I don’t know about you, but this season has been shaping up to be one of my most stressful months, and a lot of other people have been echoing the same sentiment.
I have a confession to make – with my new schedule, I let my nutrition drop completely off the radar (oops). And with it, almost everything else. Healthy eating? No time!
I didn’t plan ahead, I skipped meals, I went to Starbucks for mid morning, mid day and mid afternoon pickmeups. Despite the coffee, I had less energy and motivation to workout, I became run down and caught someone’s cold (hooray). Every night I arrived at home feeling disorganized, frustrated and angry at myself. Pull on one thread and suddenly everything unravels and you’re left with a giant tangle of god knows what.
I hate feeling this way.
So I promised to not let my schedule get in the way of taking care of myself. I decided to start where everything fell apart – with my nutrition – to get back on the wagon!
Healthy eating tips for busy people
4) Make meals interesting and appetizing
It’s hard to avoid the temptation of nearby (junk) food vendors if you have bland and boring lunches or even worse, don’t bring anything at all (insert tummy growl). Make the most of leftovers from dinner-buy reusable plastic containers to easily transport them with you.
Try adding different element to your meal. Left over potatoes? Add some salsa! Leftover chicken? Put it in a whole wheat tortilla wrapping with some chopped veggies, or if you’re reducing wheat intake, wrap the chicken and veggies in a couple leaves of romaine. Bonus points for being extra healthy!
3) Pre-order your meals, and get it to go!
Research around your workplace for places that serve healthy, customizable meals. Whole Foods and Freshii are just two in the False Creek area within walking distance of Le Physique. Yes, just past the Starbucks and closer than Tim Horton’s! Some restaurants will take customized orders to go – call or check out their website to see if they create healthy lunch options that you can pick up quickly, to avoid the temptation of staring at the menu whilst the double bacon cheese burger or pasta alfredo with garlic bread beckons you.
2) Keep a secret ‘stash’ at your desk or car
Ever have those days that you may have forgotten your lunch (oh the agony of seeing it on the kitchen counter where you left it last), or the morning meeting went on a little too long, straight through to the afternoon? Have some foods as a backup at your desk or in your vehicle.
Even though we’re big fans of fresh, wholesome foods, sometimes these stashes need to be items of the non-perishable variety. Heaven forbid you accidentally discover that turkey sandwich tucked behind that folder three weeks later. Sometimes, packaged food is better than NO food.
Try these items:
Single serving cans of tuna, salmon or baked beans
Dried fruits such as raisins, apples, apricots and cranberries
Peanut or almond butter and crackers
Pre-packaged protein or meal replacement shake (just add water!)
Single serving of canned fruit (look for fruits that are packed in water or fruit juice and contain no added sugar)
For a list of snacks (fresh and non-perishable types) – click here!
1) Have a Kit Kat moment.
No, not have a Kit Kat as a meal. Got you there.
Give yourself the gift of an actual break while you eat. Take 5 minutes for yourself and your food.
It’s not a lot of time to eat, if you can allow yourself 10 or 15 minutes, that’s better, but if I said “take 20 minutes” you’d probably skip this tip and say “there’s no way I have 20 minutes to just sit an eat. I’ll send a few emails while I’m doing this.” So start with 5 uninterrupted you+food time. It’s probably the best 5 minutes you could do for your brain and body.
It’s been proven that when people eat while distracted, more calories are consumed, than when they’re focused on what they’re doing. Namely, eating. A break helps you regroup, you may find that you get back to the task with a new energy or perspective, and you’ll eat to satisfy your body’s hunger, rather than to satisfy your mind. The multitasking approach often results in poorer results for all the simultaneous tasks being performed.
So there you have it, just a few simple things that you can do to bring your healthy eating habits back online. No one’s perfect, but since your overall health is determined by what you do on a regular basis, if you can incorporate one or two of these tips as a regular habit, you’ll find it easier to stick to, you’ll have more energy, and keep stress-related weight at bay.
Now that’s a win-win scenario!