3 ways to eat healthier when you are super busy
We all have periods when we are super busy. Most of us have great intentions of eating healthily. But how when life is super busy? Maybe you want to be eating healthier because you can feel the effects a poor diet is having on you.
Poor sleep, unsettled digestion, low energy and weight gain… These are common when you consistently eat a poorly thought out and low nutrition diet when life gets super busy.
Do you stand in the kitchen to eat while scrolling through your social media feed? Bolt your food down so quickly it barely touches the sides? Pick up a takeaway on the way home from work?
The challenge for a lot of people though, especially those of you who work long hours or have a busy family life (or both), is lack of time to eat well.
There is a common misconception that healthy eating is time consuming.
I am going to debugs this myth. Instead I will show you three easy ways you can eat healthy when you are really busy. Simple, cheap top tips that won’t impact on your precious time. Try them, or at least one. No excuses, your body will thank you for it.
1. Stock up with store cupboard essentials
To eat healthily when you are super busy, keep your kitchen cupboards stocked with essentials for making quick and easy healthy meals.
Your essential essentials for healthy eating…
Store cupboard basics like grains (pasta, rice, cous cous, quinoa, oats) and tinned food (tuna, sardines, beans, lentils) are a great start.
They are all very cheap to buy and last for ages in the cupboard so you won’t have to worry about the food going off.
From these basic foods that are all very quick to cook, or don’t need any cooking at all, you can simply prepare a healthy meal. With just the addition of a few fresh (or frozen) ingredients to boost the nutritional value.
Other kitchen cupboard essentials include nut butters, dried herbs and spices, rice or oat cakes, nuts and seeds. These are nutrient dense foods that are ideal for oomphing up meals.
Don’t forget your freezer…
Do make use of your freezer (other than for ice cream!) Frozen vegetables like peas and sweetcorn are just as nutritious as fresh. And they are so simple to add to a meal when you have not had time to go shopping for fresh vegetables.
There are other freezer essentials that will help you to eat healthily when you are really busy. Frozen fish, which can be oven cooked in less than half an hour, prawns and other seafood. You can simply add these straight from the freezer to a quick stir fry.
2. Plan your meals
The second way to eat healthily when you are super busy is to get to grips with meal planning.
Meal planning is not a new thing. It has been used for a long time by people wanting to keep on track with healthy eating or eating well on a budget. It works well. As long as you stick to the plan and factor in the food shopping required.
Why meal plan…
Do you come home from a long day at work feeling tired, stressed and hungry with no idea of what you are going to eat for dinner? If so, you are far more likely to phone for an unhealthy takeaway. Or snack on chocolate while a frozen pizza is cooking in the oven.
THIS is why you should meal plan.
Just think about the difference. Coming home from a long, stressful day at work feeling tired and hungry with a clear idea of dinner. You know exactly the quick, healthy meal you are going to prepare. And, importantly, you have the right ingredients ready in your kitchen cupboards and fridge.
You’ll be able to get started with cooking straight away. Satisfied knowing that in 20 minutes or so you will be sitting down to a healthy meal which will leave you feeling energised and calm. Ready for whatever you have planned to do that evening.
Plan all meals if possible…
The same meal planning benefits apply to lunches and breakfast.
Planning is crucial when you are really busy if you want to eat healthily. Without a clear idea of your lunch choice you might end up grabbing a sandwich, crisps and soft drink. Which is far from ideal as you will probably feel lethargic and struggle to concentrate all afternoon.
I am not saying that you have to make every meal from scratch if you don’t have time to prepare something the night before. Though personally I think most people can find the time to prepare even just part of lunch. Try to have a clear idea of what you are going to buy before you get to the shop.
3. Embrace batch cooking
The third and final easy way you can eat healthily when super busy is to embrace batch cooking.
To younger people batch cooking might sound like something only older people do. But it is truly life changing when it comes to eating well without spending a long time in the kitchen.
What is batch cooking?..
The basic principle of batch cooking is to cook more of a meal than you are actually eating that day. Then freeze, or put in the fridge, the rest to have another day.
Batch cooking can be as simple as baking an extra salmon fillet or chicken breast at dinner for you to take to work the next day, which would give you the basic start to a healthy lunch. All you would then need to do is to add some salad (ready chopped and bagged is fine) and a source of carbohydrates like a wholemeal roll or some oat cakes. Then you’ve got yourself a healthy lunch even though you’ve been really busy at work all day.
The best, easiest way to batch cook is by cooking double quantity of food at the weekend when you probably have more time free.
You could make a large pan of bolognese or curry, eat some that day and freeze the rest into individual portions for those busy days when you don’t have time to cook from scratch. Yes, you’ll need to spend a few minutes warming through the food and boiling some rice or pasta, but everyone can find time for that.
The point is that the bulk of the dinner is already made on a convenient day when you have the time and energy to cook.
So many benefits…
It can feel tough to eat healthily when you are super busy with little time to spare. But if you follow the easy top tips above you’ll be able to live your life and also eat well.
A lot of things worth doing in life take time. Think about things that take up time in your daily life which potentially you could stop doing to free up some time. You could use that time to plan and prepare healthy food. Your body will thank you for it.
If you want some guidance on meal planning or an assessment of your current diet and some ideas on the best changes to make do get in touch.
Alternatively, download my FREE menopause nutrition guide. It includes great recipes that are quick, easy and healthy plus a meal plan to follow.