Most of us want to adopt healthier eating patterns, but we also struggle with getting caught up in a busy work week. It can be hard to find the time to prepare fresh, wholesome meals during the week and most of us fall back on takeaway, junk food, and fast foods when we’re hungry and short on time. But all it takes is a little organisation, and healthy eating can be easy and completely doable.
For those of you who struggle to eat healthier, here are some eating hacks that will keep you on track throughout the week so you don’t fall back onto bad habits.
Planning your meals is key to healthy eating. If you don’t plan the foods you’ll be eating throughout the week, then you’ll be more susceptible to reaching for that ready-made meal or ordering takeaway in the spur of the moment. Having a plan can guide you to eat healthier by removing decision fatigue and preparing your mindset for a particular lunch or dinner.
On the weekend, try to plan a menu for the entire week in advance. At the very least, start with planning three days worth of meals. This schedule makes it much easier to stick to healthy meals as you know what you’ll be cooking and eating each day, and it also helps save you money by making sure you buy the right groceries and don’t let veggies start to rot in the back of the drawer.
2. Throw away junk food
If you don’t have self-control, be honest with yourself and try to make things easy. Don’t try to force restraint and discipline if it’s simply not there or you’ll make your healthy eating journey much more difficult. If you’re the kind of person who keeps daydreaming about that chocolate in the fridge or the bag of chips in the pantry, then make sure you simply don’t buy them. It’s much easier to avoid junk food when it’s not there than if it’s there and tempting you to eat it.
3. Eat before you leave the house
Going out with friends tempts many of us to succumb to unhealthy eating habits. On the other hand, many of us leave the house unprepared for a long day out and end up eating fast food or junk food when hunger strikes. Instead, try to eat a big meal before you leave the house. This will keep you full so you don’t feel tempted to order food from outside – and if you do succumb, you’ll at least eat less of the bad stuff since you won’t be as hungry.
4. Use substitutes
Can’t imagine giving up certain foods? Try substituting them with healthier options. For example, you could make a pizza using a cauliflower crust or enjoy baked vegetable fries instead of hot chips. Have a weakness for sweets? Make your own homemade date balls or a bean and banana brownie!
5. Cook and pack
Pre-preparing meals can be a lifesaver on those days when you just don’t have an ounce of energy to cook. Cook larger batches of food and pack them into lunch boxes ready to reheat and eat. When you feel hungry the next day, all you have to do is reheat some food to enjoy a healthy, balanced meal. This will help you resist temptations and snacking when you don’t feel like cooking.
6. Drink a lot of water
Getting the right amount of water each day helps to reduce appetite. This means you’ll be wanting to eat less throughout the day. Easy and hydrating!
7. Move up
Physical activity is beneficial to the health of our entire body. At the same time, when you’re expending energy on exercise and feeling the endorphins pumping afterwards, you’re less likely to have an appetite for unhealthy food. Who wants to waste a good exercise session by eating junk?
8. Keep a food diary
Sometimes we think that we’re eating healthy, but it’s all too easy to forget about that chocolate, lolly, or chips we stole from a friend’s plate. Starting a food diary and writing down everything that goes into your mouth can help you catch all the unconscious little foods that are sneaking past your attention. It’ll also help you stay focused on your goal of healthy eating.