• Coach Toya

10 tips for eating healthy even when you're super busy

The busier you get, the less likely you are to think about healthy eating. Unfortunately, acting this way is counterproductive. You might think you're saving time and being more efficient by grabbing a burger and working through your lunch hour or filling up on energy drinks when you start to get tired. However, you're actually reducing your productivity levels by eating 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. Lets explore 10 tips you can use when you want to eat healthy and you are short on time

1. Plan Ahead

A common saying is; “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 a 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 healthy foods and snacks that 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 don’t have time to do this, but realistically it only takes about 10 minutes to pack a few healthy snacks and prepare a healthy lunch.  Can you find 10 minutes at the end of your day to care for your health and body?

2. Don’t Grocery Shop When You're Hungry

When planning to eat more healthily, you'll need to start buying healthy foods when you do your grocery shopping.  Food shopping when you're hungry makes it a lot harder to make healthy choices. Your hunger and food cravings will naturally kick in and you'll be drawn to all the junk, sweets, and processed foods that you're trying to stay away from! Therefore, make sure you have a snack and don't shop on an empty stomach.

3. Fill up on Fruits

When you're busy and you start to feel hungry, what’s your usual course of action? 

If your answer is to grab a bag of chips, popcorn, or candy, then you're probably not taking full advantage of fruits.

Fruits can be just as filling as chocolate or chips, 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 in your bag each day (apples & clementines are great for this!) and then when hunger strikes, you'll be prepared.

4. Always Carry Nuts (unless you're allergic!)

Nuts are another fantastic, healthy food that you can use as a substitute for vending machine type snacks.  They provide your body with lots of health boosting vitamins and minerals along with good amounts of protein and healthy 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. Don't Forget Your Veggies

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.  Many frozen vegetables retain the vitamins and minerals that you need. Steam in a bag options are great. They are easy to prepare and theres a ton of variety in the grocery stores. Consider other ways of incorporating vegetables in your diet like eating more salads with vegetables mixed in, or using chopped tomatoes blended into a sauce that can be made in a few minutes.

6. Look for Lean Fish & Meats

When you're busy and you forgot 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 deli counters allow you to buy roasted chicken or turkey which is both tasty and nutritious. Although the burger may be your default choice, pause and scan the menu. There is usually something that you can substitute as a healthier meat option.

Feeling adventurous? Try a meatless option! You just might find a new healthy favorite!

7. Skip the Latte & Grab a Thermos

One habit you may have when your super busy is to stop at your favorite coffee soot for your branded coffee. This may not see all that significant...except when you consider that at least 6 drinks on the Starbucks menu exceed the 300 calorie mark. So this "little habit" can easily add up to over 1,000 empty calories in your week (and a drain to your wallet!). Instead of hitting the coffee shops every day, get yourself a thermos flask and fill it with your favorite coffee or tea that you prepare at home.  Both these options will give you easy access to your favorite hot drink without adding hundreds or thousands of calories to your week (and just think of all the money you'll save!).

8. Blend it Up!

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 would like 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, yogurt, etc), blend until the mixture becomes smooth and then pour the smoothie into a flask. 

If you're really in a time crunch, check your local grocery store for smoothie in a bag mixes in the frozen fruit/veggie section. You can just add water or milk and blend!

Looking for smoothie inspiration? Try searching for 'smoothie recipes' on Pinterest and start there!

9. Put your Freezer to Work

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, you then cook up a large batch of healthy food at the start of the week, divide it into individual servings and freeze these servings.  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. When stuck, make the best choice you can

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 job will have no fruits or vegetables left, and your only choice is to head to the nearest fast food restaurant. In these situations, do the best you can and make the healthiest choice you can from your options.  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 may not be optimum, but at least you are not just giving in. You are making the best, most conscious food choice you can make.

Sticking to a healthy diet can be tough at the best of times, but when you are busy and stressed it can sometimes seem impossible. 

Hopefully, some of 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, theres no time like the present for a positive change!