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Thursday May 25, 2017

friesThe most common excuse for failing at fitness goals is “I’m too busy”. When the going gets tough in your personal and professional life, it is often exercise and nutrition that have to give way for other priorities. But what if I told you that healthy eating doesn’t have to take any longer than unhealthy eating? All it takes is a little preparation and some handy shortcuts:

Cook and freeze meals

This is the number 1 solution to fast food. I learned that I usually gave in to takeaways most often when I had no food in the fridge or was too tired to cook. After a long day at work, that last thing I wanted to do was go shopping, cook and then wash up.

When you are hungry your body is looking for fast energy. This is usually calorie dense fatty and sugary foods. Try cooking your meals in advance on a day when you have plenty of time. Research recipes online and plan a well-balanced and healthy diet for the week ahead. By doing this, your mind will proactively select healthy meals as you are thinking long term.

Buy a range of food containers or Tupperware tubs. You can use them to store food in the freezer. Most food can be frozen without spoiling but make sure to write the freeze date on the container. It is also useful to label the meal as it can sometimes be hard to identify once frozen.

I recommend only keeping frozen cooked meals for 1 month but here is rough guide on max duration:

Food Duration
Chicken, Turkey 4-6 months
Fruit 8 months
Steaks 6 months
Butter 6 months
Fish 6 months
Bread 3 months
Soups and Stews 2 months
Ham 1-2 months


Cooking in this way can also be much cheaper! Shop around and buy in bulk instead of going to the local store.

It also saves on washing up.  You only have to wash-up and put away once per big cook instead of after every meal.

By cooking this way, you can slowly build up a collection of “fast food” to turn to when you are out of time, food or energy. You can defrost overnight but defrosting in the microwave can usually be done in under 10 minutes. Just make sure to fully defrost all frozen food and ensure it is piping hot before eating.

Always have healthy snacks to hand

nutsSnacks are also a common downfall. It is usually you are out and about and might pop in to a gas station to pick up a bag of chips and a chocolate bar. “It’s only a little snack” you tell yourself. But did you know - that chocolate bar probably has more fat and sugar in it than a full healthy meal? Grazing on unhealthy food can quickly rack up the daily calorie count.

The answer to this is (again is) to plan ahead. Always have healthy snacks at home and make sure to take them when you leave the house. Work out what you plan on eating and carry them in a little food container. By planning ahead you can snack when you want to instead of letting your body crave that sugar that it is addicted to and then giving in to fast energy.

Suggestions for snacks:

  • Nuts
  • Fruit / Dried Fruit
  • Whole-wheat bread
  • Raw vegetables
  • Low fat yoghurt
  • 100% pure peanut butter
  • Boiled eggs
  • Ham
  • Chicken

This will also save you a ton of money over gas station junk!

When you do eat out – choose wisely

veggiesOccasionally you may decide to go out with friends to a fast food joint or restaurant. Eating out doesn’t have to be a sin. When people are faced with this situation, they often think “well if I’m going to eat out I may as well go crazy”. This mentality can set you back by a long way.

With a little bit of savvy calorie counting you can eat out and be healthy (and therefore do it more often).

  1. Choose healthy alternatives such as a McDonald’s salad (which is actually quite tasty!)
  2. Select a vegetarian option instead of saturated fat laden meats.
  3. Ditch the sides and deserts.
  4. Swap fizzy drinks for water or squash.
  5. Take calories into consideration when looking at the menu.

3 practical tips to avoiding fast food. Anybody can achieve the above and it will almost completely eliminate the causes for unhealthy food altogether.

Do you have any tips of your own? Please share with others in the comments.

About the author

alex robinsonAlex Robinson enjoys living, writing and sharing all things related to nutrition, diet, healthy foods and overall well being. You can learn more about various health topics he discusses over at listnutrition.com

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