26th February 2018

The race against time: 5 go-to tips

I get it! You’re busy. Busy as hell, in fact.

Between work, friends, home, and everything in between, eating healthily can feel like a luxury you just don’t have time for. The beauty of it is that IT CAN BE DONE! And you don’t need much time to do it. Here are my 5 go-to tips for winning the race against time.

Don’t keep junk food in the house or in your top work drawer for that matter

This is basic, but it’s taken far too long for me to come to this realization. If I have a bag of hand-cooked crisps or a family size bar of salted caramel chocolate in close vicinity, there ain’t no tellin’ what may happen to it. I may be able to practise portion control, or I may eat it all, on sight. For this reason, I simply can’t have these things in my home/work drawer on a daily basis. It’s much easier to eat healthily if you only have healthy foods to choose from: obvious but true.

Easy snack prep

The biggest misconception about packing snacks (please note the emphasis on snacks, we’re not talking meals) is that it’s hard to do. Something that works for me is prepping healthy snacks for the entire week, or getting them together the night before. It only takes five minutes and will help healthy eating throughout the working day. Here are five healthy snacks that take no time:

  • Chopped apple and almond butter
  • Popcorn: if possible, air popped at home; spritz with olive oil mister and herbs
  • Almonds; add a tablespoon of dark chocolate chips and/or unsweetened dried cranberries
  • Lightly salted rice cakes topped with unrefined crunchy peanut butter, sliced banana, and a cheeky drizzle of honey
  • Fresh edamame tossed in a little soy sauce and pickled ginger

Don’t even try it. Breakfast is key

Fact: did you know that the origin of the word breakfast is break fast? This is because you haven’t been eating throughout the night and you need to break that fast upon awakening. Your body needs to eat. 

So, does breakfast ‘kick start’ your metabolism? Eating sets a variety of biological processes associated with digesting and storing food into action, which result in increased energy expenditure, known as diet-induced thermogenesis (DIT). 

My top easy breakfast picks:

  1. 1. Creamy coconut porridge 
  • 1 cup of coconut milk
  • 1/3 cup of jumbo oats (microwave this with the coconut milk for 2-3 minutes) 
  • Handful of fresh blueberries
  • Sliced banana
  • Generous squeeze of honey
  • Pinch of cinnamon

  1. 2. Smoked salmon and crushed avocado on toast (when you have a little more time, why not top with a poached egg and a dollop of hollandaise)
  • Multigrain, seeded slice of toast
  • Half avocado smashed with a squeeze of lemon, salt and pepper
  • A slither or two of smoked salmon 

  1. 3. ‘Patel’s Protein Power’ – blend the following
  • ½ cup of almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon of flaxseeds
  • 1 ½ tablespoons cacao powder
  • ½ cup of 0% fat, protein-rich Greek yoghurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 1 tablespoon nut butter
  • Generous squeeze of agave nectar

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Don’t underestimate the power of the freezer

When it comes to saving time, frozen foods are your best friends. When I say frozen foods, I don’t mean TV dinners loaded with high levels of saturated fat and sodium levels that go through the roof. I mean whole foods that were frozen at the peak of freshness. My favourite buys include: organic quinoa, vegetables (such as tender stem broccoli and sweet red peppers), and fruit (mango, blueberries, and raspberries). When I’m in a rush, I’ll heat up some frozen quinoa, stir in a handful of spinach, topped with a few slices of tomato, fine slithers of spring onion and radish, and avocado slices (poached egg if you can spare a little time). Flavour with plenty of fresh lime and cracked black pepper.

I swear by a dinner calendar

Having seven simple recipes on rotation each night of the week, or at least as back-up options, makes it much easier to stick to the plan and eat healthily. For example, I’ll do pasta on Mondays, tacos on Tuesday, beans and rice on Wednesdays, salad (not the boring sort) on Thursdays, fish on Friday, and so on. It also takes 99% of the indecision out of cooking; remember every little helps!