Marketing has a lot to answer for. Food is advertised as “Ready in a few minutes”, “Great for busy mums”, “For time-pressured people”, “For snacking on the go”. The implication is that we are all too busy to prepare and sit down to eat real food, and we must believe it, based on the number of cabinets dedicated to ready meals in supermarkets these days.
Fetch a piece of paper and a pen. Write down how you spend a typical day – getting up, showering, watching TV, checking Facebook and Twitter, chatting, reading magazines, painting your nails, gaming…..? Then take a look at your list and tell me whether every activity you’ve written down is a productive or necessary one.
Healthy food doesn’t take hours to prepare. It can take a few minutes – you could assemble a salad, grill some meat, create a stir fry, make an omelette or scramble some eggs. Or heat up a portion of something wholesome you’ve prepared in advance and frozen. None of those things will take much longer than the time you spend watching a ready meal rotating in a microwave. Or put something in the oven to cook and go and do something else while it’s cooking.
And remind yourself that even healthy-sounding ready meals are never going to be nutritious. A dish of “prime beef with country garden vegetables” is going to be made with poor cuts of meat and processed vegetables with depleted nutrients. And a calorie counted, low fat, or “lite” ready meal is very unlikely to be a healthy option – remember that healthy eating is not about how few calories you eat, it’s about the amount of nutrients to be found in your food.
Make sure you’ve got the necessary ingredients in the house for quick, nutritious meals (have them delivered if you don’t have time to go shopping) and don’t believe those marketing campaigns that are designed to persuade you that you don’t have time to prepare real food.
This blog post is adapted from a chapter of “What’s Your Excuse for Not Eating Healthily?” – if you enjoyed it you can buy the book here