It’s been a little while since I’ve written a Fitness Friday post, but I felt compelled to write one this week after continuously seeing posts on Facebook, tweets on Twitter and comments on Instagram about how hard it is to eat clean and find time to make things, to find recipes etc etc etc.
EVERYTHING IS HARD.
Let’s just get that thing right out there. Life generally is hard and you go through it having to work for things you want and quite often, there are setbacks.
If you want a holiday, you save hard and give things up for it knowing that the end result will be worth it, why don’t people treat eating in the same way?
You can always come up with excuses; I ran out of time, the ingredients are expensive, it’s too much to cook all the time, I don’t like eating x/y/z……
All it takes is a bit of preparation and effort on your part and you can have meals quite easily. Here’s my top 10 tips to help you out.
1) Write a meal plan – plan 7 evening meals, plan 7 lunches, and plan a variety of breakfasts and snacks. If you plan it all out and know what meals you have available to choose from then you have no room to deviate, and can actually look forward to meals knowing what you are having. To eat clean you will have to cook, accept it now!
2) Bulk buy everything in – clear out the old (or use it up if you wish) and then bulk buy in everything that you will need for a few weeks of meals. Obviously you can’t buy fresh foods in for that long and if you don’t have much cupboard or freezer space then this may be a challenge but the less you have to go to the shops the less you will be tempted. Also it means that you can….
3) Have a cooking day – doing this is essential for me! I make sure all ingredients are available and batch cook meals, snacks etc all on one day, i.e. a Sunday. If you cook a chilli, bolognese and a curry in one go with enough for a few portions of each it will take you a large part of the day, but will save you hours during the week. I also roast some veg, cook a whole chicken, a packet of quinoa and bake some muffins using this recipe here so that I have lunches and snacks for the week. It’s tiring sure, but saves so much time and effort in the week it’s worth it.
4) Swap things slowly – Or as fast as you like! Some people prefer to go cold turkey and others are all about a gradual change, but the easiest thing you can do is to swap your foods, that way you can still have them. For example, swap your white rice for cauliflower rice, swap spaghetti for strands or courgettes (courgetti?!) or even simpler, just swap chocolate and crisps for fruits, nuts and yogurt. There are always alternatives and fresh produce is always a better choice than anything that comes in a packet. There are so many small changes you can being to make that I can’t even begin to list them!
5) Plan the freezer and cupboards – there are a lot of alternatives to save you running out of fresh ingredients. Frozen fruit and vegetables can be lifesavers and you can stock up on meat and fish if you have the room when it’s on offer. Tins are also great, chickpeas go in almost any meal to bulk it out cheaply as well as loads of different types of beans, plus fruit and veg. Tuna is also something that can be bought quite cheaply and be added last minute to a salad.
6) Variety is everything – batch cooking is great but don’t fall into the trap of eating the same thing, variety will keep you enthusiastic and motivated and finding new recipes to try is fun, especially when you find a recipe for brownies or muffins that contain clean ingredients!
7) Always take snacks in your bag – NEVER leave home without a snack. My bag is constantly full of food; fruit, nuts, pretty much anything like that that can help when hunger strikes and will stop you from buying crisps or sweets when in a weak moment. I get laughed at for always having food, but I’ve saved so much money and stopped myself from eating unnecessarily bad foods so many times it has been worth it.
8) Increase the number of meals you eat – Eating more often but smaller amounts is a much better option than bigger meals less often. Eating more regularly will stabilise your blood sugar levels and keep your metabolism going which are all positive things! Never skip a meal, eating because you are hungry is vital, don’t cut down on what you’re eating just swap it for something else. It’s also quite exciting to eat 4-6 meals a day don’t you think?!
9) Keep your motivation going – Create Pinterest boards, follow ‘fitspiration’ accounts on twitter and buy fitness and health magazines. Seeing everyone else working out and looking healthy and happy will want you to do the same; it’s also invaluable for new recipes, workouts and exercise ideas to boost your enthusiasm and dedication.
10) Don’t sabotage your hard work – I believe in rewarding yourself for your hard work, and over time have changed this from a bar of chocolate to magazines, books, shoes, anything that isn’t going to add calories to my day. Of course I have treats, I go out with friends for food and cocktails and I have bad days that mean I end up on the kitchen floor with a jar of nutella and a spoon. I try to work off my daily problems and frustrations to help with this but avoiding adding additional salt, sugar, alcohol and bad fat to your day can only help. A cheat meal once a week is ideal, look forward to it and work hard knowing you can reward yourself at the end of it, but as they say, one cheat meal won’t make you fat, but one salad won’t make you skinny!
What do you think of my tips for eating clean? Have you been trying and failing to eat healthier?
What would you add to the list?
I’m always looking for inspiration so send blogs or pinterest boards my way if you have favourites!