Suzie’s Top Tips for having enough time to eat right and move more!

Today’s post doesn’t include a recipe like I normally do, I thought I would try something a bit different and share some tips with you on the best ways to effectively use your time for meal planning, meal prep and fitting in time for yourself and exercise…

A quick pre-reading note from me: I apologise for how long it has taken for me to get this post up (over a month, gahhh) but to be honest it has taken me ages to get everything down the right way. This post is something I feel very passionate about and I wanted to make sure that I remembered all the little things and wrote it in a way that makes sense and will actually help people. I am in no way a health expert but I do feel that it all starts with the right mindset so I wanted to share simple things that have helped me along my journey to great health and well-being!

Life can be hectic and stressful and we always feel time-poor (haha, is that why it has been so long for me between posts?!?!), it is often easier to make excuses as to why you haven’t eaten the way you wanted to or slept enoughed or exercised as much as you inteded to. For me a lot of it comes down pushing your priorities to the top of the list and working out ways to effectively use the time that you have. When it comes to eating right, we often fall off the wagon when we don’t have the right things in front of us to eat or we don’t eat the right things to keep us fuelled for longer. When it comes to making enough time, well frankly it is a function of our society these days to over commit and always put other’s needs above our own, now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you need to turn into a selfish hermit but I do think we can all say “no” a little bit more often and push some of our our selfish priorities up the list.

So all of these words are great in theory but how can we actually use our time more effectively to make sure we are eating right and sleeping/exercising more?

1. Meal Planning / Shopping

I am not going to sugar coat it for you, eating right and making time for yourself doesn’t just miraculously happen. It takes effort, but like most good things, you have to work hard to get where you want to. There are definitely ways to make things easier and I guarantee the results you will get from physically feeling that little bit better will make all of your efforts worthwhile. Now, I am a serial planner, a list kind of girl and I also have to feel like I am in control all of the time, this comes naturally for me but I know not everyone is wired that way but I emplore you to try the following. All you need to do is spend a maximum of 30 minutes thinking about all the meals you are going to have for the next 7 days, breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks and then make a list of exactly what you need to buy to make those meals. I actually write the meals down on a weekly style calendar on the fridge so that everyone in the house knows what is for dinner each night and so that you can visualise what you are going to be eating when. I find by doing this we stick to the meals about 90% of the time, sometimes we will swap meals on different nights depending on how hectic the day has been etc. If you are not sure what meals you should make, it is a great idea to find a resource that can provide you with some meal planning that includes recipes and shopping lists, some great ones are Eat Drink Paleo 2 Week Meal Plan, I Quit Sugar 8 Week Program, Pete Evans’ Paleo Way 10 Week ProgramChris Kresser’s 14Four 

 2. Meal Preparation

Now by Meal Preparation I don’t mean what you do every night before making dinner, I am talking about preparing bulk foods in advance to always have on hand. If you plan things right, all you will have to give up is a few hours once a fortnight which to me is a worthy sacrifice for always having fresh, nutritious and yummy snacks/meals on hand all the time. Some of the staples that I always make up in big batches are meatballs (lately I have been making Pete Evans’ Lamb Koftas YUM) which I freeze in portions of 2 meatballs, these are great for afternoon snacks at work or to reheat for breakfast or lunch to have with salad or steamed veggies. I always have bone broth in the fridge or freezer, my slow cooker can make 3L at a time so I try and make a batch every week, having stock/broth on hand is fantastic just to have as a warm drink or to add to soups and sauces throughout the week. If you head to my Facebook page I have posted an easy bone broth recipe and explained all of the fab benefits of adding this “liquid gold” into your diet. Another easy thing to make ahead and keep in the freezer to grab on the go are my Salmon & Veggie muffins or if you are after something a little more sweet you can easily whip up some fruit & nut bars by throwing some incredients into the food processor, I am planning to post a recipe for this over the coming weeks so stay tuned…

3. Make Leftovers

Making enough for leftovers will really help you with the meal prearation bit above, it’s easy, if you cook enough at dinner time (and cooking more doesn’t usually take more time) then you are esentially also making tomorrow’s lunch or a dinner to have next week. I rarely make a meal that doesn’t yield leftovers and often buy double the amount of steak or rack of lamb or salmon so that what we cook for dinner can easily be eaten the next day for breakfast or lunch. This is just a no-brainer for me and saves so much time and if I am honest, sometimes I even enjoy the meal better when it is in it’s left-over form. There is something amazing about re-heating last nights pork crackling with juicy roast veggies.. mmmmm! Also, using the slow cooker really is like instant leftovers (unless you are feeding an army) and some of my regular slow cooker meals are my Pulled Pork or Beef Stew.

4. Fridge/Freezer/Pantry Storage

Storing your produce in a way which prolongs the lifespan is an absolute must if you want to eat fresh, eat well and stay on a budget. Apparently australian’s throw away around 20% of the food they purchase which equates to about 8 BILLION dollars worth!!!!!!!!!! This just appalls me and I think we all need to do our best to manage what we buy (as pointed out in point 1, buy what you will eat in the week) and keep it fresh for as long as possible. Now I may be a bit biased because in a former life I was a Tupperware demonstrator but seriously the plastic fantastic will change your life. In the pantry, it is great to store your nut flours, whole nuts, coconut flakes, chia seeds, herbs and spices etc in Modular Mates, these things are proven to increase shelf life and also prevent nasty ants and bugs getting into your precious ingredients. I think the most benefit I get out of my Tupperware is in the fridge by way of FridgeSmarts, I always used to call the Crisper a “Vegetable Graveyard” so FridgeSmarts really changed my life. For instance if you pop a mushroom in a FridgeSmart it will keep for weeks and weeks and things like celery and shallots stay crisp for weeks too, I think I have even had fresh carrots in a FridgeSmart for months at a time (purely just to prove how long I can keep them fresh for). Enough room in the freezer is a must if you want to utilise my Meal Prep and Leftovers tips above and Tupperware make great Freezer containers that are modular so stack really nicely and even aid in freezing/defrosting the food faster.

Although people often worry about the cost of Tupperware, over time the extra life span you recieve out of your product and the fact that it is all BPA-free and comes with a lifetime guarantee will honestly save you money in the long term (I know it has for me) and just to quickly go back to my old demonstrator days… why not host a party of your own and get all of the products for free???

5. Keep a Calendar

This last tip is really geared around making enough time to ensure you are getting enough sleep and moving your butt! I find once I write something down in either my diary or on my fridge calendar it is like it becomes a commitment. For me this includes recording everything everyone in the house is doing (Kikki-K have awesome family calendars) including the pets and for me little things like when I am working out or big things like when I will be away travelling for work. Once you can visualise what you have coming up for the week, it is so so soooo much easier to be in control of your time, you will know when you have a spare 5 to scratch yourself or a spare hour to go to that yoga class!

 

All in all for me it all comes down to spending that little bit of time planning at the start because I know from experience that that 10 minutes planning/prepping can save hours down the track. I am going to leave you with two of my favourite quotes…

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” -Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and 

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin

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