So, its no secret that I have embarked on this career choice of sharing deliciously healthy food because of my own personal experiences with weight loss/gain and family health issues but how realistic is it to eat real food, made with real ingredients when you have a busy lifestyle, work and family commitments and what with the economy situation trying to keep to a sensible budget on top of everything else!
Well its not easy I know that. In my former life as a hairdresser I used to work 12, sometimes 14 hour days 5 days a week. No lunch break, no breaks full stop. I used to prepare all my lunches and dinners on my day off and have them ready to take with me, I spent 6 years eating my lunch and dinner out of Tupperware whilst clients were being shampooed or whilst mixing up a colour! Very unhealthy! And very depressing actually, not to mention knackering. But by chopping all your veg in one go and storing in the fridge it really does not take much longer, make a big pot of soup for lunches and cook extra rice, grains and pasta for quick salad lunches. Make your time in the kitchen work for you.
We're told to eat regularly and slowly and sitting down away from our work, but unfortunately in this day and age its pretty much impossible and for some bizarre reason its frowned upon to take a break and actually eat properly!
But its so important to fuel your body properly and its easy to spiral out of control when you are tired, busy and fed up with life! The biggest thing to help make healthy eating easier on your time and your wallet is to have your cupboards stocked properly with go to dry ingredients like rice, lentils, pasta, quinoa, seeds, nuts, tinned tomatoes, mixed beans in water, tinned fish in oil or spring water and a selection of oils, vinegars and herbs and spices. Keep wholemeal pitta, wraps, rolls and bread in your freezer for go to lunches. One massive tip I can share with you is bulk soak and cook dried beans and freeze them, then use them like frozen peas. Cheaper than chips I guarantee!!
Then I would really recommend doing a menu plan for the week BEFORE you go shopping, buy ONLY what you need. By keeping your cupboards well stocked you will only need to buy fresh goods and by consuming less meat and dairy you will save money. Red meat should really only be consumed once a week, this means ham, pork, bacon, beef & lamb, replace one red meat meal a week with beans or lentils, make a veggie chili with mixed beans instead or use red lentils & loads of veggies in curries. That's a saving immediately, poultry can be consumed up to 3 times a week and fish at least 3 time a week. Make your lunches veggie by making grain based salads, make dips and spreads with beans and add to wraps, rolls and sandwiches, have a hearty soup and wholemeal roll and a side salad.
Remember that your meat/fish portions should only be around 100g, the size of a pack of cards. If you are eating more than that then you are eating too much and that is costing you more money and having an effect on your long term health and weight. Dinner plates should resemble, 1/4 protein (meat/fish/beans/pulse/tofu), 1/4 plate whole grain carbs (brown rice/wholemeal pasta/quinoa/barley/spelt/sweet potato) and that the other 1/2 of the plate should be veg, all veg!
If you are eating cheaper processed foods it is a false economy, they are not satisfying, they play havoc with your blood sugar levels and this leads to you eating more unhealthy snacks which are another unnecessary cost. Not to mention the damage you are doing to your body. Diseased cells thrive on sugar, fat and chemicals and that's all there is to it. If you constantly feel ill, under the weather, bloated, overweight its because of bad diet.
I often hear people saying they dont have processed food and then they proceed to grab some cereal, a biscuit, some crisps, a jar of sauce from the cupboard, some sausages or some fresh chicken fillets with a "marinade" out of the fridge, all are smothered in sugar and chemicals and are PROCESSED.
If its not a naked food item, it IS PROCESSED. They add sugar to everything! Then a load more chemicals to make these things addictive so that you will go and buy them again. If you don't understand the ingredients list and they sound like chemicals, then do not buy it. Real food equals real flavours, simple as that.
Its not easy but try it, you will feel healthier, happier and you will look much better. Your skin will glow, you will lose those few stubborn pounds and you will have much more energy.
Just try to aim for 90% good, 10% indulgences. I am no saint but this is the rule I live by. I am the first to admit that I am vain and concerned about keeping fit, healthy and well and this works for me. I do indulge in one too many glasses of the old truth juice from time to time but I make up for it by being good and exercising the rest of the time.
You only live once, make it count and remember that next time you think you are too busy or can't be bothered. You should be bothered.
More advice about essentials for your kitchen & some recipes can be found on my website www.mydeliciouslyhealthykitchen.com