Priority (noun.): a thing that is regarded as more important than others.
By definition only a limited number of things in life can be a priority. Everything else can only be afforded a limited amount of focus, time and energy.
What has this got to do with your nutrition?
To optimise your nutrition for where you are in life right now you need to:
a) understand where nutrition is in your priority list; and
b) know what your nutrition priority is.
Part b) can alternatively be phrased as knowing your nutrition goal. I addressed this in my recent blog ‘Why, not What’. The focus of this blog is part a). In other words, where is nutrition in your life right now?
Being honest about this is important because it tells you how much attention you are willing and able to devote to your nutrition at this moment in time. We might think nutrition is our priority and want to source the very best of ingredients and cook fresh three times a day. However, if we are chasing that promotion at work, training for our next sports event, and spending time with family then nutrition may only be fourth (or lower) in the priority list. No matter how much we understand it’s importance for health and performance. And this means we won’t devote significant time to it.
At first read this might sound like all is lost, or that this is a criticism. It isn’t. There is no right or wrong (at least within the bounds of law and human decency!!) as to what should be our priority. And knowledge is power. If we recognise that nutrition cannot be our top priority right now, but we still want to – as far as possible – eat for our goals, we plan for it. The outcome might not be ‘perfect’ nutrition, but it is going to be some way towards it and that may be more than good enough for now!
If you have the funds (they cost a pretty penny!), you could consider a meal delivery service such as Keyto foods, Natural Fitness Foods, Nourish or Fresh Fitness Foods. They deliver fresh wholefood meals straight to your door, and all you need to do is (potentially microwave) and eat! Upfront investment of maybe 10 minutes of time and you are done!
Just remember protein, fats, carbs, fruit / veggies. At every meal get a handful of each. Whether you are buying out, getting takeout, or picking up a ready meal seek this out. Your supermarket pizza is topped with cheese and veggies? Walk three steps to the deli meat aisle and pick up a pack of cooked chicken for added protein. Your pret sandwich doesn’t have veggies? Pick up a fruit salad with it.
Online supermarket shopping. This one does take an initial investment of 1-2 hours, but then approx. 5 mins a week thereafter! Make and save a favourites shopping list on Ocado / Tesco / Sainsburys / other online supermarket and re-order each week. When you make that list include a range of protein, fats, carbs, veggies and fruit so you know you more or less hit all food groups for health. If you are short on cooking time or don’t know when you will be home and don’t want rotting fresh food in your fridge, buy frozen and cupboard goods. Nothing wrong with frozen fish and meat you can throw straight in the oven, frozen fruit and veggies, and microwavable rice and grains!
This is just a few ideas, and there are more out there! Having go to lists of healthy choices at your favourite restaurants, having a routine for where you eat each day of the week for variety and so on. It is about finding what works for you, for where nutrition is in your list of life priorities right now … that is the key to success!