Healthy eating can be made really simple when you put a few important habits in place. If top notch nutrition is important to you, there are a couple of key areas that will require a little bit of focus to ensure your success. These are especially important if you lead a busy lifestyle. Without awareness around these areas it’s easy for your best intentions to go out the window.
So what are the important aspects of nutrition that busy people should be concerned about?
Yep, most of us know that snacking on a piece of fruit or some nuts and seeds is a better choice than a packet of chips. But no matter how good your knowledge about healthy foods is, you need to have some easy ways to apply your knowledge, so you don’t get caught out making decisions when you’re busy and over-hungry.
The following tips will help you to get a handle on planning and preparing for healthy eating in amongst your busy lifestyle.
Plan your shopping
Your calendar should hold a designated spot for grocery shopping, whether that is daily, weekly, fortnightly or otherwise. If you make it a regular slot it’s much easier to get used to buying the right amount to see you through till your next shop. Leave it a day or two late and it’s easier to make poor food choices when you’re short on supplies.
Another important element in planning your grocery shopping is to write a list…and aim to stick with it. Never go shopping when you’re starving as that list might more easily go out the door!
Perhaps your lifestyle is really busy and you don’t have a lot of time for grocery shopping? Consider shopping online, which removes a lot of time hassle. You don’t need to drive there or back, or wait in line. You should also be able to save lists of your ‘favourites” so that over time your online shopping task becomes much faster. Just like physical shopping, you should plan a regular time slot into your calendar for your online shopping. This ensures it gets done and delivered on time.
Finally, consider adding another element of ease by setting up an automated delivery. You should have a few “set and forget” options available in your area for fruit and vegetable box deliveries. A fresh box of seasonal fruit and vegetables showing up on your door each week can save so much time. It also takes the thinking out of it for you.
Prepare your food
Some days are busier than others, so plan in advance for your busy days. Have you considered batch cooking on the days when you have more time? Perhaps your weekdays are always really busy and you find yourself eating take outs most nights? In that case, you could cook up a big batch of something over the weekend and freeze into single portions to have throughout the week. Meals made in the slow cooker often work well to split into portions and freeze. When you’re ready to eat them, simply defrost and serve with a fresh side salad. Ideally, pull your portion out of the freezer in the morning so it’s already defrosted by the time you get home, and you only need to heat it up.
If you find that you’re always rushing out without breakfast in the mornings or you never have time to make lunch in the morning, try a different approach. If you’re not willing to wake up any earlier, have you considered preparing your breakfast or lunch the night before?
Oats, nuts and seeds can be soaked the night before and left in the fridge so that you just add fresh fruit and natural yoghurt for a tasty breakfast in the morning. And you might find that it’s quite a satisfying feeling when you only need to remember to take your lunch from the fridge in the morning, rather than prepare it. Another great tactic for lunches is to simply make a double batch of whatever you’re preparing for dinner. Then you can enjoy the other half the next day – easy!
Speedy snacking ideas
It’s always ideal to sit and enjoy meals and snacks slowly. This helps assist the digestive process. With a busy lifestyle, you will need some ideas up your sleeve for nourishing snacks that you can prepare quickly however. Here are a few ideas for nutritious snacks that require either no preparation time, or can be prepared very quickly.
Ready-to-go healthy snacks
- Fresh hand held fruits that don’t require cutting. Examples include mandarins, apples and bananas
- Raw nuts, seeds, olives and dark chocolate (ideally 70% cacao +)
Healthy snacks that you can prepare quickly
- Vegetable sticks (e.g. celery, carrots and peppers) with a ready to go dip such as hummus, tahini or nut butter
- Boiled eggs – boil up say 6 of them, keep in the fridge and have one or two when you feel the hunger pangs coming on
- Oat cakes or rice cakes topped with deliciousness! Ideas for toppings include different types of cheeses, nut or seed butters, fermented vegetables like sauerkraut, or avocado and tomato
Which of the above tips are you going to start incorporating into your busy lifestyle? Start with one and let us know how you get on! Or do you have any other healthy eating tips for a busy lifestyle? If so, please leave a comment in the box below – we’d love to hear your suggestions!