As you will know life is extremely busy for me right now, so I was delighted when the lovely Rachel offered to share her tips on how she stays on track with her diet and balances a full time career with a long commute. As someone who used to spend two hours a day on the road, I know for a fact it can become rather testing and when you come home from a long day the last thing most of us feel like is setting aside a hour or so to make dinner.
Take it away Rachel…
Hello! I’m Rachel and I blog over at The Inelegant Wench about all things food, life and love. I’ve been a long time fan of Katie and this blog, so I am very honoured she’s letting me guest post today for you. Recently Katie posted about fast fitness and lifestyle tips which I found really useful. I work full time and have a very hefty commute, which doesn’t leave me with all that much time spare, yet I am trying my best to still eat healthily and workout regularly to look after myself. I thought that I could share some of the ways I manage to still eat (relatively) healthily during the week without spending all night in the kitchen.
Without meaning to sound like your mother, you must always eat breakfast! It’s far too easy to think of the extra 15 minutes in bed, but if you eat a good breakfast it’ll kick start your metabolism into working well for the day. I’m a porridge addict, and always mix up my easy porridge recipe the night before to sit in the fridge, soaking up all the milk and becoming extra creamy. In the morning all I then have to do is stick it in the microwave for 3 minutes whilst I make a drink and pack my bag. One quick, easy, nutritious breakfast which will help to keep you full til lunch.
The key to not heading to the work canteen every day for lunch is to get prepared. If I have a salad on a weekend I will always make triple the amount of everything and pop it in lunch boxes in the fridge. As long as you only add the dressing as you eat it, everything still stays nice and fresh. Soup is another good meal to make for work as it will include no nasty preservatives, and can be tailored to your exact taste (or spice level if you’re like me and like things spicy!). I use my slow cooker to make soups, as you can pop everything in it before you go to bed/to work and when you get back everything will be well cooked ready to blend. I shared my slow cooker carrot and butternut squash soup recipe on my blog last winter if you’re interested. Once the soup is portioned off and cooled it can go in the freezer until you want it which makes it the ideal busy person work lunch.
(not dinner as I’m a northerner living with a southerner, that word is now banned in our house due to confusion over whether we mean the evening meal or midday meal!)
This is another meal where your freezer is king. Whenever I make a meal like chilli, curry or stew, I always make enough for at least 4 people so I can freeze the leftovers in foil trays like those in the picture. It tends to be weekends where I cook in bulk, but if I’m busy at a weekend I just pick whichever day in the week I’m least busy and do a big meal then. It doesn’t take that much longer to cook the extra portions and it means that one day next week all you have to do is microwave something which is nutritious and healthy. The bonus of using the foil trays is that you can write on the lids, and not just what the meal is, you can jot down the calories, macros, points, syns, anything you like to make your life much easier on a rushed day.On days when you haven’t got anything left in the freezer and need to eat quickly to avoid the lure of the take-away, stir fries are the way to go. If you grab a pack of pre-cooked prawns and pre-cut stir fry veg from the supermarket you can fry it up with some egg and soy sauce super quick when you get home and have a healthy meal in less time than ordering a pizza. Another super quick tea I like is courgetti with my easy tomato sauce as that only takes about 20 minutes to whip up. Slow cookers are another life saver – I mentioned earlier that they’re brilliant for doing soups, but for a very fast tea which will always give you leftovers for the freezer is a basic stew. In the morning dump a load of frozen stewing veg into the slow cooker, add your meat and some rinsed pearl barley and cover in stock/gravy. Lid on, off to work and when you get home you’ve got an amazing smelling stew. Added bonus of using your slow cooker is that you can buy the really cheap cuts of meat as the slow cooking makes them really tender. I hope you’ve enjoyed this post, let me know over on twitter @inelegantwench if you’ve got any other tips and tricks I should know about and a huge thank-you to Katie for letting me take over her blog for the day! Rachel x
I always like to hear your fast, healthy, food tips so please feel free to share any hints, tips or recipes and I’m 100% with Rachel on overnight oat’s for breakfast (my staple right now). I’d love it if you nipped across to Rachel’s fabulous space on the internet and said hello!