk nutrition with all of my patients. Food is fuel and has the potential to keep you around for a long time.
The most common excuse I hear for why people can't eat healthy is "I don't have time to eat well". If this is you, I have a newsflash: saying you don't have time to eat well is like saying you don't have time to stop for gas because you're too busy driving.
I certainly don't have a 100% perfect diet and I don't expect any of my patients to either. But eating well 70-80% of the time, well, that takes no added time at all. I'm a busy gal with non-typical business hours. I get home at 9pm some days and I'm tired. A patient recently asked, "you must be healthy, what do you eat? How do you do it?". I thought I'd share my answer here.
Breakfast: Smoothie 5-6 days per week and always on workdays. I fill my blender the night before so that the frozen fruit melts and I don't get a brain-freeze for breakfast. In about 45 seconds flat, I add frozen strawberries, frozen blueberries, handful of baby carrots, baby spinach, kale, broccoli, 1 scoop vegetarian protein powder, 2 tbsp flaxseed, and sometimes coconut if I'm feeling fancy. There are always at least 3 colours of fruits and veggies. In the morning, I take this out of the fridge and turn on the blender. Another 30 seconds of my day. Protein, healthy fats, tons of vitamins and minerals. Definitely worth the 75 seconds. When I'm not working, eggs are my go-to. Or sometimes homemade banana pancakes because they're delicious.
Snack: Usually this will be part 2 of my smoothie because I make a huge one. No extra prep time here!
Lunch: I've always been a lunch-bringer and it's usually leftovers. Sometimes I'll take my favourite perfect-salad-sized tupperware container and throw whatever's in the fridge into it. I always make sure there's a good protein source (hardboiled eggs, extra beans or lentils, nuts, seeds, edamame, etc) and some health fat (nuts or avocado in addition to my homemade dressing that I make a jar full at one time).
Snack: I keep Lara bars in both of my office drawers for hanger-related emergencies. Trail mix is another go-to snack as are veggies and hummus.
Dinner: My husband and I split the cooking even though he's better at it. We always focus on whole foods and never/rarely eat from a package. We also never spend more than 20-30 minutes making dinner, and sometimes it's 10. Making large batches of things helps me out with lunch the next day and with future dinners when we know we'll both be home late. Here's what we've had this past week: Thai red curry (tons of veggies, brown rice, tofu), spaghetti squash with walnut & lentil 'meatballs', tacos with mashed leftover walnut & lentil meatballs as the 'meaty' base, crockpot roasted organic chicken with roasted veggies & quick kale salad, veggie burgers with portobello mushrooms and sweet potato fries, mishmash bowl of deliciousness (lots of extra brown rice, black beans, sautéed veggies, shredded cabbage, and avocado slices). On recounting this, only the taco shells and veggie burgers were pre-made. I made oatmeal cookies last night. With chocolate chips.
This is what my typical workday looks like. What happens on my days off stays on my days off.
You may be thinking that this is all great, but when there are kids in the house, none of this is possible. I whole-heartedly disagree. Starting kids with whole, real food and keeping them on whole, real food leaves them with the knowledge that whole, real food is, simply, food. To get them back on it, involve them in the food prep process so they can be proud of what they've made. Praise that they made a delicious dinner. You'd bake cookies with them, what about making a mishmash bowl of deliciousness? Show them how to be healthy and you're setting them up for life.
If you have more mouths to feed, the extra prep time is minimal as the cooking time will still be the same. Spend 1 hour on Sundays chopping a huge bowl of veggies to grab-and-go in the fridge or freeze a bunch of them to grab-and-cook. Freeze individual portions for homemade TV dinners or easy lunches (mason jars are amazing). Our pantry is always stocked with canned beans for when we don't have time to boil the dry ones, chickpeas, brown rice, lentils, quinoa, coconut milk, and taco shells.
What's in your pantry?