It’s been a crazy day and the last thing you want to do is plan and prepare a meal. Here’s how to reduce the stress and stick to your nutrition goals.
It's been a crazy day, and the last thing you want to do is plan and prepare a meal. Staying on a healthy track may feel tough when living a busy life, but you can take the stress out of your schedule and stick to your goals by planning your meals.
When life gets super busy, skipping meals sometimes slips in. A busy schedule can make it hard to remember your last snack, let alone a meal. There are some cases in which skipping a meal may be part of the plan, such as intermittent fasting. But, if you're skipping meals because you're swamped, you may be missing out on nutrients and setting yourself up for snack attacks. And skipping meals can even affect your metabolism. So, let's take a look at how eating regularly can help regulate.
After eating, your body breaks down the food you ate and uses it as energy. When you miss out on meals, it can cause your blood sugar (your body's main source of energy) to decrease. This can lead to lower energy and increased hunger (1). These are the things you can do to keep your blood sugar steady and keep your energy up: plan your meals, eat wholesome, balanced meals, and eat snacks to fill up with energy every few hours.
When hunger comes on strong, it's tempting to grab a convenient snack food or resort to takeout and fast food. This is fine in moderation, but doing it too often can take a hit on your health. Eating home-prepared meals ensures you get a nutritious meal without any "hidden" calories, saturated fats, sugars, or salt that highly-processed foods often contain while providing more nourishing nutrients (2).
Ever skip breakfast and lunch and end up ravenous during dinner and beyond? When you skip meals, your body may feel deprived and want to overeat to make up for it. That's because your body is designed to help prevent you from starving. If you divide your meals throughout the day, your body can better use the energy and nutrients more efficiently and keep hunger hormones at bay.
Not only will meal planning help your health, but it will also help the environment. Did you know that one-third of the food made for human consumption is wasted (3)? By planning, cooking, and storing many of your prepared meals, you reduce food waste.
If you batch cook, and can't get through every meal you've prepped, try storing them in the freezer and saving them for another day. This saves on food waste, but it also helps you have a nutritious meal waiting for you when you're hungry and don't feel like cooking.
Learn more here: Meal Prep Done Right: 4 Tips and Tricks To Get You Started
When planning your meal or snack, it's all about focusing on balance, including various foods from the food groups. Balanced meals increase your chances of getting essential nutrients vital to your immunity and development. They can also support your body in fending off disease, increasing satiety, managing weight, and keeping you energized and strong (4).
Following a recipe works perfectly for some people and makes a disaster for others, especially if you're in a rush and don't have the ingredients you need. So rather than trying to tackle a complex meal, start simple.
Focus on one main component, for example, protein (tofu, fish, chicken, beans), then round out the rest of the meal with easy staples (such as frozen or fresh vegetables and whole grains). You can also choose some partially made ingredients from the store then build on them with fresh ingredients. For example, get some pre-cooked rice, then add beans and vegetables for a healthy bowl.
It may feel overwhelming to plan an entire day or week of meals. So take it slow and focus on what works for you in the long term. Search for support with a nutritionally balanced meal planning resource like the Lifesum app, which includes delicious recipes with easy-to-follow instructions and ingredients. You'll also be guided towards finding the best meal plan based on your personal preferences and goals!
All of the content and media on Lifesum is created and published for information purposes only. It is not intended to be used as a substitute for medical advice or treatment. Users should always consult with a doctor or other health care professional for medical advice.
All of the content and media on Lifesum is created and published for information purposes only. It is not intended to be used as a substitute for medical advice or treatment. Users should always consult with a doctor or other health care professional for medical advice. If you have or think you are at risk of developing an eating disorder, do not use the Lifesum app and seek immediate medical help.