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You’re busy. I get it. You might even be too busy to read this, so I’ll get straight to the point. Being unhealthy is one of the fastest ways to derail your productivity which can spell disaster if combined with a jam-packed schedule. So to help you out, I’ve created these 5 meal planning hacks to help you stay healthy with a busy schedule.
1. Cook One, Eat Three
My “Cook one, Eat 3” rule is all about working smarter, not harder. It involves cooking dinner, eating some of the leftovers for lunch the next day and then freezing the rest for quick meals later on in the week (or the following week). Start cooking as if your family is twice the size it is to ensure you’ve got leftovers to fuel you on those long, crazy days when time gets tight. Planning ahead is a game changer. If your schedule is going to get crazy mid-week but you have a little window of time on sunday night, make a double batch of your sunday dinner and keep those leftovers handy. In short, you need to befriend batch cooking.
2. Lunch thy leftovers
As part of the “Cook One, Eat 3” rule, get into the routine of packing up your lunch as you plate up your dinner. This creates no-brainer lunches that are ready to rock when you jet out the door in the morning. Not a fan of leftovers? Make it a whole new dish by adding a new ingredient to jazz it up! Tossing in a little goat cheese, pesto, olives or fresh herbs will put some life back into even the lamest leftovers.
3. Arm Yourself with 5 Go-To Recipes
Sometimes half the battle is simply knowing what to make. Remove the guesswork by having 5 recipes on hand that you can whip up in under 20 minutes. Bookmark them in your favourite cookbook, write down the classic dishes you know by heart, make a note in your phone, write them out in a list and post it on your fridge or make a pinterest board. Whichever way you choose to do it, keep it simple and easy to reference. I’m talking super simple meals like my go-to eggs and greens, grilled fish with a side of sauteed kale, brain boosting salad nicoise or sliced avocado on toast and a side of vegetables with hummus.
4. Banish Barriers
If the thought of having to wash, chop, measure and cook leaves you dialling for delivery, get that stuff out of the way before hand. Pencil these tasks into your weekly grocery run to ensure that these barriers are eliminated well before you turn into a hangry monster after a long day. Pre-wash and chop your fruits & veggies, combine any spice mixtures needed for your 5 go-to recipes and portion out your proteins ahead of time. This will help put dinner on your table faster than it would take that pizza to get to your door.
5. Dial Delivery
If cooking your own meals simply isn’t realistic or you’re just not that into it, be real about it. Accept the fact that taking on these tasks just isn’t going to happen. That’s absolutely fine! Don’t feel guilty about it and then continue to make unhealthy food choices while telling yourself that ‘next week’ you’ll do a better job. My motto: if you dread it, outsource it. But let’s be clear, I’m not telling you to order up a triple cheese pizza. There are lots of options for having fresh & nutritious foods delivered right to your door. If you truly can’t do it on your own, consider ordering wholesome pre-made meals or getting your groceries delivered (it’s cheaper and easier than you think). Some companies even offer recipe cards with all the ingredients included, for those of you who still want to throw on your chef hat from time to time.
Here are a few of my favourite places that are dishing up the healthiest (and tastiest) eats in Toronto:
Planning is your best defence against meal-time stress. Sometimes life throws you a curveball and your schedule gets the best of you, but a little bit of pre-planning can make all the difference when it comes to keeping your health goals on track.
In health & happy meal planning,