MEAL PREPARATION AND ROUTINE DURING LOCKDOWN

Now we are not physically at Uni or work, it is really important we establish a routine that works and enables us to perform as best we can both in work and with our own personal fitness goals. I will be the first to admit I struggled during the first week of remote working, my exercise and work routine was extremely inconsistent and a bit all over the place. I assume a lot of people were in the same boat and even if you are still struggling to nail down some sort of routine, don’t worry it’s completely normal. 

Now more than ever we need to accept mentally that we won’t be able to do the things we love doing for the foreseeable future and find new ways to work towards our goals. If you haven’t already read it Rikki’s article about routine really helped me re-focus.

During that first week I prepped a grand total of zero meals and just ate as and when I saw fit, which for anyone that knows me will know I normally have most of my main meals ready and eat at similar times each day. The first weekend of lockdown, I set aside some time to prep my meals for the coming week and just by knowing roughly what I’m going to be eating and when, I have managed to establish a good routine that works for me in all other aspects of my life. 

Do not underestimate the power small habits can have in finding an everyday routine that works for you. Below are three tips that can hopefully help you get back on track.

1 SET ASIDE SOME TIME

Set aside a specific time that you are going to use to either plan or cook the meals you are going to be consuming the following week. If you’ve blocked out time in your schedule, you are much more likely to use that time efficiently. I find either Sunday mornings or afternoons work for me and it is one less thing to worry about come Monday. Playing it by ear never really works for me and I will always find something else to do which then leaves me no time to prepare for Monday and 9 times out of 10 I’ll then end up spending most of my lunchtime queuing at the CO-OP and with the two metre distancing, that’s time and risk I don’t want to expose myself to.

2 FIND EASY MEALS THAT CAN BE COOKED IN BULK

You don’t want to spend your entire Sunday cooking michelin star meals for the week, so find easy dishes that you can make 4-5 servings from with relatively little effort. My go to meals are normally some form of chilli, which is a case of chucking all the ingredients into a pan and then relaxing while it cooks. That will normally be my lunch, then I will chuck some fish and vegetables in the oven for my dinner, again this is just a case of seasoning and then chucking in the oven until it’s done.  While they are cooking I will prepare my breakfasts for the next couple of days which are always overnight oats. All you need is oats, protein powder, milk & some mixed berries. The oats then soak up all the flavour of the protein & mixed berries and it’s good to eat hot or cold in the morning.

So within about  60-90 minutes I have 5 lunches, 5 dinners and a couple of breakfasts ready to go. Just think, you would probably easily spend that amount of time during the week queing up for your favourite baguette from Andres. You’ll know exactly what is in your meals, save time, save money and most importantly be pushing towards your fitness goals quicker.

3 KEEP IT VARIED

One of the most common reasons for giving up on goals is boredom, if we don’t enjoy it; we will simply just stop doing it over time. So make sure when you are making your meals you keep it varied week to week and make smart swaps to keep it interesting. 

If you always have brown rice with your meals, swap it for quinoa or sweet potato, if broccoli is your go to for greens, swap it for peas or spinach, if you always have chicken, swap it for fish or beef. Even if you do not want to mix up the ingredients, you can easily change the taste of a meal by swapping up the spices, try spicy cajun chicken or opt for a herby chicken with garlic. There are endless possibilities when it comes to creating meals, and it’s all about finding what you enjoy and what works for you. 

There is quite simply no breakfast, lunch & dinner meal combo that would work for every single person and if i said to you to eat the overnight oats for breakfast, chilli for lunch and fish and veg for dinner, 95% of you would not be able to stick to that for longer than a week or two. That works for me and that’s what I enjoy, but it doesn’t mean you have to. 

I hope you find some comfort in this article that even if you haven’t got your head around finding a routine at home, you are not alone. Start with small habits and build on them daily until you find the right balance for you. 

Please do feel free to contact me directly via email if you have any questions or even if you just want to chat. Now is a time for everyone to come together, stay healthy and stay safe.

LEE MCCANNY – PERSONAL TRAINER

TO COMPLEMENT YOUR NUTRITION DON’T FORGET WE DELIVER FREE DAILY FACEBOOK LIVE CLASSES, AND HAVE A LOAD OF OTHER AT HOME FITNESS RESOURCES FOR YOU.