It’s been a bizarre year. And our clients have been coping with it in different ways.
Some are worried about finances as their employee takes a slump in business. Others have concerns about loved ones. Some are frightened about the prospect of getting ill.
They all have one thing in common.
This constant worry and uncertainty is taking its toll on their sleep and quality of life.
And many of them are feeling stuck in a cycle. They know they feel better when they eat well, sleep well and give time and attention to themselves, but when you’re tired and stressed, how do you do the simplest of things? It’s so tempting to grab a ready meal, a beer and crash infront of the TV.
I’m a firm believer that you ‘are what you eat’, after eradicating ME by changing my diet and one of my clients emailed me today for advice on how to eat well. She’s short on time, low on energy, yet her body is craving healthy food.
I really get it.
And I’m sure you do too. You want to eat well, but don’t have the energy to prepare a meal.
Here are some ideas to try:
How to eat healthy when you have no time or energy
Prepare smoothie packs
As soon as I get my shopping home, I spend a bit of time divvying up all the fruit into smoothie portions, then freeze them in packs. Each night before bed, I take a pack out of the freezer and all I have to do is blend it with some suitable liquid like goats milk or kefir. If you don’t like smoothies, just store prepared fruits in a container to serve with yogurt or pick at as snacks throughout the day.
Make your own ready meals – the simple way
The next time you do feel like cooking, take advantage of your enthusiasm and deliberately cook too much. You can then batch freeze leftovers in portions for healthy ‘ready meals’. I do this with shepherds pies, fish pie, bolognese sauce, stews, chillies, curries and tagine.
Batch cook some ingredients
At the beginning of the week, spend a bit of time boiling some lentils or split peas, roast chunks of vegetables and sweet potatoes and toast some nuts and seeds. That way you can add something healthy to salads, soups and sandwiches without the extra heating and washing up time.
Use a slow cooker
A slow cooker is one of my ‘must have’ kitchen gadgets. It’s ideal for cooking a roast and then using up the meat throughout the next few days or making a large casserole that can then be frozen into portions. You can even use it for breakfast, as you’ll see next!
Prep your breakfast
It’s suggested that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and you can prep it in advance by making overnight oats, putting porrage into a slow cooker on a timer or making a batch of ‘breakfast muffins’ that you can freeze then defrost each night before you go to bed. Or you could try my own healthy pancake recipe. Make it the night before if you have more energy in the evenings and quickly heat the following morning to serve with yogurt and fruit.
Soup is quick and easy to prepare, especially if you have a soup maker – you just throw your vegetables in, add stock and seasonings and turn on. Twenty five minutes later you’ll have soup to the consistency you like most. Make enough for two or three days.
Use tins and jars
There is no shame in using tinned food every now and then. A jacket potato with a tin of salmon, or bowl of pasta with pesto is fine. Tinned tomatoes and pulses are a brilliant way to add some nutrition to your meals. You can buy frozen vegetables to add to pasta with a tin of tomatoes. Plus there are some brands of soup, such as Amy’s that are reasonable quality and not full of cheap ingredients.
The time in making a jacket potato is in the cooking; leaving you to focus on other things. Suitable toppings for a jacket potato needn’t be complicated or time consuming – baked beans with salad, a tin of tuna with sweetcorn, humous and spinach are all suitable choices.
Eggs are a brilliant superfood and the ultimate fast food. If you hard boil several eggs, they make a perfect healthy snack to grab – they are high in protein and amino acids. If you eat boiled or scrambled eggs, you can cook them in three minutes. You could make a frittata and eat it cold with salad.
Roast your veg
Once a week you can roast loads of vegetables such as peppers, onions, sweet potato and aubergine. For the next few days you can ring the changes with different spices and use your veggies with pasta, rice or in omelets. The secret to alleviate boredom is to have some sauces and relishes on hand to pep things up, as this brilliant article shows us.
Find one simple meal
It’s worth spending time experimenting and finding a quick, easy and satisfying meal that doesn’t take much work. So for example. you could blitz vegetables in a mini food processor instead of cutting them (ones like carrots, onions, and mushrooms work well). Then bring a pan of pasta or rice to the boil, and while that is cooking, fry your veggies for a couple of minutes with spices and tin of tomatoes. Add a protein of your choice – perhaps prawns, left over roast chicken or a tin of chickpeas and you’ll have a really quick family meal.
The time with a stirfry is in the preparation, not the cooking, but most supermarkets now sell pre-prepared vegetable packs, ready for you to throw in the wok. Add a source of protein and you’ve got a meal in minutes.
What about you? How do you eat healthily when you don’t have time or energy?