Plan, Prep and Be Mindful

So , you want a healthy food routine, but you have no idea what that looks like or how to implement it.  A ‘healthy food routine’ is a term that encompasses the entirety of your eating habits. This means the foods you buy, where you buy them from, when you prepare food  how you eat (at the table, in the kitchen, in a rush) , meal times, and even cooking habits and eating out schedules. It also means how mindful you are when you eat.

Planning your meals takes away the stress of having to figure out what you are going to eat for breakfast/lunch/dinner. Planning for meals also allows you to incorporate healthy eating within what you can afford. It is important to take into account your lifestyle/schedule/commitment. If you are not willing or do not have have time to make an elaborate healthy dish, then do not plan for that dish and buy groceries for that dish if it is unlikely or unrealistic for you to have or make that dish.

A good routine  should include schedules of as many of the the regular things as possible.  This will avoid decision fatigue.  All of the following should be scheduled in to your week:

  • Food planning
  • Food shopping
  • Food Preparation
  • Cooking time
  • Eating time
  • Eating out
  • Practising MINDFUL eating
  • Mouth hygiene after eating, especially at night.

So the amount of time and energy spent of these elements can vary on you.  Its your life, but here are some recommendations.

Not planning weekly food is really bad, especially  if you want to lose weight.  Because we are visual eaters and convenience eaters and we still genetically refer back to eating when we see food as a survival instinct, not planning will almost certainly mean that you eat when you feel like it rather too much

When it come to food shopping and food preparation, there are three major things to consider:

  1. The more time you make to spend on these planning and prep, the easier it will be to eat a healthy, balanced diet and the easier it will be lose weight.
  2. You can save time on shopping and prep with the food choices you make, but saving time will cost you more money.  (buying  oven ready meats and fish and ready made vegetable for your evening meal saves time buying and already grated cheese and diced onions for example save time when preparing your morning omelette, but cost more to buy).
  3. Saving time and spending more will almost certainly compromise on nutrient quality.

Now, obviously, the more ready prepared food you buy, the less prep time you will have. The issue here is that, in not buying single ingredient foods, you do not have control over what is in it.  Always check food labels and look out for carbohydrates and sugar levels and total calorie content.  This is where food tracking becomes really useful.  Keeping carbohydrates under 100 grams per daily should enable you to burn fat.



Establish A Food Routine

What we do know from lots of scientific research, based on real life studies is….

There is VERY little evidence to suggest that eating 6 meals a day compared to 3 will BOOST your metabolism.

There is also VERY little evidence to suggest that skipping breakfast will SLOW your metabolism.

So why do we recommend that establish a food routine? Well, we do know this….

There  is universal acceptance that the amount of calories you consume in a day affects your weight and there is a HUGE amount of research which says that skipping meals leads to HIGHER DAILY CALORIFIC INTAKE.

According to lots of studies, breakfast is really important and the chances are that if you skip breakfast, you will eat more calories in a day than if you eat a healthy breakfast.

It may seem counterintuitive, but skipping meals can actually hinder your weight loss. By skipping meals during the day you’re likely to become extremely hungry, which can lead you to make poor food choices or overeat later.  In addition, eating breakfast and the right foods can help you stay fuller longer.  This helps you stay on track for your weight loss goals.

Whether you’re filling up on fresh and free foods or enjoying a snack, it’s important to eat healthy snacks in between meals. The same principles that apply to skipping meals also apply to snacks; they keep you experiencing a dip in blood sugar (and energy),

If you’re just starting a planned weight loss program, you may be surprised at the sheer volume of food—meals, snacks, free foods and even desserts—that make up your daily plan. You may even feel that you’re eating too much!

But trust us: over time, eating more of the right things and less of the wrong things will help you distinguish between cravings (which typically pass in about 15 minutes) and real hunger.

If your meal plan calls for added vegetables or piece of fruit, don’t skip it! It’s an important part of your nutritional intake for that day.

Food Routine Elements

  1. Planning.  All good food routines start with planning.  So, either follow a food plan provided by a professional or take some time to make a food plan of your own.
  2. Preparation.  Make time to prep foods as much as you can.  Schedule this in to your diary.
  3. Tracking.  Make sure you track what you eat, but also why.  Find out if your poor meals are due to lack of preparation or if you have certain meal times where you eat poorly.
  4. Practice mindful eating.
  5. Brush your teeth after your evening meal
  6. Consistency is key.  Stick to the plan 6 days out of 7

How often should I eat?

his is a common question many people have when starting their weight loss journey.

You have got several options.

  • 3 meals and 3 snacks.  Evenly Spaced calories.  Regulated insulin and hunger

Your meal frequency should be spaced out and snacks at regular intervals, about 2-3 hours apart. Example: if you have breakfast at 7 a.m., you can enjoy a snack at 10 a.m., lunch at noon, your afternoon snack at 3 p.m. and dinner at 7 p.m and a night time snack before bed around 9-10pm.  Make sure your night time snack does not contain many carbohydrates (keep it under 20 grams) or your body will not burn fat in the night.

  • 2-3 meals and informal snacks

If you are never hungry at breakfast, don’t always force yourself to eat it.  Try it out but don’t worry if you can’t do it.  Get a snack mid morning or when your body wakes.  Eat 2 good sized meals but again limit your carbohydrate intake later in the day to prime your body for burning fat.

  • Time restricted feeding

Another food intake strategy that is gaining support is called Time-Restricted Feeding and we all do this to a certain extent (we don’t eat while we sleep).  This uses our bodies natural circadian rhythm and metabolism to help you achieve your weight loss goals. Essentially, there is a 12- hour nourishment period during the day to consume your daily calories. After that, your body goes into a 12-hour rejuvenation period. This rejuvenation period is especially important and beneficial to weight loss, as your metabolism naturally slows down at night. This is why late-night eating stacks the deck against you.  An example of eating timing could be that you start the day with breakfast at 7 am and finish eating all your meals by 7pm.  Brush your teeth straight away and get ready to burn fat all thought the night!


Picking a routine and sticking to it is going to be hugely beneficial for a number of reasons.

  1. Structure
  2. Consistency
  3. Control Hunger
  4. reduce over eating later in the day
  5. less likely to overeat during any one meal


How To Boost Your Metabolism

Metabolism is a term that describes all the chemical reactions in your body.

These chemical reactions keep your body alive and functioning.

However, the word metabolism is often used interchangeably with metabolic rate, or the number of calories you burn.

The higher it is, the more calories you burn and the easier it is to lose weight and keep it off.

Having a high metabolism can also give you energy and make you feel better.

Here are 10 easy ways to increase your metabolism.


It turns out that there is not really a way around this one; weight loss and healthy living require exercise. Your body needs it and your body will do more for you if you do more for your body.
The good news is that for the most part the mental mountain to get started on exercising is more difficult than the actual mountain to climb, and you will feel good after exercising and will have earned a break!

Accept that healthy food will taste like healthy food

I am sure that there are people out there who will tell you that their head of broccoli tastes just like a French fry and as you study this person’s face, he or she might look like he or she actually believes it. Then there are people who have the time and money to put into diversifying and tastifying* their healthy food and so they do not feel that eating healthily is all that bad.
When financial resources and time are limited, healthy eating will not be that diverse and more likely than not, healthy eating will not all be that tasty. Even when financial resources and time are not limited, healthy eating will still not taste like unhealthy eating.  Take that as a huge compliement to your decisions and enjoy letting your tastebuds develop a liking for healthy foods, most of the time.

The key here is to find a few healthy meals that you can eat easily, with little prep and with great regularity.  Read this post on the benefits of 15 healthy meals and 6 variables to learn more

Practise thorough mouth hygiene after eating!

After you eat, practice thorough mouth hygiene. Rinse your mouth with pre-brush mouthwash, brush your teeth, floss, and then use post-brush mouthwash. Make your mouth super clean.
Doing this serves two purposes:
1. You practice good hygiene and keep bacteria from getting too comfortable in their new home.
2. You deter further eating because of all the effort you have put into cleaning your mouth and because anything you eat after doing such a thorough cleaning will be minty fresh.

Don’t go places hungry!

The truth is, we are not our ideal, best- thinking, balanced selves when we are hungry. We overestimate how much we need to eat (“eat with our eyes”), we overeat, we eat things we shouldn’t eat, we say things we don’t mean, etc. Our primal instinct and drive to eat takes over and nothing else really matters.
So it is good to not go places hungry, even if there will be food at the place you are going to. Generally, it takes time for food to arrive at the table, for people to decide what they want to eat, for hosts to have things ready to roll, for social and interpersonal activities to take place, etc. which means that going hungry to any place makes you more likely to be irritable and on a one-track mind to get your physiological needs met. Going to places hungry also doesn’t support the best decision-making so it’s good practice to eat something before you go.

Why You Should Eat Before You Go Out

  • You’ll be in a better mood.
  • You’ll be practicing better decision-making.
  • You’ll be practicing portion control when it’s time to eat.
  • You’ll eat mindfully when it’s time to eat.
  • You’ll actually appreciate what you eat (instead of inhaling it).

Decide what your indulgence will be before hand!

Have you decided that you’re going to allow yourself some indulgence? Is it Christmas? Or the office potluck? Or the never-ending month of birthdays? Never fear. You don’t have to say “no” to everything (but be careful with saying “yes!”). As events come up, or as you decide that you will be allowing yourself some indulgence(s), it helps to decide and to know beforehand what you will be allowing yourself to have. One slice of cake? One scoop of ice cream with some toppings? Decide before you go to the event, don’t give it more thought after the decision is made, and stick to your decision when you go the event. Don’t give the indulgence more time, thought, or energy than it deserves and save your willpower for more pressing things.

Eat the healthy stuff first!

This one is for when you have decided that you are going to allow yourself some indulgence but do not want to overdo it and know that it is likely that you will because your willpower and self-control might give.

Make yourself eat the healthy food first, eat slowly, and drink lots of water. Give your body time to fill up on the good stuff before you reach for the desserts and chips, that way it will be physically uncomfortable for you to overdo it. This is a good plan for when your willpower gives. Your body will give you an unpleasant reminder that you are full and that you should stop eating! And the good part is that you are full of healthy food and that you still allowed yourself to have a little somethin’-somethin’ on the sweet side.

Maintain a food budget!

Accounting for calories required in normal and structured eating, while being mindful of the calories to come in unstructured or unplanned eating helps me to balance the calories that I am taking in. Evaluating if the food is something I want or if it is something I really want helps me to balance the budget and to determine if the unstructured or unplanned eating is something I will be having, and if I am having it, how much I will be having. In the same way that one only has so much money available to pay bills and to account for all the other expenses without having to turn to debt or to alternative financial resources, one only has so many calories available to spend without going into a caloric debt that results in caloric excess/breaking the budget. Keeping future caloric expenses in mind helps to keep the present caloric expenses in check.