Back to School - Eating Well with School and Work
So a lot of you have been asking about how to keep healthy when the new term starts so I wanted to share some of my top tips. For many people, being at school, university or work can make it that extra bit harder to make healthy choices for a whole host of different reasons. But rather than thinking of it in a negative way, there is one huge positive that can be taken from the new term and that is routine. Routine is the best way to create habits and if you get it right, those habits will make al the difference to how you feel.
The reason I wanted to post this just before the weekend is because the weekend is such a great time to set yourself up for the week ahead, without having to commit to too much time. When I first changed my diet, I would spend 1 hour on a Sunday night watching catch up TV or a movie and preparing a few bits to save me time during the week. That really is all it takes and after a few weeks it will just become your normal routine. If it doesn't work for you on a Sunday, find a time that does work for you and make the commitment to yourself to stick to it.
Firstly, chopping a load of veggies, drizzling them in a little olive oil or coconut oil and then roasting them in the oven means that you have a mountain of veggies to add to salads and meals throughout the week. While these are in the oven you can get to work on the next bits.
Grains and legumes are great to keep in the fridge for eating cold for lunch or reheating when you get home in the evenings. I usually choose two types from quinoa, lentils and brown rice and cook up a big batch of these, seasoned with some lemon and tamari in the water as they simmer.
If breakfast tends to get neglected, how about making some overnight oats? They last for days and you can mix up the ingredients for variety. You can put them in a jar or tupperware and just grab them on your way out in the morning. There are a few recipes to try on the blog or experiment and make your own.
Energy balls and protein bites are also on the list. Keeping these in the fridge will mean you have a sweet snack or energy booster which will curb cravings and help to fuel you when you feel a little flat during the week. If you are away at school or university, you can make a load of these and just keep them in the freezer to keep you going over a few weeks. Healthy snacks are curtail for keeping blood sugar levels stable and preventing energy crashes and binge eating! A big batch of hummus and some crudités can be kept in the fridge, ready to be packed off in a lunch box as a tasty snack each day.
Nut or oat milks only take a couple of minutes but are a really simple swap and oat milk in particular can save you a lot of money by making it at home. With nuts, you will need to soak them for about 8 hours first which may not always be possible if you have a busy weekend. Oats on the other hand only need soaking for about 20-30 minutes. Then you pop then in a blender with one part oats to 3 parts water and whizz them up. Then pour them through a sieve and keep in a sealed bottle in the fridge for up to 5 days. Just give the bottle a good shake before you use it.
Soups are great for making in batches too - they are easy to store as they freeze really well and can be reheated from frozen. My favourite one for freezing is spicy tomato, red pepper and basil soup and again it takes just a few minutes so you can fit that into your preparation hour too!
In addition to preparing food ahead of your week, my other best tip is about keeping your cupboard and fridge stocked with the right kind of food. If you come home to an empty fridge or are too tired to cook something fresh, you are bound to make unhealthy choices. Equip yourself with the right foods to make the best decisions such as keeping tins of chick peas, butter beans and tomatoes, fresh food such as vegetables and maybe some fresh fish in your fridge so you can throw something together in a matter of minutes. Make healthy eating the easy option and settle into a good routine. We're not perfect but we can certainly do a lot to help ourselves.
Have a good term!!