Healthy Eating Habits for Busy Lives
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We’ve all been there – hunger strikes, we’re not prepared, and we eat whatever’s in sight. We grab something that is quick, easy, and often less nutritious. Between work or school, family and friends and trying to keep our social calendars going, it can be difficult to fit in meal prep! Here are a few tips and tricks to keep you on track even when life gets busy!
It can be difficult to balance consistent healthy eating habits with busy lives, but it is possible!
Set a Goal
Whether you want to feel more energized, spend more time outside or build healthier habits it’s important to write down your goals. Have an idea of what you want to accomplish and how you want to get there. Keep it simple and be realistic, such as I want to cook at home 3x this week or I want to eat more fruits and vegetables – are a great start.
The mind is a powerful thing and when we visualize our destination, it can make it much easier for us to get where we want to be.
This is a big one! Taking time over the weekend to set yourself up for the week can make all the difference. Try to imagine your week and think about what you can do to make it easier on yourself. What can you prepare? What can you do now to save time later? By investing the time now, you can set your week up for success!
- Plan out meals for the week and create your grocery list from that – making sure you have all the ingredients you need before you start prep will save your sanity! (post it on the fridge to remember the meals planned for the week).
- Meal prep – keep it simple.
- Cut up fruits and veggies right when you get home from the store for easy snacking or adding to lunches.
- Make a large batch of whole grains (quinoa, brown rice, oatmeal) and lean protein (salmon, chicken, tofu) for easy meals throughout the week.
- Put together wholesome snack options for the week – make a hummus and veggie plate, whip up some chia pudding, boil up a few hard boiled eggs or stock up on LUNA® bars (providing 8-9g protein and made with organic oats, LemonZest® and Nutz Over Chocolate® are the perfect snacks to help supply you with the energy when life gets busy!)
Be Mindful During Meals
Slowing down and enjoying the experience of eating is just as important as the food that you put in your body. Next time you sit down to eat, try putting away the screens – whether that be TV, work on the computer or scrolling on your phone – and just enjoy the company you are with or if alone, close your eyes and truly savor each bite you take (even if you only get to do this for 10 minutes!). Doing this can help us not only focus on the nutritional content of our food but allows us to listen to our internal hunger/fullness cues. It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to get the message from your stomach that you are full. Fast eaters often are overeaters, while slow eaters tend to eat less and are still satisfied.2
No matter how stressful work or life can be, it’s important to slow down, take deep breaths and enjoy the moment.
Don’t Skip Meals
Skipping meals can not only cause your blood sugar to dip low, it can also impact your energy level and ability to focus. Without a steady supply of key nutrients, we get hangry and sometimes end up at the nearest fast-food drive-through. This is where that planning comes into play!
Eat More Veggies
Eating fresh fruit and vegetables can help keep your digestive system happy and regular, help support health, and give you energy! To help get your daily recommendation of 2.5 cups, try incorporating more vegetables into each meal such as:2
- Greens, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, broccoli are great additions to your scrambled eggs or omelets
- Micro-greens, radish, sautéed mushrooms can add flavor and nutrition to your avocado toast
- Bell peppers, carrots, and cucumbers with hummus make a perfect snack
- Get creative with salads, pastas, soups, and wraps – it's so easy to toss in veggies to these meals (Pinterest is my favorite for inspiration)
Eat Healthy While Eating Out
Whether meeting up with friends at happy hour or taking the family out to dinner (no dishes!), it can be helpful to have a game plan. Check the menu beforehand to give you more time to make a healthy choice. Eat a nutritious snack before you go to keep you from overeating. Don’t be afraid to speak up, ask how the dishes are prepared or the substitutions you want. Remember to enjoy yourself, one meal out isn’t going change things if you are craving the hamburger and French fries over a salad that night – that’s ok! A few more tips when dining out include:
Tips for Eating Out:
- Try getting grilled/baked over fried
- Side of fruit or salad over fries
- Dressing/sauces on the side
- Share your main dish – most restaurant’s serving sizes are for 2-3 people
- You don’t have to eat everything on your plate, take the extras home
This word is thrown around a lot. So, what does balance actually mean? It’s different for everyone. Don’t let someone else’s definition affect yours; you are the only person able to define it.
Healthy eating habits while living a busy life can happen! Be mindful of what you eat. Plan it. Think about it. Also realize it is up to you to make it happen. Practice, planning, and effort make all the difference – especially if you’re busy. Remind yourself that one day or one week of being off track should not discourage you. You got this!