In my practice, I am often asked for a list of best foods to eat for a range of health goals, whether it is for weight loss, for improved energy levels, for better blood sugar (glucose) management amongst the most requested.
A lot of the time, I would discuss with my client HOW s/he eat even before WHAT are the more suitable choices or 'best foods'. Picture this scenario: It is 6 am. The alarm has just gone off and you hopped into the shower thinking about the day ahead - meetings, reports, school drop off, laundry and the leaking tap. Before you know it, you are all dressed and boiling water for coffee. You then prepare breakfast for the family and getting the kids out of their beds. After much persuasions (or screaming, and in between packing lunches), children are up and getting ready. One look at the clock and it is already time to leave the house so to beat the traffic. But wait!! Where is your breakfast? Did you even had a chance to THINK about breakfast in the shower. I doubt so. And we haven't even gone to lunch (what lunch) yet.
HOW we plan our meals is as important as to WHAT we eat. Thinking ahead is half the battle won when it comes to changing any habits, eating habits included. It is quite hard to choose suitable food when you finished the day's work (in the office or at home) only to find the fridge/pantry completely void of the good food your body need.
I particularly like the Food based dietary guidelines from Brazil (1), especially the following two guidelines (out of 10 Guidelines):
Guideline 5. Eat regularly and carefully in appropriate environments and, whenever possible, in company
Guideline 8. Plan your time to make food and eating important in your life
One of guidelines stated 'Plan your time to make food and eating IMPORTANT in your life'.
We all make time to service our cars, make time for a hair cut because we consider those important tasks. With modern life, a lot of us can be time poor. Some of my strategies include:
1) Try to set aside some time during the quieter time of the year to collate a collection of 'go-to' recipes. Include seasonal variation. Have a recipe journal if it helps you.
2) Have a list of healthy pantry staples which can easily be ordered online to save the grocery shopping. Some sites may even have a function to create a 'favourite list' to save even more time.
3) Explore ready-to-use meals available from supermarket and add additional vegetables or salads during serving
4) There have been some promotion of home delivery meal kits. This maybe a good option so you can cook at home but the chopping and cleaning are done for you. You don't even need to come up with any recipes! If you are game, you may make your own meal kit. Do a bulk meal kit run once a month and freeze. This way, you never run out.
There are many ways to establishing healthy habits. Planning ahead is definitely one of them.