No matter what anyone says, teachers have a super, tough job. With all the grading, planning, meetings and student management, it is no wonder that us teachers have little time, energy or motivation left over to prepare healthy, nutritious meals everyday. Below you will find a few simple tips that have helped me to maintain a relatively stable and healthy diet, despite the stressful workload!
1- Do your shopping on Sunday. Teaching isn’t the typical 9-5 job that you get to walk away from at the end of the day and forget all about. Our afternoons and evenings generally entail, grading, planning and organizing. I do all my grocery shopping on Sunday with the intention to avoid the supermarket for the rest of the week, unless I’m absolutely desperate. This saves me countless hours of making last minute supermarket runs each afternoon and reduces the risk of bumping into parents, students and work colleagues, which takes up more of my valuable time.
2- Plan your nightly meals. Get out the recipe books and make yourself a meal schedule for every night of the week. Keep it as simple as possible, create meals that don’t need a lot of prep time and don’t require heaps of special ingredients. I also like to pick meals that won’t make a stack of dishes, although sometimes this is unavoidable! Make a list of all the items you will need in order to prepare these meals each night.
3- Make the most of your freezer. Freezers are an invaluable tool when is comes to preparation and organisation. Meats, especially are easy to freeze and therefore I usually freeze the meats that I won’t be using until Wednesday or later. I also freeze any leftovers for use over the upcoming weeks.
4- Ziplock bags. Cut up a range of fruit and vegetables, such as carrots, broccoli, capsicum, cherry tomatoes, kiwi fruit, pears and apples, every Sunday. Then distribute them evenly into ziplock bags so that you have enough get you through the work week. Make sure you push all the air out of the bags before sealing them completely and placing them in the fridge. These provide healthy, nutritious snacks everyday throughout the week.
5- Make your lunch the night before. Do this while you are cooking dinner and this will save stacks of time in the morning. It also saves you from making another mess in the morning!
6- Don’t skip meals. It’s so tempting to skip lunch, especially when you’re on a roll with your grading, or you have a student issue to deal with but this only will only make you hungrier later and therefore more likely to binge. If you absolutely must skip a meal, try to have some healthy snacks on hand such as raw almonds or greek yogurt to at least get your metabolism going and tide you over.
7- Stay away from those staff room treats! It’s so tempting to get stuck into those home-baked delicious goodies that your colleagues bring in, but these, along with the biscuits, lollies and dips, contain excessive calories and minimal nutrients. They might give you the quick energy hit that you need but you will be left feeling rundown and sluggish in the long run.
8- Exercise. Everyday, no matter how tired, stressed or busy you are. At the very least a 30 minute walk will leave you feeling refreshed and refocused. It is easy to push exercise and fitness to the side when our lives get busy, but taking just 30 minutes out of your day will actually help to keep you motivated, energized and ready to face the day. Even better, going for a short walk can help to ward off the munchies after a tough day at school!
I would love to hear your tips for balancing a healthy lifestyle with a busy workload, please feel free to comment below!