5 key meal preparation secrets
Eating a healthy, balanced diet can often feel like a challenge. Sometimes the temptation to eat high sugar high fat foods is too much to turn down. When it comes to food choices, the key is to be prepared.
Eating 5 portions of fruit and vegetables daily provides you with a good source of vitamins and minerals, including folate, vitamin C and potassium. However, in order to manage our nutritional needs, we need to understand the role of essential nutrients. Different types of fruits and vegetables contain different combinations of important nutrients, like fibre and vitamins, which our bodies need to stay healthy1. For instance, substituting starchy potatoes with brown rice – which is rich in magnesium – helps produce energy from protein and carbs. Additionally, sweet potatoes are high in carbohydrates and loaded with beta-carotene (vitamin A) and vitamin C.
Prepare in batches
Once you know what foods to eat, it’s time to learn how to prepare them. King of preparation Joe Wicks aka The Body Coach is a firm believer in cooking in batches, saying: ‘For many people, one of the biggest obstacles on their health and fitness journeys is 'time'2.’
Use the weekend to cook up your weeks breakfasts, lunches and dinners and make the freezer your friend. Having food ready in the week will not only ensure you're eating the right foods but will free up time and you can enjoy the benefits for the rest of the week.
It's all too easy to reach for a bag of crisps or grab a chocolate bar for a mid-afternoon pick me up – that’s the beauty of convenience foods. However, it is possible to retrain your snacking habits. Try a handful of walnuts; a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids. Alternatively, try eating a rice cake with banana slices and peanut butter. This contains both fibre and protein and is packed full of flavour.
Making your own snacks will also save you money. Deliciously Ella’s energy balls – containing dates, almonds and chia seeds - are not only great tasting but are filled with gut-friendly nutrients. Try out the recipe here.
Meat, fish, eggs and beans are all good sources of protein, which is vital for the body to grow and repair itself. Meat is a good source of vitamins and minerals, including iron, zinc and B vitamins.3 It is also a fantastic source of vitamin B12. Lean cuts of meat like skinless chicken and turkey breast are perfect for a healthy stir-fry.
The weekly shop
Eating fresh and organic produce every day is near impossible for many people. While we might strive to eat fresh produce, it’s important to remember frozen alternatives can be just as good and in some cases, even better. And, if you feel you’re needing to top up on essential nutrients, a multi-vitamin supplement like Seven Seas Perfect7 Woman can top you up by providing a range of vitamins, minerals and essential omega-3 fatty acids.