The busier you get, the less likely you are to think about healthy eating. Unfortunately, acting in this way is counterproductive. You might think you are saving time and being more efficient by grabbing a burger and working through your lunch hour then filling up on energy drinks when you start to get tired.
However, you are actually reducing your productivity levels by eating in this way. A poor diet causes you to feel tired and lose energy during the day which has a direct impact on the amount of work you get done. It also contributes to a number of more serious health problems such as chronic disease and weight gain.
The good news is that there are plenty of ways to turn your diet around and start eating healthy, even when you are super busy. In this article I share 10 of my top tips for eating healthy when my time is extremely limited.
1) Plan Ahead
A lot of people say; “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail” and when it comes to healthy eating this is absolutely right. If you don’t put together some sort of plan to eat healthy then you are going to end up eating unhealthy junk foods. The best way to plan ahead is to list down the foods you plan to eat tomorrow at the end of each day and then prepare what you can the night before. You may argue that you simply don’t have the time to do this but realistically it’s only going to take 10 minutes to pack a few healthy snacks and prepare a healthy lunch. Surely you can find 10 minutes at the end of each day to do this?
2) Don’t Do Your Weekly Shop When You Are Hungry
As part of your healthy eating plan you need to start buying healthy foods when you do your weekly shop. Doing your weekly shop when you are hungry makes this task a lot more difficult as your hunger will naturally draw you towards convenient junk foods. Therefore, make sure you have something to eat before you do your weekly shop.
3) Take Full Advantage Of Fruits
When you are busy and you start to feel hungry what’s your usual course of action? If you answered; “head over to the vending machine and grab a quick snack” then you are not taking full advantage of fruits. Fruits can be just as filling as chocolate or crisps, provide much more nutritional value and contain a lot less calories. They are just as quick and easy to eat so even if you are super busy, fruits are the perfect snack food. Make sure you pack a few pieces of fruit into your bag each day and then when hunger calls you have them readily available.
4) Always Carry Nuts
Nuts are another fantastic, healthy food that you can use as a substitute for vending machine snacks. They provide your body with a selection of health boosting vitamins and minerals along with good amounts of protein and fat. To avoid the temptation of unhealthy snacks make sure you always carry a bag with you so that you can quickly grab a handful whenever your stomach starts to rumble.
5) Incorporate Vegetables Into Every Meal
This may sound like too much of an effort when your time is limited. However, if you choose the right vegetables it hardly takes up any of your time at all. Salads, soy beans, sun dried tomatoes can now all be purchased from supermarkets in a ready to eat form whilst chopped tomatoes can be heated up and used as a sauce in under five minutes.
6) Look For Lean Fish & Meats
When you are busy and have forgotten to bring your healthy packed lunch, grabbing a quick burger or hot dog might seem like the best option. However, there are plenty of healthier meat choices out there. Most hot deli counters allow you to buy roasted chicken which is both tasty and nutritious. Most supermarkets also sell cooked chicken breast slices. Lean meats are just as quick to eat as burgers and hot dogs but provide your body with higher quality protein and no nasty added ingredients.
7) Get A Thermos Flask
One bad habit I have noticed amongst busy people is that they regularly buy branded coffees. This doesn’t seem like such a bad habit on the surface but when you consider that six of the drinks on the current Starbucks menu exceed the 300 calorie mark, it’s a habit that can easily add over 1,000 empty calories to your week. So instead of hitting the coffee shops every day, get yourself a thermos flask and fill it with coffee or tea. Both these options will give you easy access to your favorite hot drink without adding hundreds or thousands of calories to your week.
8) Use Smoothies
Smoothies are an excellent way to fit multiple fruits and vegetables into one convenient drink and the best part is they take just a few minutes to prepare. To make a smoothie you first need to pick the fruits and vegetables you plan to use. Then chop them up into chunks, place them in your blender, add a few other optional ingredients if you like (crushed ice, fruit juice, milk etc), blend until the mixture becomes smooth and then pour the smoothie into a flask. If you are really stuck for ideas then check out Smoothie Web for some great smoothie recipes.
9) Use Your Freezer In The Right Way
Your freezer is a very valuable tool if you want to eat healthy and save time. If you know you are going to be having a particularly busy week then cook up a large batch of healthy food at the start of the week, divide it into individual servings and freeze these servings. Then on the days where you don’t have time to cook simply get these frozen servings out of the freezer the night before and warm them up when you are ready to eat. Doing this will allow you to enjoy healthy, nutritious meals without having to cook every night.
10) Choose The Lesser Of Two Evils
Sometimes, despite your best efforts, events will conspire against you and you won’t be able to eat healthy. You’ll accidentally leave your healthy lunch at home, the local shop near your work will have no fruits or vegetables left and your only choice is to head to a fast food outlet. In these situations, simply choose the lesser of the two evils. Take a look at the amount of salt, the calories and the amount of trans fats in each option on the menu and then choose the least damaging. This isn’t exactly healthy but it’s making the most of a bad situation.
Sticking to a healthy diet is tough at the best of times but when you are busy and stressed it can sometimes seem impossible. I hope the tips in this article have shown you that eating healthy when you are super busy is not only possible but it’s also very manageable if you approach it in the right way. Eating junk food doesn’t do you or your body any good so if you are one of those people who feel they are too busy to eat healthy, now is the time to change.