Turns out we love to grab ‘n’ go.
81 per cent of Australians will eat out at least once a month, more than half of those eating out will visit fast food chains or Quick Service Restaurants e.g. McDonalds. And more of us will take it away, rather than eat in.
Why do we love it so much?
Well, it’s not taste. Only 8% in the latest Emma study said that’s one of the main reasons they ate takeaway. Price and convenience came out on top.
So, is it because we are so time poor that preparing food and drinks has now become too difficult?
Is it because we base such a chunk of our social life on meetings and catch ups over breakfast, brunch, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner, drinks….?
Is it because we just cleaned the kitchen and the thought of dirtying and cleaning it all over again is just too much?
Is it because we ate too little, or nothing, at breakfast or lunch, and all of a sudden we’re a ravenous, “hangry”, low-blood sugar beast in need of anything to give us a hit before we pass out?
It’s likely a mixture of all of the above.
So if we don’t love the taste so much, and the cost of eating takeaway more often than home-prepared meals is more expensive, and 28% of us rank healthy choices as a priority, all that is left that keeps us coming back is convenience.
I have a love-hate relationship with this word.
When I am feeling really hungry and forget to pack a snack, I am so grateful for the convenience of having a gluten, dairy, refined sugar-free and low-moderate fodmap snack available. (I know, what a pain in the butt to find!).
When I have been out much longer than expected and lunch at home is too far away, I am grateful for the cafe that stocks a healthy salad, or a bar I can eat that will tide me over till I get home.
I love that my gym has a cafe where I can get a coffee to go, or a smoothie if needed. It’s extremely convenient.
Then, when I am trying to convince clients that their habits need to change; that their daily triple choc muffin and jumbo coffee is doing them a whole lot of damage, that word creeps back into the conversation. Convenience. It’s the ultimate goal killer, life excuse, and dream stopper. Honestly.
We take the car straight from the house to the office instead of bike riding, catching a bus or train and walking a distance. Convenience.
We sleep in for 10 minutes more, then race out the door knowing that once we get to work, the convenience of that downstairs cafe will be there, stocking something sweet for that ‘pick-me-up’.
We work so hard we have meetings over breakfast, lunch, dinner. The conversation is more important, so you don’t even realise what or how much you’re eating. It doesn’t matter. Its ‘fuel’ and you can continue your day, without the need to ‘stop and eat’. Convenience.
It just doesn’t end. You can make so many life changes that support your goals. You quit things, create new habits, and stick to a dedicated new schedule. After a while, you are living and looking the way you always wanted. Until convenience takes over once again.
So how can we love convenience without having it destroy what we are working towards?
Tips to beat convenience
- Be prepared – cook in bulk and save leftovers for your ‘take-away’ lunch the next day
- Eat simply – snacks should really be as simple as a banana, a raw food bar, a handful of nuts, some yoghurt, some roasted chickpeas.
- Make food a priority – change your thoughts to turn food from ‘just food’, to food as fuel to support your body. Making better food choices boosts your mood, your productivity and your lifespan!
- Stock the house and office well – there are many fruit and veggie boxes you can have delivered. Order groceries online, order a fruit box to your office etc. Always have healthy snacks tucked into your office drawer or your shelf in the kitchen. Nuts, tins of tuna, nut butters, bean mixes, high fibre bars, bliss balls etc.
- Cut down on the drinks – alcohol, reduce to 1-2 glasses; coffee – go for a small without the sugar; tea – avoid syrups e.g chai syrup – ask if they make chai from tea bags instead; soft drinks – go for soda water with fresh lemon or lime; iced tea – see if they can brew tea, then put ice in it and a slice of lemon.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want – As someone with food intolerances, I’ve had to adjust to the sometimes awkward task of asking the waitress/waiter if they can add or remove ingredients. Usually, you get a good response, and I have become more comfortable in asking for what I need. Practice this for yourself. Put the dressing on the side. Ask for salad instead of fries. Go for the grilled, not crumbed. If you never ask, you’ll never know if you can have your meal the way that suits your body best.
- Be mindful – mindful eating practices are having their time in the spotlight. For good reason too. Look at the menu and choose before going to the cafe. Put your knife and fork down to take pauses between every few bites. The person you’re dining with will appreciate the attention, especially if it’s a potential business deal. If you’re buying drive-thru takeaway, save the bulk of your meal till you get home or somewhere you can stop and actually enjoy it, rather than eating while you drive.