Do you know that on average women feel they need at least 82 extra minutes a day to accomplish all they would like to accomplish? I am not sure about this research because I feel like some days I would need much more time than this!
Being busy is almost a measurement of success, so no wonder we are getting busier by the minute.
Unfortunately, being busy doesn’t always bring the rewards you were looking for. Especially if being busy means you don’t eat healthy.
Let’s be honest, when you don’t fuel your body and mind, you won’t have the energy and mental wellbeing to accomplish all you want. That is why, in today’s article, I give you five ways to follow a balanced diet even if you are busy.
But before we start, get your copy of my e-book The wholehearted diet. Discover the power of plant-based eating, stress less, and have more energy.
The Challenges to Maintaining a Healthy Diet
It goes without saying that you want to eat healthily. Nutrition is one of the three pillars of my triangle of wellness for a reason. To have the energy to face whatever life throws your way you need to fuel yourself with food.
The number one complaint why it is so hard to eat a balanced diet is lack of time. Who has the time to think about what to eat and prepare the food when you are constantly busy? Between working on a project, driving your kids to ballet classes, and looking after your aging parents, you don’t have spare time.
I get it.
It’s hard to fit everything into a day, but to have time, you need to learn how to manage it better.
There are countless time management methods, so pick one that works for you and start designing your days so you have time for healthy eating.
Why? Because nutrition has to become your non-negotiable. Think about your body as a car. If you don’t put good quality petrol in it, it won’t go anywhere.
Once you commit to eating healthy, it becomes your priority, and you will find not only time but motivation to make it happen. Here are five ways to make it easier.
#1 Plan Ahead
The key to any success is preparation. So, if you want to improve your eating habits, you need to plan what you will eat in advance. It sounds obvious to plan, but how often do you do it?
The drawback of planning ahead is coming up with the meals for the entire week. It may be hard to know what you want to eat next Thursday, but for me, it is hard to face dinner time and not know what to cook.
There are two benefits of planning.
First, you have control over what you eat. This way you can make sure that you eat a balanced meal, and you won’t end up having a takeaway for the third time this week. Because you plan you can spend some extra time researching what to eat to meet all your nutritional requirements.
Second, you don’t waste your precious energy. Our brains are overloaded with information so making a decision requires a lot of brain energy. Wouldn’t you prefer to use that energy on something else?
When you plan your meals you not only save time on the day, but you preserve your energy for more important things.
Planning your dishes for the week is easier than you think. I always do my planning on a Thursday afternoon. Because I do it every week it became a habit. So, pick a day that suits you.
You can also do batch cooking and meal prepping so you save even more time during weekdays. Just pick the meals that suit best for freezing and batch cooking.
#2 Smart Shopping
Do you know the saying out of sight out of mind? It works very well for the food you eat. Stocking up your pantry on all the nutritional and healthy foods ensures you stick to healthy eating.
Humans are emotional creatures, meaning your shopping decisions are led by emotions, not logic. You know you are better off eating kale, but you still may reach out for cookies instead.
Planning your weekly shopping needs to go hand in hand with your weekly meal planning. Pick a day during the week when you do all your shopping. Or better yet, do your shopping online.
When you don’t cruise through the aisle but browse on a website, is much easier to stick to your list.
You also save a lot of time by placing online orders.
If you want to make even healthier decisions while shopping, shop after you had a meal. You won’t be led by hunger, so you won’t feel like buying all the extras you don’t need.
#3 Nutrition on The Go
When you plan meals and follow smart shopping, your pantry will be stocked with healthy foods. Because you already know what is for dinner you save time and energy. However, life happens, and you may still have moments when you skip lunch or when cooking dinner won’t be feasible.
Although there is a bit of controversy around snacking, I find healthy snacking on the go a good alternative when you are busy. Research shows that snacking may be linked to an increase in weight, but this is mostly due to the type of snacks you eat.
Some healthy options such as nuts, seeds, vegetables, berries, pulses, and legumes are all good choices. They will tie you between meals, are full of nutrients, and your body won’t use a lot of energy to digest them.
What’s more, they are super handy to carry in your purse or keep them in a drawer in the office.
Behavioural science teaches us that we do whatever is easy. So, if you plan and stock up on healthy snacks you will have that much better chance of following through on eating healthy.
I always carry a mix of nuts with me regardless of my plans. Why? Because success is in preparation. I don’t want to face a situation when I am hungry and I need to go to the shop to get something.
Remember we are emotional creatures and go for whatever is the easiest. So, why not make it easier on yourself and prepare?
#4 Stay Hydrated
According to research, 75% of us are dehydrated. Staying hydrated is vital for your optimal health and maintaining high energy levels. It is also essential for your nutrition.
Nutrients are carried throughout your body via fluids, mostly through water. So eating healthy itself won’t bring results if the nutrients cannot be distributed across your body.
Water also helps with detoxification and removal of waste. Think about what happens when you don’t take the garbage out. The rubbish piles up taking up space that could be used for something else.
Your body works the same way.
You want to drink enough water to meet your body’s and lifestyle requirements. This will vary depending on your age, gender, and climate. It is suggested that women drink about 2.7 liters of fluids a day, while men need about 3.7 liters.
However, I believe the best indicator of how much water you need is your body. Your body will tell you if you are dehydrated. If you have dry skin (the biggest organ), have a headache, or muscle aches and pains, ask yourself when was the last time you had some water.
If you find drinking water boring, invest in a funky water bottle or add cucumber, mint, celery, or lemon to your water to give it a bit of a boost.
#5 Balanced Lifestyle
I would like you to start looking at your body and mind holistically. Eating healthy is very important, but if you don’t manage your stress levels, can’t find time to cook, or don’t sleep enough, your energy and wellbeing will suffer.
As mentioned earlier, it is not only about delivering the right foods, your body needs to be able to absorb the nutrients. Feeling stressed, overwhelmed, and anxious will impact the way your body processes them.
What’s more, your hormone production may be disrupted which can cause havoc in your body. You will feel tired more often, you may have digestive issues, or not be able to get a good night’s sleep.
This, in turn, will impact your decision-making process, especially around the food choices you make.
How to Fuel Your Body for Optimal Health
To have energy, mental wellbeing, and be able to manage stress, you need to fuel your body with nutritional food. Eating a balanced diet needs to become your priority. And this happens when you make it a non-negotiable.
To eat healthy even when you are busy plan your meals and shopping in advance. Stock up on healthy snacks, so you won’t reach out for junk food when you are hungry.
Your self-care is as important as eating healthy. Drinking plenty of water, getting adequate rest, and managing stress will help your body to stay healthy and energetic.
Ready to improve your eating habits? Get your copy of my e-book The Wholehearted Diet. Discover the power of plant-based eating, stress less, and have more energy.