How To Be Healthy When You’re Busy

I see a lot of people who struggle with their health during busy seasons and often claim to be too busy to be healthy. While I understand how being busy makes eating healthy a bit trickier, I also think “busy” easily becomes an excuse to not care enough about our health – including what we eat, and how much we sleep and move. The fact is that it is during busy seasons, with added stress and exhaustion, we need to care the most about our health! By being organised and investing a bit of time to plan ahead, healthy is not hard. On the contrary, you’ll feel better, be more motivated and have more energy to cope with the stress – physically and mentally. You can’t put a price on good health!.. So get ready, take charge and make your health a non-negotiable priority.

Here are my top tips for being healthy & busy…

1. Make Breakfast A Priority

No, coffee does not count as breakfast. If you have coffee, it is better to have later in the morning after you’ve had some real food.

Smoothies make a quick breakfast and are packed with energising nutrients that set you up for a good start. I always base my smoothies on primarily vegetables (frozen spinach, chard, romaine, cucumber & zucchini are great in smoothies) combined with a whole lemon (peeled or juiced) and 1/2 a banana or a small green apple to sweeten. You can add in a tsp of chia seeds, flax seeds or coconut oil for extra health benefits and up the protein by including a tbsp of protein powder if you like (I use unsweetened pea protein). I prefer my smoothies very green to reap the most nutritional benefit while avoiding too much sugar… but if you’re new to green smoothies, you may want to include some more fruit and gradually up the veggie to fruit ratio. (Why include greens in your smoothie? Read more about that right here).

Smoothies Made Even Easier…

  • Have organic frozen berries and spinach in your freezer. Not only does it work out cheaper – it also lasts longer. I always keep a bag of spinach in the freezer to use for smoothies. It makes it so much easier and there’s no need to wash.
  • Freeze your bananas. I like to freeze them in halves or 1/3 pieces as I like my smoothies with minimal fruit for a lower sugar content.
  • Peel or juice your lemons in advance and store them in an airtight mason jar in the fridge (keep in mind that freshly peeled or juiced is better though, as the vitamin C content decreases rapidly!)

Other quick, healthy breakfast options you can prepare in advance and have ready to go include…

how to be healthy when you're busy

2. Drink Enough

Hydration is key for your health, digestion and energy and in a lot of cases, thirst is often mistaken for hunger. Keeping a large water bottle on hand throughout the day is key and make sure you get at least 1 1/2-2 litres a day. Also remember the more coffee you drink the more water you need!

3. Eat Regularly

It is a well known fact that will power goes out the window when you get too hungry! Plan to have healthy snacks on hand to avoid getting so hungry that you lose the ability to choose healthy main meals. Eating every three hours will keep your blood sugar levels steady and will decrease overeating at meal times.

Healthy Office Snacks…

4. Avoid Alcohol

Alcohol might be nice way to wind down after a long day, but be cautious. When alcohol is consumed it gets priority in our digestive system – meaning that all the food in your stomach is pushed aside until the alcohol is metabolised (hello weight gain!). If you have alcohol at night after your meal, this means that your body will be trying to digest and process your dinner while you’re trying to sleep… leading to poor quality sleep and more exhaustion the next morning.

5. Be Smart When Dining Out

Be smart about ordering your restaurant meal. When ordering meat, look for words like steamed, baked, poached, roasted, broiled or grilled and do your best to avoid foods with the words fried, au gratin, crispy, escalloped, pan-fried, sautéed or stuffed, which are good indications that the foods are high in fat and calories. If an item calls for the one of these options, ask the food item to be grilled, steamed, or baked instead. Also make a habit of ordering a side of steamed vegetables or a side salad – and always ask for the dressing on the side so you can control how much you put on, if at all.

6. Avoid Eating Too Late

Your metabolism slows down at night so you can count on anything you eat within four hours of bedtime sticking to your bones! Eating before 8 pm will allow your body to properly digest your meal before you rest – so it can focus on repairing cells and getting rid of unnecessary weight while you’re sleeping. Allowing your body to digest your food before bedtime will also enhance quality of sleep, giving you a better chance of waking up feeling rested and energised. Have a sparkling water with fresh lemon/lime juice, or even better, a cup of herbal tea instead.

7. Light Late Meals

Building on the previous point, when you do end up having to eat late, make it a light meal. Stick to something like soup, steamed fish and veggies or a salad. I always keep a batch of homemade dressing or vinaigrette in a mason jar in the fridge so it is easy to quickly whip up a tasty salad. Top it off with some nutritious add-ons like nuts or toasted pumpkin seeds and/or a sprinkle of feta cheese or nutritional yeast.

If dinner is a constant challenge, investing in a slow-cooker can be a life saver. A slow-cooker will have your meal cooking while you’re away at work all day. Just throw the ingredients into the slow cooker in the morning when you still have some energy, and you’ll return home to a finished meal. The recipe options are truly endless when it comes to a slow cooker!

8. Sneak In Some Exercise

Physical movement, in any way, shape or form is a great way to release stress from the body. It balances your hormones, improves your sleep and stabilises your blood sugar levels – making it easier to eat healthier. Whether you are able to hit the gym, go for a run /walk outside or simply do some pilates or strengthening exercises on your bedroom floor… it is all going to benefit your body. If you need a guide, there are numerous online guides and videos ranging from 10 minutes to hours. All you need to do is make a decision.

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