The Don't Quit Podcast

[Guest Post] The Entrepreneurial Nine-to-Five Meal Planner

Let’s be honest - our bodies weren’t built to peer at screens all day and run on caffeine. Entrepreneurs are humans, not machines (however much we’d like to be), and most of us could do with taking better care of ourselves.

Evening meals are one thing, but how often do we really take the time to make sure we’re fuelling our bodies during the day? How many empty biscuit packets are there in the bin next to your desk?

Eating well doesn’t have to mean eating fancy; good fuel can take moments to prepare. Let’s start simple, shall we?

Breakfast

I don’t think there’s a single meal more important to an entrepreneur than breakfast. Since noticing that there was a direct correlation between the size of my breakfast and the number of words I managed to write before lunchtime, I haven’t held back.

Fast: Stacked Cereal

Cereal: Wheat biscuits,wholegrain cereals, muesli, low-sugar granola, bran flakes.

A big dollop of Icelandic or Greek yogurt, I prefer 0% fat. Add a swirl of honey or agave nectar.

Fresh fruit: Strawberries are my vice, but blueberries, banana, raspberries, currants, or slices of soft pear and peach are just as great for a boost of natural sweetness to start the day.

Milk: I use soy or nut milk. If you’re going for dairy, choose something below full-fat to make sure your body gets enough fats and protein to fuel it, but not enough to feel bloated and fall asleep.

With Time to Think: Banana French Toast

Mash a ripe banana in a bowl. Add a few teaspoons of nut or dairy milk, a spoon of peanut butter, and a good pinch of allspice. Mix it till you have a loose, egg-like mixture.

Cut your bread into 2cm-thick chunks a great choice, and give them a two-minute soak in the mixture.

Fry the bread off in a heated pan. I use coconut oil to get a really nice crispy texture. Serve with maple syrup and more peanut butter.

Cheat: Fruit and Breakfast Biscuits

We’ve all been there - the skype call is in ten minutes and you’ve barely had time to take a shower. Whatever you do in those precious minutes, please, for the love of your body, eat! Commercially available breakfast biscuits are a great compromise - you need the protein, complex sugars, and fats that these guys can provide at the start of the day. Slice up an apple and munch through that too, and don’t forget to drink! You’ve got this.

Lunch

I have two aims at lunchtime: eat a lot of something, and make it something light. The full meals available in company canteens are great and all, but they can slow you right down and even send you to sleep - and that’s so much more tempting at home.

Fast: Everything Rice Cakes

Rice Cakes: They can be pretty unappetizing. The trick is to load them up. I love salt and vinegar rice cakes: big, fluffy, crunchy ones, probably saltier than I should strictly be eating.

Toppings: Cottage cheese, honestly. Failing that, soft cheese of your choice - it’s protein o’clock right now. Big spoonfuls of chutney or pickle.

Salads: Be bold, be peppery - load your cakes with rocket, chard, lamb’s lettuce, watercress, and a healthy dose of balsamic vinegar

Eat these cakes of glory with your fingers, be messy: get tactile, use your hands. You need to taste strong flavours, it’s going to wake you right up again after that heavy morning.

With Time to Think: Egg and Avocado Sandwich

Working from home? Great stuff - lunch is your new golden hour. Golden like eggs. Fry them, poach them, boil them, scramble them. Add salt and pepper.

Get yourself some substantial bread, the type you find in your teeth for hours afterwards. Seeds and wholemeal are great news for your gut. Butter it up, and add that egg.

Slice as much avocado as you can eat in one sitting, and add it to your growing sandwich. More pepper? Yes please. Top it all off with some leaves and pickle, then squish the whole thing til< you can fit it into your mouth.

Cheat: Tinned fish on Toast

You accidentally stared at Facebook for longer than intended, and today is not a good day for rescheduling. Don’t skip lunch, it’s going to be ok. Keep a supply of prepared tinned fish in your cupboard for emergencies like these. Five minutes and you can have bread in and out of the toaster, and fish in and out of the microwave. Hot, tomatoey sardines on crunchy toast in less time than it took to read through your news feed, oh happy day.

Snacks

Fast: Rollups

Soft tortillas: Wholemeal, sweet chili, sun-dried tomato, gluten free, whatever floats your boat.

Filler: For savory times, try cream cheese or refried beans. For sweeter moments, peanut butter. For apocalypse scenarios - both. Spread it on thick.

Topping: Pickle, ham, banana, bacon, cheese, chopped fruit… add the perfect partner to your in a smooth layer over the top, then roll that tortilla up tight, and slice it into thin chunks. Congratulations, you just created convenient of awesome.

Why Are You Thinking When You Could Be Snacking?: FroYoFruit

In one of those idyllic spare ten minutes, make enough space in your freezer for a muffin tray.

Put paper cases in that muffin tray, and load those cases up with a couple of centimeters of your favourite yogurt.

Now, dunk a huge strawberry or chunk of banana in the middle of each, and stick the whole thing in the freezer for one hour. What do you get after that one hour? You get fruity froyo you can eat in a couple of bites, that’ll wake you up with a zing.

You Can’t Cheat Snacks: Granola

Yes, seriously, get yourself a bowl of dry granola. If you really don’t have ten minutes to take five, you’ll be amazed how easy it is to develop the ability to mindlessly move granola from bowl to mouth with one hand and keep typing with the other (just like crisps, but healthier). Just don’t put the whole packet by your desk - trust me on this, you don’t want to know how much you can make disappear.

Do you know any great foods every busy entreprenuer should know about?

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