10 Ways to Stay Healthy even when you are Super Busy
04 April 2016
No matter how much you may want to make healthy choices, it can feel like there simply isn’t time. When running out the door, it’s easier to grab a pre-packaged granola bar than whip up a veggie scramble. And when faced with the decision to work an extra hour or head to yoga, it can be tough to convince yourself to get up and break that productivity stride.
But what if I told you it’s actually possible to be both the busiest the healthiest version of yourself? It’s always easier said than done, but the impact a few changes can have on your mind and body is totally worth it.
My advice: Start small and build from there. And if some of these tips aren’t for you, I’m sure at least a few of these tips will stick:
1. Make three-ingredient meals.
No, I am not referring to peanut butter and jam on whole-wheat bread. Im talking stuffed sweet potatoes, top with chicken pieces and feta, lettuce leaves packed with avo and tomatoes, or cottage cheese drizzled with tahini and almonds for example. There’s an entire world of easy and delicious combinations out there. It’s all about minimal grocery shopping and preparation, and maximum flavour and nutrition.
2. Fill up on iron.
Not eating enough iron can cause fatigue and even depression. Keep energy high by loading up on oatmeal, lentils, leafy greens, and lean meats. Bonus: Iron boosts muscle strength, making it that much easier to get through the workday and your workout.
3. Turn to soups and stews.
Besides being one of the healthiest comfort foods out there, soups are a great way to save time and money. Make a large batch at the beginning of the week, freeze leftovers in single-serving storage containers, and thaw as needed. And don’t worry about getting bored—there are endless healthy soup recipes out there!
4. Prep on the weekend for seamless weeknight meals.
Sure, salads are simple enough to put together. Chop veggies, sauté some protein, toss with some dressing, and viola! But in reality, all that chopping, cooking, and mixing can take serious time. Spare yourself the salad agony by loading up on veggies, chopping them all and storing in the fridge, pre-cooking protein and grains (I love quinoa), and making a large portion of dressing to use all week. Assembling your salad should take five minutes tops.
5. Prepare pre-packaged smoothie bags.
Smoothies are a great way to fill up on tons of nutrients with minimal effort. To make things even easier, add berries, spinach, protein powder, and other non-liquid fixings to a Ziploc so when you’re ready to puree, all you have to do is dump the ingredients in the blender. If you're making smoothies all week, keep bags of pre-sliced frozen produce in the freezer.
6. Don’t hate. Caffeinate!
The amount of conflicting data about whether or not coffee is good for you is enough to make anyone’s head spin. But there are some facts that don’t go disputed: Getting a daily dose of java helps rev your metabolism and provides a much needed energy boost. To keep your wallet healthy too, keep a French press and ground coffee at your desk so you can fuel up any time of day.
7. Eat meals instead of snacking all day.
When you’re crazy busy, it can feel as if there’s no time to sit down and enjoy a full meal. Instead, it seems easier to grab a handful of trail mix here, a string cheese there, a bag of pretzels between meetings, and various other nibbles before calling it a day. Although it may not feel like you’re eating as much, all-day snackers often end up consuming more calories than their meal-eating counterparts. Rather make time (even 10 minutes in your day) to eat a proper meal in order to avoid the constant nibbling. If you do feel peckish even after a proper meal, be sure that what you snacking on is nutrient dense, and has a low GI. Need some healthy snack ideas? Browse through my healthy treats recipes to see just how delicious healthy snacks can really be.
8. Eat mindfully.
With deadlines rearing their ugly heads, we often end up scoffing down meals in front of our computer screens, forgetting to breathe, let alone be mindful of how our bodies feel. No matter how stressed, slow down, breathe between bites, and take note when you’re full. Odds are you’ll end up eating much less (and feeling much better)!
9. Outsmart menus.
When eating out or ordering in, it’s easy to say eff it and opt for the most delicious (and sometimes least healthy) thing on the menu. While I am all for treating yourself, I am also all for tactics that help keep your nutrition goals on track. If you know the restaurant you’re dining at, check out the menu online to see what the best options are. If ordering online, choose at least one item that’s veggie-based and comes with a lean protein that is cooked in olive oil. And don’t be afraid to ask how your food is prepared – often sauces and cooking preparation at restaurants lean towards the unhealthier front, so its always best to ask first – that way you can always request an alternative preparation method that is in line with your nutrition and health goals.
10. Add veggies to...everything.
Spinach in smoothies is a pretty common addition. But what about sweet potato brownies? Or cauliflower scrambled eggs? Whether baking dessert, looking to beef up morning muffins or giving a healthy makeover to pancakes, sneaking nutrients into otherwise ordinary eats is a delicious (and smart) way to multitask.
Yours in Health Always,