Time and the lack off is one of the single biggest reasons people give me when I encourage them to engage in healthy eating practices. It’s often seen as the ultimate defence when it comes to challenging current behaviours .An almost ever present roadblock to encouraging the introduction of a new approach. After all if someone is working a 50 hour week and has 3 kids, you can’t exactly say he or she is twiddling their thumbs and can take up a new hobby. Here are examples of some common statements.
“I don’t have enough time to eat healthy”
“I work long hours... I'm exhausted when I get home the last thing I want to do is cook”
“It’s easy for my friends they all know how to cook, it takes me too long to make anything nice”
“I often just go on the fast food app and 30 mins later it’s here, it would take ages to go the shops”
As opposed to trying to make more time when you patently don’t have it, try and challenge the concept that engaging in healthy eating behaviours takes more time. More importantly that eating non-healthy food saves you time!
Here’s a sample daily scenario that I've come across frequently and see if you can draw any parallels with your own daily routine.
You go for your morning coffee and pastry, the queue is always reminiscent of a Croke Park Springsteen concert but you don’t care because it’s your morning ritual and you can’t start the day without it. You grab lunch at the deli close enough to work, it drives you nuts that it takes so long to make a sandwich especially when you only really have 30 mins and it’s a 5 minute walk back and forward., it works out cheaper to go for the meal deal and it’s those handmade crisps with the soft drink option today, so grand. You've got a big meeting at 4 and you're feeling a little lethargic, so you head down to the vending machine to grab a quick snack, your choices range from a bounty to a mars bar. You go with the bounty. The meeting drags on and you get home at 8, there is nothing in the fridge and you just saw a leaflet that came through the letterbox for a family deal pizza meal for 15 euro.There’s only one of you, but those deals would never feed a real family! It takes about 50 mins because they were busy. You always think it should be free if they are 30 mins late just like in the states.
The first thing to actively challenge is “is this an efficient use of your time” Regardless of the cost both financially and in terms of your general health, this model if repeated over a daily,monthly, yearly basis is basically draining your most valuable resource... time.
The following is a rough estimate of time wasted waiting, queuing etc. for something that in terms of the person's goals is more of a hindrance than a help.
Lunch = 20 mins
Snack= 10 mins
Dinner= 50 mins
100 minutes is a sizeable chunk of a day and if you were in a position to half that time while consuming wholesome, nutritious food that aids your goals it would seem like a no-brainer!
The following is to show you the power of simple preparation in both alleviating your time constraints and aiding your goals to help you improve your performance, body composition and general health.
Sample Healthy Fast Food Day
Breakfast: Rocky Road Oats
Preparation Time: 90 seconds
How to make:
Place the following in a bowl
80+ cocoa chocolate
Then add milk, water, yoghurt of your choosing.
Lunch: Super Salmon Rolls
Preparation Time: 3 minutes
How to make:
Pop the following into a bowl and mix together;
Then pop in a wrap of your choice.
Snack: Smooth C
Preparation Time: 90 seconds
How to make:
Pop the following in a nutribullet or blender:
Walnuts, cashew, Brazil nuts
1 scoop of chocolate protein powder
Dinner: Steak with Tri-Colour Potato Salad
Preparation Time: 6 minutes
How to cook:
Flash fry a steak with a teaspoon of olive oil and garnish with black pepper
Microwave a sweet potato for 4-5 mins cut open and place:
Sprinkle whole cheddar cheese,
Few dollops of natural yoghurt shavings of a avocado
Serve on a large bed of spinach
12 minutes preparation time is all it takes for 4 well rounded nutritious meals and snacks that will contribute to performance, body composition and your sense of general well-being. By preparing your own food you are not only taking control of your food choices you're empowering yourself to make healthy decisions. (Even if you did a shop the day before as opposed to a bulk shop, all the ingredients required would take less than 10 mins to grab, and the convenience of how accessible your local shop is will determine whether you buy in bulk to save more time.)
Simple, wholesome food can be delicious but more importantly is often the most time efficient way of providing you with what you need on a daily basis. If your goals are to lose fat, increase muscle and improve your energy levels making small changes to your daily routine can make a big improvement to your general health. Making your own lunch 2-3 times a week is an excellent starting point and you will be surprised at how much cheaper, hassle free and energy boosting having a well prepared meal can be.
Challenge your own preconceptions about healthy eating. You don’t have to make the time to eat healthy and you don’t have to make much effort. If you embrace even the most minimal preparation you will have more time with the added bonus of looking, feeling and being more healthy.
Time is on your side.