January is over and with it, a lot of new year’s resolutions. But hopefully you are still committed to eating healthy, nutritious food and if so, here are some helpful hints that can keep you on the right track with food that will do wonders for your waistline…
* Plan, plan, plan
This is so important. If you plan what you are going to eat ahead of time, you are going to do better. Planning ahead means that you won’t be caught at lunchtime with no idea what to eat or where to get it, then settling for rubbish. It will mean you won’t get home after a long day at work, starving, only to find there is nothing in the fridge (…and then ring for a takeaway). It will mean you will get up and be able to make yourself a tasty nutritious breakfast that will set you up for the day because the ingredients are all ready in the kitchen!
*Make your own meals
I would say that preparing most of the food you eat yourself is an essential part of losing weight or bodyfat. I don’t know many people who are able to lose weight by eating out all the time, or relying on ready-made meals or processed foods. Living well means a certain amount of effort on your part, and that includes spending some time in the kitchen (although the amount of time it takes to come up with tasty, healthy meals is usually very low).
If you are making your own meals, you will be able to ensure that you are using foods that are high-quality but not high-calorie (we all know that depending on how they are made, two meals that look and taste pretty much the same can be completely different in terms of their calorie content; for example, eating a spaghetti bolognese in a cafe or restaurant that probably used cheap, high-fat mince and a high-sugar sauce, compared to one that you made yourself using meat with 4% fat and a better quality sauce that has far fewer calories….the homemade version could literally be half the calories of the version you would get eating out) and you will still save a significant amount of money compared to eating out or buying ready-meals.
Don’t fall into the trap of saying you don’t have the time to cook for yourself. You do. You simply need to make it a priority and once you get into the habit, it’s just a matter of sitting down to watch 20 mins of telly less every day than you do now.
*Make bulk “Meal Prepping” a part of your routine
Invest in some tupperware and clear out some freezer space. Pick a day every week (Sunday is most common) and make a bulk version of a couple of your favourite healthy meals. It really takes no more effort to make a greater quantity of the same meal. Pick the kind of dishes that will retain their quality after freezing/reheating, and you should have 10 or 15 lunches and dinners all ready with maybe an hour’s effort. There really is very little argument against doing this once you have the space, and it is an absolute game-changer in terms of planning ahead (if you must rely on ready-made meals some of the time, I quite like the Balanced For You range from Marks and Spencer).
*Get a big grocery shop in every week
This ties in with having a plan and preparing your own meals. Go into the supermarket for a big shop, with a shopping list, so that your home is well stocked with the right kind of foods. Nipping into the shops every single day on the way home from work is not usually optimal for someone who is looking to drop weight; usually when we are tired and hungry we made bad food choices.
On a final note, some people find that keeping a food diary for a week or two really helps them, particularly with regard to problem patterns. If you are a bit flummoxed by food labelling, then apps like MyFitnessPal can be useful for seeing how many calories are in the food you eat, and it can sometimes be a real revelation for people. Best of luck!