I was sitting at my desk at work about a week ago, (I do actually have a day job as Marketing Manager at Shimmy Beach Club in Cape Town believe it or not) my colleague’s dismay, I pulled out a red pepper and started munching on it. Our chef also later gave me the beady eye when I pulled out a pack of sesame rae-vita’s, and slapped some avo on that for lunch.  Healthy eating and planning is not for everyone, but if you are aiming to better your eating habits, or going simply wanting to loose a few kg’s, planning is the key.

“Failing to plan is planning to fail”

You see the thing is, if you want to be healthy and want to lose weight its important to know that your weight loss is 80% food and what you put in your body and 20% exercise. Just as you plan your training you should also plan your eating, because given above stats it should actually be priority.

Now, above scenario is what my lunch looks like mostly a combination of, fruits, protein, veg and nut/seed snacks. I also have a few green tea bags in case.

How should you build your lunch box for work, or anywhere else you are going? The basics are as follow, lets first get the timeline ready to see how much you would need: You need a snack every two hours. Every two yours would mean say you have a 9:00am to 5:00pm job you would technically have the following eating schedule:

The following is a great guideline in terms of carbs, In the morning I would focus on grainy carbohydrates and closer to dinner focus on veg based carbs such as pumpkin, butternut, sweet potato etc. In between we need gap fillers eg nut’s & fruit or meal replacement shake. I always go with a combo of both protein and carbs. Here is what you do, build your lunch box as an example:

Time Protein Carb/Veg Fuit Tip
09:00:00 Low fat plain yoghurt, raw almonds High Fibre bulk raw oats and fruit mix I plan by making myself a “breakfast” mix in the beginning of each month consisting of 1 large pack of Vital Rolled oats fruit and nut mixture, I add to that a box of Jungle oats, as well as a box of Oat Bran also by Jungle oats. I then add a pack of super food, goji berries usually. This lasts me the whole month and I mix it with plain yoghurt and a teaspoon of brown sugar every morning. I don’t eat processed food eg bread or high carb low nutritional value eg. Corn flakes, Coco Pops, Rice Crispies etc.
11:00:00 Raw Almonds, hand full of lean biltong etc. Green Apple, packet of snap peas, etc. I keep a packet of seeds or nuts in my drawer at work or in my car, gym bag etc. ready for a moment when I might need to fill a gap.  I also keep a great meal replacement shake handy in case. 
13:00:00 20g of any low fat protein Hand size portion of salad or veg This is self explanitory, this meal is always a bit bigger than the snacks. If you pre pack and make these meals on a Sunday you will have ready meals for the whole week.
15:00:00 Meal replacement shake or repeat of 11:00am Snacks can be anything small and healthy with high nutritional value and not empty calories. Stay away from smoothies with lots of fruit juice and carbs. Stick to more vegetable based drinks and smoothies
18:00:00 Avo/cheese Rae bread This snack is quite important because if you get home or go to the shops when you are hungry, you are more likely to over-buy or eat junk.

A few more tips I find very helpful in my everyday planning

  • Don’t keep junk food in your house (sweets, chips etc) if its there, you will eat it.
  • Don’t consume your calories in juice, stick to water
  • Be careful with smoothies they are more often than not loaded with hidden carbs and calories
  • Pack and freeze containers on a Sunday for the whole week, even dinners, that way you will have the right size portions readily available and no effort needed on busy days.
  • Set an alarm on your phone to prompt you when it is snack time, you will soon get into the habit of eating smaller more frequent meals.
  • Pack and plan the day before, for the next day

These are all small things but you will be amazed how a little planning can help you drop sizes and improve your over-all health in a flash. It really is as simple as getting into the habit.

Please do let me know if you have any questions and comments.