Streamline Your Food Intake
Episode #4 of the course Streamline your life to have more time for what matters by Liz Huber
I’m sure that food isn’t exactly the first thing you think of when it comes to making life more efficient, but eating is one of the few activities we do every single day. So naturally, it is full of inefficiencies like:
• wasting time in line for takeout
• multiple trips to the grocery store because you forgot something
• spending hours preparing simple meals for yourself
Makes sense? Then let’s go!
Let’s start with determining which of your eating habits you want to streamline:
• What are your eating habits for breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner?
• Which of these habits do you want to keep unchanged (e.g., dinner with the family)?
• Which of these habits are associated with feeling “robbed of time” or “stressed out” (e.g., standing in line, pointless lunch meetings, etc.)?
If you think it’s impossible to eliminate eating, U.S. startup Soylent will make you think again. Their slogan, “Let us take a few things off your plate,” couldn’t be more spot-on for a company that sells meal-replacement drinks. Their “ready to drink” products come in different flavors and provide a complete meal (each drink contains 400 calories, 20g of protein, and 20% of your daily nutrient requirements).
The only thing more efficient is not eating at all. ;)
If eliminating your eating doesn’t appeal to you, you can use these suggestions to make your meals as efficient as possible:
Plan your meals for the entire week to save time researching and deciding when, where, and what to eat. If you are cooking for yourself, you can make your own meal plan or use a service like Prep Dish to get it done for you.
Shop all the ingredients for your meal plan in one go on the weekend.
Never enter the grocery store without a shopping list. Bonus Tip: Organize your list by section (meat, vegetables, dairy, etc.) so you are in and out in no time.
Use smart cooking shortcuts by buying pre-cut vegetables, roasted chicken, ready-to-eat salad, hummus, and pre-cooked grains.
Limit yourself to a set of fast and tasty default recipes during the week. This saves time and mental energy on decision making, ingredient shopping, and recipe research.
Always cook in big batches so you can eat for several days or freeze the rest for later (freeze in portions!). Having a few ready-to-eat meals in the freezer can be a great time-saver on stressful days.
Meal-prep on Sundays to save time, money, and unnecessary distractions during the week. Prepare your meals in separate containers, and just grab them out of the fridge in the mornings.
Get your take-out in off-times (before 12 pm or after 2 pm) to avoid the lines.
Combine lunch with a quick catch-up with a team member to skip your meeting later that day. Invite your entire team in order to catch multiple birds with one stone.
Rethink stressful, time-consuming, and low-value lunch meetings: Schedule a “Skype Lunch” with people far away from your office, swap lunch meetings for a quick coffee to keep it short, and decline invitations that are neither relevant nor enjoyable for you.
As you might have guessed, automating your eating is not really possible. However, there are two strategies you can use that come close:
Automate the decision about what to eat by eating the same meal every day or rotating three to four different weekly meal plans. If you are eating out, limit your choices to a couple of take-out places and restaurants around your office that fit your criteria (e.g., fast service, suitable for lunch meetings, healthy and inexpensive food, etc.).
Use “set it and forget it” cooking tools like your oven and slow cooker.
Finally, let’s look at ways you can outsource anything food related so you only need to eat!
Buy your groceries online, and have them delivered to your home at a specific time. Save the items you always need in your account so you can re-order them easily.
Use meal subscription services like Freshly to get healthy meals delivered straight to your office. If you prefer to cook yourself, use sites like HelloFresh to outsource your shopping and get ready-to-cook meal kits delivered.
Hire a personal chef or nanny to cook for you and your family.
Hire an assistant to get your favorite take-out, do the shopping, or create meal plans.
Take Action Today: Bring your own lunch tomorrow and see how it makes you feel!
Tomorrow, we’ll have a look at how you can apply the five-step process to your information intake!
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