Friends would probably describe me as a pretty organized person, but bizarrely when it comes to meal prep I'm not actually that organized.
For example, today I was rushing around doing chores and even though I knew lunchtime was approaching I didn't do anything about cooking some lunch. By the time I stopped my chores it was 3pm and I was too hungry to wait for lunch and had to eat a cobbled together snack meal that could be prepared in minutes.
This is fairly normal for me, to be caught out hungry and not be able to wait to cook a proper meal, as is not having my fridge stocked with enough ingredients to cook any recipes! The problem is that foods that tend to be ready to eat instantly, other than raw salads, usually require some preparation so without some forward planning your diet is likely to be less nutritious than it could be.
It shouldn't be a surprise when I'm going to want my food - it's fairly predictable that I will get hungry and if you eat a well balanced meal you should be hungry approximately five hours after a proper meal, and a couple of hours later if you have a small snack inbetween. So even if a meal takes a whole three hours to prepare (don't worry I never cook anything that takes that long) you should be able to have it ready approximately for when you'll be hungry. For a weekday my routine should be 7:30 protein shake, 9am proper breakfast, 1:30 lunch, 4:30 small snack, 7:30 dinner. On a weekend it's harder to stick to as I have a late breakfast but it's usually 10am breakfast, 2pm lunch, 4pm snack, 8pm dinner.
I was actually with a friend on the weekend who has a 4 month year old baby and was telling me about the importance of sticking to a feeding schedule to keep her little one happy. but eating at the same time every day also helps adults by putting our bodies in a routine where it knows it will be fed and has no perception of starvation (very irregular eating can put your body in a survival mode where it stores more calories that are eaten and can lead to central weight gain).
So time for me to start an early new year resolution and start planning my meals, at least for dinner, in advance ... it's not rocket science, find a good recipe, see how long it takes to cook, add 15 minutes (timings on recipes are always out!) and then start cooking that amount of time before my usual dinner time, even if I'm not hungry when I start. Also time to get back into an old routine of picking out some recipes for the week on a Sunday night and then going shopping on Monday evening so I have all the right ingredients!!
ps I'm not having an advent calendar this year but I am using that as an excuse to have some christmassy treats, today it was a Sainsbury's Free From Deep Filled Mince Pie which was yummy!