People often ask what the ‘secret’ to health and weight loss is. It isn’t a magic food, but rather the art of preparation! If you have healthy foods on hand, it becomes really easy to eat at the right times and make the healthy food choice. It all starts with taking a moment to think about your day and plan. You can do this in the morning, but it is so much better to do it the night before, especially if you want to get up and get GO’ing!
First of all you need to ask yourself a few key questions:
- Are you going to have breakfast at home or at the office?
- How long will you be out the house for?
- How many meals will you need to pack – mid-morning snack, lunch, mid-afternoon snack?
- What are you going to take for each of the meals?
If you choose to have your breakfast at the office, make sure you do it as you arrive before you get roped into emails and your day runs away with you! You need some sustenance for the day especially if you have had a tough morning cardio session at GO Health. To prepare for this make sure that you take your breakfast goodies to work or leave them at the office. Some ideas for a healthy start are: cereal (such as oats, all bran flakes, or muesli), with yoghurt or milk (bring your own if the office only has full fat); boiled eggs or peanut butter with toast; fruit and yoghurt with nuts or seeds. Once you have this routine GO’ing be sure to keep it up.
For most of us during the week, lunch is had at work and therefore also needs to be packed. Leftovers are the easiest and often most delicious option. When you dish out supper simply put a container aside with a fist-sized portion of starch, a palm-sized protein and some green veggies. Voilàà – lunch! Some other quick options are two slices of bread and an avo, cottage cheese, hummus or peanut butter. You don’t even need to make the sandwich at home… you can use it as an excuse to step away from your desk, do some stretches and make it in the kitchen at work! A potato is also an easy option– just steam in the microwave and add some cottage cheese, tuna or leftover mince for a topping. If you don’t have time to make a side salad take some cherry tomatoes and cucumber to add to it and to give it some colour!
It is vital to have snacks on you in case you ever feel hungry, low on energy or need something to fill the gap before your next meal. My favourites are fruit, yoghurt, nuts and a boiled egg. There are many more to choose from such as crackers and cottage cheese, vegetable crudité with hummus, low fat cheese wedges, biltong, trail mix, cup-a-soup, or a health bar.
One of the tricks that I find works very well is keeping non-perishable food around you, at the office, in the car or in your handbag. For example: dried fruit, nuts, crackers and peanut butter are perfect to put in your drawers for those days that you need a little extra! Just make sure that it is not a food that you would overeat – if you can’t keep a 500g packet of dried fruit in your office because it will be gone within the week, buy portion controlled 40g packs and have one a day.
Weekends need planning too so make sure to pack a ‘lunch box’ if you leave the house. Snacks are often enough for weekends. Have smaller snacks if the meals are close together and more substantial snacks if there is a gap of more than 5 hours between meals. Just because it’s the weekend it doesn’t mean you can give up on your healthy habits! For a special treat, why not pop in at the closest Happy.Me store for a genuinely healthy superfruit smoothie or a delicious carrot rooibos gluten free muffin.
Shop a lot
Another key to ensure that the lunch box habit stays on track is to go shopping regularly to keep your healthy food stocks up! Packing a lunch box and being prepared will only work if you always have what you need in the cupboard.
Humans are creatures of habit, so if you can get into the habit of being prepared and packing your lunch box you will become your healthiest happiest self and you will GO far!