The easy way to eat healthily
Research has shown that intense dieting fads can actually lead to weight gain and the best way to eat healthily might be easier than you think.
Recent studies have shown that spending more time on food preparation at home is statistically linked to healthier eating. While meal preparation may seem like an obvious solution to unhealthy eating, I find that a lack of organised eating patterns is a strong barrier to weight-loss for a majority of my clients. So, let's take a look at what you can do to better plan your diet.
This all comes down to preparation. Do a weekly shop. I repeat, do a weekly shop.
There is no better way to organise what, how much, and how often you eat than doing a weekly shop. We all know how poor our decision-making can be when we’re sluggishly dragging ourselves through the supermarket looking for something easy to cook after a long day at work. It comes as no surprise that all our good intentions go out the window at these times.
Making healthy choices
The most obvious place to start is by making healthy choices in your weekly shop.
When you organise food for the week, you will instinctively lean towards choices that you know are better for your health or ones that will help you achieve fitness and weight-loss goals. Guidelines across the world point out that eating more vegetables, more whole grains, less processed food, and limiting meat portions lead to healthier people.
It can be difficult to remember these guidelines when you’re trying to make a lifestyle change so sitting down to plan your weekly shopping list will provide you with the time to assess your choices.
You can use the ‘Healthy Eating Plate’ from the Harvard School of Public Health as a guideline when choosing your groceries and to help you eat healthily.
If you are looking for a little more help with your healthy eating choices get in contact with Mark Briant (@marksmunch). His inclusive ethos towards food is perfect.
Controlling your portion size
Portion control is key when you choose to eat healthily and manage your weight. However, portion control is often one of the hardest parts of a healthy lifestyle. A weekly shop provides a self-imposed limit on the amount of food you cook for each meal. When you pre-plan your meal, you will likely buy the right amount of ingredients for that meal.
This creates a really easy method of portion control as well as a natural and, most importantly, sustainable diet.
I promise you, this works. Jack and I both have a tendency to overeat. We love food! However, once we started doing a weekly shop it didn’t even feel like portion control. It was just the right amount of food to eat.
Diversity helps you eat healthily
Doing a weekly grocery shop allows you to rationally decide what you would like to eat for the week. This can lead to eating a more diverse diet, including more vegetables and whole grains, as well as expanding your repertoire of recipes. When you make a habit of writing down your meals for 7 days, you end up choosing food and cuisine that don’t overlap.
Healthy eating should be a lifestyle and ensuring that the food you’re eating is diverse will help you to not grow bored of repetitive choices and give up on eating healthily.
While cutting out tasty treats is a terrible idea (I love a bit of chocolate) most of us tend to indulge too often and too much. Regularly going to the shops puts you right in the firing line of well-placed unhealthy choices.
The chocolate bars that surround you in the supermarket queue and the ever-present bakery aisle are difficult to avoid, especially if you have to force yourself to eat healthily. Your weekly shop allows you to list exactly what you’re looking for and focus on the food that’s better for you in the long run.
You can even avoid going to the supermarket entirely by opting to have your food delivered.
When we were in London we used Riverford Organic Farmers for our food deliveries.
Food waste is a serious problem with 4.5 million tonnes of edible waste thrown out each year in the UK.
Planning your meals allows you to understand what might be left over from one meal and incorporate this information into next week’s shopping list. For example, you might not want to use a whole cauliflower on Monday, but the rest can be used for the meal you plan on Wednesday. Not only will this save you money, it will also reduce your consumption and benefit the environment.
It really is that simple. Do a weekly shop. It doesn’t require superhuman willpower or having to meal prep a week's worth of food to eat healthily. All it takes is a little bit of forethought and some organisation. You’ll even find that this helps you save some time every week that you could put towards a workout.