Healthy Meal Preparation Hacks
Tips to Help you Keep Healthy Once Back at the Office
Love it or hate it, working from home has both positive and negative effects on our healthy eating attempts. On the one hand, the office provides you with a more structured routine, and only the meals you’ve brought with you from home get eaten, as opposed to having tonnes of snacks at your disposal when you get a little peckish. Your partner’s candy bar? That will do. Tomorrow’s lunch for today? That’s tomorrow’s problem. On the other hand, there’s always somebody’s birthday cake at the office. And if there isn’t there’s mass takeaway being delivered. Let’s be honest, being back at the office means that there is less time to prepare healthy meals, and it’s just easier to order delivery with everybody else. So, we’ve put together a list of tips, hacks, rules and meal ideas to help eat healthy as you (may or may not) return to the office.
Two simple yet important points to note before we get started:
1. Your meal plan needs to be one that you can easily prepare from before. So, if you fancy a full English breakfast to take with you to the office, maybe it’s better to pre-boil your eggs than try to fry them in the office microwave.
2. When preparing healthy meals for work you need to be flexible. Preparing from before means you need to have the ingredients ready. This might not always be possible when your roommate ate the last few slices of brown bread that you were saving for tomorrow’s lunch.
Organise your Meals into Food Groups
Our food is made up of macronutrients mainly carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Put VERY simply, food like bread, pasta, rice, fruit and vegetables are relatively high in carbohydrates.
Healthy fats are, as the name suggests, full of good fat and are found in foods like nuts and avocados.
Protein can be obtained from meat and fish sources such as poultry (chicken, turkey), seafood, beef, lamb, pork as well as egg white and tofu.
Each of these macronutrients plays a different role in the functioning of our body and is equally important, so in order to plan a healthy meal you need a balance of the above-mentioned food groups to live a healthy and balanced life.
Every person’s recommended macronutrient intake is different based on each person’s weight, goals, lifestyle, height, and activity level amongst other factors, so there isn’t a set rule of how much protein, fats and carbohydrates each person needs.
Top Tip: Know the Nutritional Value of Your Food
Remember that slice of bread that you wanted to take with you to work that your roommate ate? No problem. One slice of wholemeal bread is equivalent to eating 80g of wholemeal pasta. Your avocado sandwich just became an avocado pasta salad without losing any of its goodness.
Don’t have tomatoes to add to your salad? 75g of tinned chickpeas have roughly the same nutritional value as 1 medium tomato.
Did your avocado go ripe too quickly? You can substitute the 25g of avocado in your salad with 10g of walnuts.
Learning the nutritional components of the food you eat will help you substitute and change up your meal plans with ease.
The weight of food will change when cooked so make sure you’re not over or undercooking. Food like pasta, noodles, couscous, quinoa and rice double when they are cooked. So, if the recipe calls for 80g of cooked pasta, you only need to measure 40g of uncooked pasta, otherwise you will be doubling your portions!
Drink More Water at Work Top Tip
Infuse your water with apple and mint to get that sweet but fresh taste, adding some flavour to your water and helping you drink more.
Meal Prep Tips
Meal prep is the notion of preparing your meals beforehand so that they are ready when you’re hungry. This way you don’t need to rely on the food delivery services that have sprouted over the past couple of months. As convenient as meal prep can be it is important to:
• not leave pre-prepared cooked meals in the fridge for longer than 3 months
• not leave cooked rice in the fridge longer than a few days
• allow food to cool before freezing
• eat refrigerated cooked meals as soon as possible once out of the fridge
Quick Snack Ideas
• Mix the frozen berry of your choice with plain yogurt for a midday fruity snack.
• Dip an apple or banana in peanut butter and enjoy this lip-smacking snack.
• Nothing is simpler than a slice of brown bread with hummus and feta cheese.
• Strawberries and balsamic vinegar? Sign me up.
• Honey and feta cheese, yes please.