Episode 97 - 6 Simple Nutrition Hacks to Save You at Least 2 Hours a Week

6 Simple Nutrition Hacks to Save You at Least 2 Hours a Week

A lot of triathletes complain about being time-poor. You fit A LOT into your days. It’s hard to fit much else in, particularly to learn a new skill or gain some deeper knowledge and understanding about your nutrition.

So I wanted to share with you 6 simple hacks that you can utilise to save at least 2 hours every week. Personally, they allow me to cram A LOT in, just like you, and still eat well which is one of my highest values (obviously). 

Because at the end of the day, what is all this training and chaos without our health? You are what you eat - so if you want to train better and become a fitter, faster triathlete, it’s time to take more notice of how you fuel your body.

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Episode Transcription

Episode 97: 6 Simple Nutrition Hacks to Save You at Least 2 Hours a Week

Taryn Richardson  00:00

Welcome to the Triathlon Nutrition Academy podcast. The show designed to serve you up evidence-based sports nutrition advice from the experts. Hi, I'm your host Taryn, Accredited Practicing Dietitian, Advanced Sports Dietitian and founder of Dietitian Approved. Listen as I break down the latest evidence to give you practical, easy-to-digest strategies to train hard, recover faster and perform at your best. You have so much potential, and I want to help you unlock that with the power of nutrition. Let's get into it.

Taryn Richardson  00:41

A lot of triathletes complain about being time poor. You fit a lot into your days - training for three sports, working, family life, and socialising. But it probably becomes just seeing your buddies at training and racing and that's about it, right? But it's hard to fit much else in. Particularly if you're looking to learn a new skill, or gain some deeper knowledge and understanding about nutrition or anything.

Taryn Richardson  01:08

So what I want to do is share with you some simple hacks that I utilise to save at least two hours every week. It allows me to cram a lot in just like you but importantly for me to still eat well and spend some time doing the things that I love as well. So I have six hacks for you today. I honestly could go on forever but you know how I like to keep my episodes nice and concise and super practical. So I'm going to go through six things that I think are quite big ticket items that you can implement straightaway - today. Right now, while you're listening to this. Wherever you are and whatever you're doing, there are things that you can start today that will look after future you and save you time. And who doesn't want more time in their week? So let's dive straight into it.

Taryn Richardson  02:01

Number one, set aside dedicated meal planning time. Carve out a specific time each week, put it in your calendar or your diary, set it on repeat weekly, so that you don't forget, as protected time to plan out your meals. Treat it as a really important appointment and you have to stick to it. This will help you stay so much better organised and save so much time during your busy weekdays. I feel like I'm a bit of a broken record on this one, honestly. But if you're not doing this yet, it is a massive game changer.

Taryn Richardson  02:41

If you are overwhelmed and just don't know how to start this process, I got you. I've got a free template that you can use to download as your structure for mapping out your meals. Go and grab it if you haven't got it already - dietitianapproved.com/planner. It is a one page document that you can print and put it on your fridge or use it as a foundation to organise yourself. There's space for writing out your meals, there's space for your shopping list to go and get everything that you need and it's categorised into the way and the structure that you do your grocery shopping.

Taryn Richardson  03:20

So all of the aisle stuff is together. All of the fruit and vegetable stuff is together. All of your freezer stuff or your fridge stuff is together. What you want to avoid is writing one massive list of just all the things and it's all scattered all over the place. And so you end up running back and forwards in the supermarket because you forgot this one thing down this aisle and ah, crap, you forgot that as well. So you've got to run back to this aisle. Batch it, keep it all together. When you walk through the deli, you get all of the things that you need from the deli. When you then walk through the fridge section, you get all of the things that you need from the fridge section. Are you with me? Having some sort of structure to that process makes it super easy.

Taryn Richardson  04:03

Another tip here, if you get lost with what to make, and you're like, "Okay, I got this Taryn, I've got the structure, but then what do I write on it?" A couple of ideas here. Number one is to have a spreadsheet or write it down on paper and put it into a big glass jar of all the meals that you kind of do on rotation. This is great if you've got kids to get them involved as well. But you've got some sort of place written down all of the things that you make, and you've got a recipe for and you love. And then all you have to do is select from that list. It just gives you ideas and inspiration when you can't really be bothered to think about it or you get overwhelmed and you get stuck. You've got it all there for you. So you just basically pick and choose what you feel like. If you don't have something like that yet, then create one or make one.

Taryn Richardson  04:55

And if you want me to do that work for you again, that is exactly what our entire Recipe Database is. It's full of over 150 recipes that are fuelling - that are designed for the active triathlete in mind. It has categories of breakfasts, snacks, mains, there's even a carbohydrate loading section to help you do that really easily. There's a tiny but mighty dessert section and I'm also building out a bit of a fussy kids section as well. So there's lots of different categories in there to help you depending on what you need. So if you don't have anything like that, and you want help, and you want a dietitian to feed you, this is the best way to do it in the most cost effective form. So head to dietitianapproved.com/recipes and you'll see my free recipes there which you can download. There's also a button to dive into the Recipe Database and there's also a button for my Menu Planning Service - which, if you really want me to do all of the hard work for you because meal planning and menu planning is boring, you hate it, you suck at it, you just get overwhelmed and so you don't do it.

Taryn Richardson  04:59

I've done the heavy lifting for you and I filled out 52 weeks of my Menu Planner Template. There is one literally for every single week of the year and no two weeks are the same. And they follow a theme of the seasons. So we've got summer menus, autumn menus, winter menus, and spring menus. It's something you get for FREE when you join the Triathlon Nutrition Academy program. But if you want that right now, go and get it - dietitianapproved.com/menu planning. So there is literally no excuse for you right now to not be doing this. It will honestly save you at least two hours a week alone. Because you're not running to the shops every time you are missing an ingredient. You're not thinking about what you're eating on the fly and missing your window of opportunity with recovery. You have a plan, all you have to do is stick to it.

Taryn Richardson  07:06

My second hack - this is one I definitely implement myself is opting to batch cook. So that means preparing larger quantities of food in advance and you want to store them in meal sized portions. Whether that's in the fridge or the freezer, totally up to you with how you run your life. But you want to choose meals that do that really well and reheat easily or can be eaten cold. So things like stews and casseroles and curries and tagines and Mexican minces and lasagnas and pasta sauces. Those sorts of things are really good for cooking in bulk. And having healthy ready convenient meals at the ready for you when you need it. So you can quickly grab a nutritious meal when you're short on time, like you're running home from training late and you know that you don't have time to cook. Or you've been away on holidays and you're coming home to an empty fridge and an empty pantry because you haven't had that life admin time of getting yourself organised.

Taryn Richardson  08:14

For us, I double batch on a Monday and a Tuesday to have leftovers on a Wednesday and a Thursday night. Those two days in my week are the busiest and I try and fit everything in and trying to fit everything in is a challenge. Because nutrition and health is one of my highest values, I set myself up for success when I have the space for the times that I don't. Otherwise honestly, we'd be eating takeaway or throwing together something that's not particularly balanced. And that goes against my whole ethos of looking after yourself from the inside out. So have a think about your week. What times or days are a total shit fight? And look after future you by pre empting that chaos and getting organised earlier.

Taryn Richardson  09:06

Hack three - plan quick and simple meals. You want to cook recipes that require minimal preparation time and can be prepared in 30 minutes or less. You don't have time to be slaving away for hours, hand making gnocchi or rolling fresh pasta or slaving away stirring a risotto for 90 minutes. Bang that thing in the oven, go and have a shower and walk away and come back and it's done for you. So think strategically about the types of meals that you're planning for yourself as well. If you've got longer cook things, plan them on nights where you have the time to do that, or do some preparation throughout the day if you have the ability to do that. and place those really quick, simple cooks on the busy nights. So think things like stir fries and Mexican, throwing some things on the barbecue. You can grill lots of vegetables on the barbecue, throw your meat on at the last minute or some tofu, and maybe some nice sourdough on the side. Done. 10-15 minutes max.

Taryn Richardson  10:13

We tend to overcomplicate things. And my job is to simplify your life. Don't be afraid to use things like pre cut vegetables, or even frozen vegetables if you're really singing for time. Because that can save so much time in all of that chopping and preparation - where you can just throw a bag in of pre cut up vegetables already. All of the recipes in the Recipe Database take around 30 minutes or less to cook for that reason. There are definitely some longer cook options but you're not looking at tackling those in the middle of the week when you're coming home from swimming training in the evening and you want your recovery meal to be made. So plan quick and simple meals. It doesn't have to be complicated. You just need to know how to build your plate based on the demands of training. So just in those three things alone, I should have saved you at least two hours a week already.

Taryn Richardson  11:08

Now, if you're a longtime listener, you might be sick of me talking about menu planning and meal planning. If you're already doing it, well done, that is awesome. And if you're not already, this is just another reminder that you should be doing it. As a time poor triathlete, it is a game changer to set you up for success. Remember, nutrition is the fourth leg of triathlon - you need to swim, you need to bike, you need to run, but you need to layer in your nutrition to maximally get the most out of your training sessions. And so if you're not organised in this space, you're wasting your time, you're wasting your effort, you're wasting your money, and you're not treating your body like the high performance machine that it is. You're driving a beat up Honda and putting the cheap economy fuel in it. So get your shit together, get yourself organised and hopefully those three alone can save you some time - buy you back some time.

Taryn Richardson  12:07

When it comes to the Triathlon Nutrition Academy program, these are the things that I talk to the athletes about all the time. The program is a time commitment. It's one to two hours a week and that's it. It might seem like a lot. But the idea is that I fast track you through all of the friction points when it comes to nutrition. If you're not sure about race nutrition for an event and you waste hours trying to Google 'free race plans' - that are going to be terrible by the way anyway, because they're not custom to you. And you waste time and money using sports nutrition products that just aren't right for you. That's my job - to be across all of that so that you don't have to waste your time trying to navigate the internet, only getting more confused and more overwhelmed in the process. Good old Dr. Google.

Taryn Richardson  12:59

So in one to two hours a week, I can make you a better triathlete. There's no extra reading or research outside of that time. I'm going to lay it all out for you in a simple, easy to implement and practical way. Because most importantly, you need to know how to eat and how to apply what you're learning to food. We are opening doors for the last time in 2023 on the 8th to the 16th of July. So if you're in USA and Canada, that's the 7th to the 15th of July. I had a few people miss out last time because they thought they could just wait to the very last minute and got time zones confused and missed out. When we shut doors, we shut doors. So if nutrition is something that you want to work on this year, this is your last opportunity to do that in the Academy program. And you're going to want to get your name on the waitlist if you're not already. So head to dietitianapproved.com/academy because I do send out a nice little bonus (and it's something that you're going to want to get) to everyone that's on the waitlist before we open the doors. So don't be a last minute Larry, go and do that now so you don't miss out - dietitianapproved.com/academy.

Taryn Richardson  14:22

All right, hack number four. This one is also a game changer. Now don't hate me but it's about setting limits on your social media use - particularly at times that you know you go into a time hole. Do you ever pick up your phone to check your calendar or the weather only to find yourself losing a good 30 minutes on the mindless scroll through Instagram or Facebook? Yep. Don't worry, you are not alone. I do that too sometimes and I definitely know lots of other people that do the same. So if you find that there's a key window in your days that you do a lot of procrasto scrolling, whether it's at work or whether it's at night when you're trying to get to bed earlier, but you end up losing an hour on Instagram, then lock yourself out. You control the mobile shopping device in your hand. There are lots of apps that can help lock you out - set them up so that they work for you. Things like AppBlock, Freedom, SelfControl - just Google it, there's millions. But this one will honestly save you hours - hours and hours and hours.

Taryn Richardson  15:33

If you are somebody that gets distracted at work, turn on website blockers to help you maintain your focus. There are again, lots of things that you can set up on whatever browser you use to block you going into certain sites, so that you concentrate. I know I definitely use social media when I'm procrastinating from doing something hard, or maybe a little boring, or something I don't really want to do. But I know that about myself and I can catch myself now. But that took me a while to get there. And most importantly, is turn off all notifications. Now I'm not your mother, but honestly, it drives me nuts when I'm trying to talk to somebody and they're constantly looking at their Apple Watch getting notifications. Like pay attention, man! Turn off all notifications on your phone. You are in control. You go into that app when you want to not because it's notifying you of something to get you hooked and get you back in there.

Taryn Richardson  16:34

Every single app is designed in a way to do that. There's a reason that they look so delicious. They are designed to make you want to use them. And if you haven't used a platform for a certain period of time, it will spit you out a notification to get you back in there. So turn them all off - turn off Insta, turn off Facebook, definitely turn off email. And if you don't want to do that specifically, then set yourself up with the focus mode or the work mode or the quiet mode or whatever it is that you have on your phone at times where you need to concentrate. Huge game changer - will save you so much time. There's actually an app, I'm not sure what it's called, but it'll tell you how many hours of your life you will waste away looking at your phone based on your usage data. That's pretty insane. We can waste years of our lives looking at our mobile shopping device in our hand, which puts all of that into perspective. All right, moving on, I'm not your mum.

Taryn Richardson  17:35

Number five, pack your bag, and your lunch and your bike or whatever it is that you need for the next day, the night before. Even if you get home from work or training late and you're absolutely exhausted and you just want to go to bed, spend five or 10 minutes in that organisational mode to get you prepped for the next day. It will save you so much time in the morning when you're half awake and you forget stuff. Because forgetting stuff adds so much time to your life and is another big friction point. Have you forgotten socks? Have you forgotten undies? Have you forgotten your bike shoes or your helmet for a morning ride and had to turn around and go back home? All of those little things add up. So look after future you and pack your shit for the next day the night before.

Taryn Richardson  18:26

And if there's any way that you can organise it all for the week on the weekend, do it. If you go to an office during the week, can you take all of your meals for lunches and snacks in on a Monday? Can you take all of your work shirts into the office on a Monday? Don't forget your undies, don't forget your socks. But is there anything in your life that you can batch to set your week up for success?

Taryn Richardson  18:52

Which brings me to hack number six - is batching tasks. You'll be way more productive and time efficient if you concentrate on one thing at a time. Multitasking does not work. Have you ever done that activity where you've got to write words and numbers upside down at the same time jumping from one line to the other. It's a good one.  Google it if you haven't done it. It proves to you how difficult it is to multitask. So what things in your life do you have that you can batch? On a personal note for me, I try, it's not always successful, but I try and batch this podcast. So I try and spend one day and try and do maybe three or four episodes. So I can set up my studio, aka my cupboard, just get in the zone, concentrate and do a much better job compared to those weeks where I'm just scrambling, last minute to put something together in a short space of time quickly before I have my edit window.

Taryn Richardson  19:52

If I'm packing lunches, I concentrate on packing lunches until it's done. I'm not also cooking dinner, doing washing, prepping breakfast all at the same time. The less distracted you are, the least amount of time that thing's going to take. Whereas if you're doing multiple things constantly, then it's going to double the time it takes. I do two or three lunches at a time, I'm not doing it daily. That alone saves at least one to two hours in the week. So if you have little people and your lunchbox packer, try introducing batching here if you're not already. Buy an extra lunchbox or two so that you can do that. If you're cleaning your bike, do all of your bikes at once. Heck, throw in a car while you're at it. So what repeatable tasks do you have in your life that you can batch? Pause me for a second and think about it if you need to. Jot it down in your notes on your phone, write it on your hand, and set a reminder for yourself to actually do it. And then if you know that it needs to happen at a certain time point - so it's weekly, its monthly, its quarterly, its annually, whatever it is - set that on repeat as well for those time intervals. Now honestly, I can keep going on forever. I love me a good hack, particularly if it's going to save time. I'm all about time efficiency and getting shit done.

Taryn Richardson  21:15

But hopefully that's given you some good ideas to get started. And if you have more, I'd love you to share it with me @dietitian.approved and let me know. Now I wanted to leave you with one final thought - nothing changes if nothing changes. You probably listen to my podcast for ideas and inspiration and of course practical tips to be a better triathlete from a nutrition perspective, but improving your health and performance is going to take a little effort on your behalf. I would love to do it all for you, but I can't. But I'm here to make your life easier and to fast track through so much rubbish online and give it to you straight. But you need to implement the change. If you want to be better, if you want to be a better triathlete, if you want to eat better, if you want to sleep more, if you want to make sure you do your mobility every day, you have to put the wheels in motion to make that happen. Because nothing changes if nothing changes. So make a commitment to yourself to do something differently from today on, whatever it is.

Taryn Richardson  22:24

If any of those tips or things you aren't already doing, actually make a plan to implement it, today, tomorrow, this week. We're not waiting to Monday, that's stupid. Do it now because I know you want to be better. So let's do it.

Taryn Richardson  22:44

Thanks for joining me for this episode of the Triathlon Nutrition Academy podcast. I would love to hear from you. If you have any questions or want to share with me what you've learned, email me at [email protected]. You can also spread the word by leaving me a review and taking a screenshot of you listening to the show. Don't forget to tag me on social media, @dietitian.approved, so I can give you a shout out, too. If you want to learn more about what we do, head to dietitianapproved.com. And if you want to learn more about the Triathlon Nutrition Academy program, head to dietitianapproved.com/academy. Thanks for joining me and I look forward to helping you smash in the fourth leg - nutrition! 

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