By Themis Chryssidis, 27th April 2017.
At Sprout we have a simple saying, “don’t rely on motivation to eat well, get organised.” Simple.
If you have your lunch packed you’re more likely to make a healthier choice, if you pack your work clothes before going to bed you’re more likely to go to the gym in the morning before work.
This simple principle holds true for the weeknight meal too. Let’s start by emphasising that you are not the first and you won’t be the last person to arrive home from work hungry, tired and just a little bit “over it” and instead of preparing a healthy home-cooked meal, you order take away and also crack open a bottle of wine while waiting for the delivery or pick up. BUT, just think how different that situation could have been if you were organised and had done some “meal prep”.
The key to healthy eating is putting yourself in a position where you can make a healthy choice. If, when you arrive home from work, you haven’t been shopping, have no idea what you are going to cook and you are starving, what are the chances of you preparing a healthy meal? Honestly.
If you want to change your eating habits you need to get organised. Below are our top tips for getting organised in the kitchen.
- Plan your meals. Know what you are going to eat and ensure you have all the ingredients you need to prepare the meal. Don’t burden yourself and waste your time with small frequent trips to the shops. Aim for one or two shops per week based off of your meal plan.
- Be flexible. Use components of meals over multiple nights. For example if you are going to make a delicious curry, make double the paste the next night use the paste as a marinate. Or if spaghetti Bolognese is a common meal in your household think about how you can use your mince mixture in other ways, tacos, Shepherd’s pie, chilli con carne or meat balls, the options are endless and the time saved is huge!
- Delegate. If you know you are going to get home late from work ask your partner or children (or anyone in the house) to get a few simple jobs done before you get home, for example “chop the vegetables” and “have the water boiling”.
- Spread the load. Cooking is not one person’s responsibility. When one person has to shoulder the entire cooking responsibility for the family it becomes a burden, they lose their love for cooking and produce uninspiring meals. Share the load realistically and allocate days of the week for various family members to prepare a meal. If you go to the gym on Tuesday or have after-hours work meetings on Wednesday then these are perfect days to handball the duties to someone else. This is also a great way to get kids in the kitchen and build their cooking skills and sense of responsibility.
- Complete “time-saving” tasks in advance, for example chop vegetables the day before or in the morning and store these in air tight containers or cling wrap.
- Get started:
Allocate a day of the week to write your meal plan.
While you’re writing your plan review your commitments for that week, so you don’t set yourself up for failure! For example don’t plan on cooking a roast if you get home from work at 7pm and want to eat by 7.30pm.
Allocate a weekly shopping day and stick to it! This day must be viewed as a priority. You can’t cook if you don’t have the produce and if you don’t shop you will be playing catchup for the rest of the week.
Make sure that meals that require fresh produce are consumed at the start of your meal cycle for example fish, that way you don’t need to go shopping again later in the week.