A pathway to a healthier you

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Make meals easy

Many of us struggle to prepare and cook nutritious meals. In the era of ‘food on the go’ and easy, convenient take away meals, it’s challenging to find the time and energy to plan and eat healthy food, especially when you’re a nurse or midwife working rotating shifts.  

Time-poor, instant snacks

Elias, an RN with two young children, found it hard juggling family, work, and eating healthily. Being time poor, he would often eat meals from the cafeteria, or snack on food from the vending machine at work.  

“It started to become an issue when I realised how much I was spending on take away food. With the increasing costs of living, I knew I had to be savvier with my food budget. I also felt tired and irritable a lot, and had energy crashes through the day, which I knew was likely a result of not eating well.”

Plan and prepare to make meals easy

We spoke to Dr Tetyana Rocks, dietician and senior researcher at the Food and Mood center, about strategies for making simple easy meals. 

“Planning and preparing are the keys. We are all much less motivated when we are fatigued, so finding time to prepare or plan your meals in advance is critical. Food preparation doesn’t have to be boring! Try involving your family or friends, exploring new food ideas, or simply thinking about all the money you save by being prepared”. 

Save money, eat healthy

With the support of his partner, Elias began spending 1 day a week doing meal prep for his upcoming shifts. He got his children involved, which allowed him to spend more time with them too. At first, he found it difficult implementing the new plan, but over time he got used to it and it became a normal part of his routine. His grocery bills also went down. 

I shaved a significant amount of money off my food bill, and I felt much better eating less take away and processed food. I made one pot meals that could be frozen and eaten as leftovers.

Research backs up that eating healthier can cost less. A Deakin university study showed that: 

Those who received support to eat a Mediterranean-style diet had lower overall costs... food costs for this group were estimated at $26 dollars per week lower than what they would have normally been spending on food before they started the trial….Overall healthcare costs were $856 lower.

Follow these simple tips to eat healthier:

  • Schedule meal prep for a day or 2 each week
  • Keep meals simple, healthy and easy 
  • Prepare meals with family or friends – it’s fun and can keep you accountable  
  • Cut up vegetables at the start of the week to save time when making a stir fry, casserole, or soup. 
  • Have breakfast ready to go the night before to save time-think overnight oats with nuts and seeds, yoghurt and berries, or boiled eggs.