You’re trying to do it all. Be fit and healthy, be a good friend, and succeed in your career, school, or family life. It’s a lot! Sometimes working out and eating well feels like an added burden, not something that’s helping your life!
I understand. I work and travel a lot, so I understand how a busy schedule can feel limiting. However, you don’t need to worry! Over the years, I’ve discovered some great ways to eat healthy with a busy schedule.
Whether you’re a student, a businesswoman, or a mom keeping track of her little ones, I’ve prepared some tips for you! Here’s how to eat healthy on a busy schedule.
1. Drink plenty of water
Okay, this isn’t food exactly! But water is so, so important. Staying hydrated will help you feel more energized and alert throughout your busy day.
So many of our mid-day hunger cravings are actually from dehydration or exhaustion, rather than actual hunger. Drinking enough water throughout the day will help you keep up with your busy schedule and keep your diet in check.
I suggest buying a pretty water bottle that you’ll love refilling throughout the day! The little things make a big difference. (Read these tips on how to drink water!)
2. Prepare your meals ahead of time
I suggest taking one or two days per week to plan out your meals for the next few days. During this time, make sure to prepare lots of healthy snacks, meals full of vegetables, and other healthy options that actually taste good.
I find that when I’m in a rush to leave the house, I’m much more likely to grab food that’s already prepared.
If you find it difficult to prepare your own foods due to a lack of time, there are many food delivery services now that are healthy and actually taste good! And a lot of restaurants do meal prep too. So these could be worth a try :)
3. Think ahead – Don’t snack mindlessly!
One almond, two almond, five almond. It’s healthy, right? Sooner or later, those five almonds turn into twenty-five almonds, and eventually, you’re munching down the entire back! Sound familiar? I think it does to a lot of women!
It’s so easy to bring snacks (even healthy ones) on our busy days and just eat away! This is a huge cause of weight gain, especially if you work a desk job! Instead, I suggest portioning your snacks ahead of time. This makes it so much easier to track!
Some of my favourite healthy snacks are:
- Vegetables and hummus.
- An apple and peanut butter.
- Seaweed snacks.
4. Frozen fruit and vegetables are your friends
If you don’t have a lot of time to go grocery shopping or cut your produce, frozen fruits and vegetables can be a good option. Most fruits and vegetables are snap frozen so they keep their nutrients. This means you’re still getting the essential nutrients you need.
Frozen vegetables are much better than canned vegetables too because they don’t have preservatives in them, and they have more nutrients. So always choose the frozen varieties over canned.
Toss your fruits and vegetables into smoothies, soups, or use them as side dishes. Blended up frozen fruit can also be a great alternative to ice-cream late at night. Yum!
5. Be wise about liquid calories
All over the internet, people say to avoid drinking your calories. I think this is great advice for things that don’t fill you up. Things like juice, sugary coffee drinks, and alcohol have a lot more calories than you’d think, so it’s best to avoid them!
However, some liquid calories can actually be helpful. For example, making a smoothie is a convenient way to eat fruit, vegetables, carbohydrates, fats, and proteins in one easy, tasty meal.
Smoothies aren’t perfect though (it is easy to make them too sweet or too calorie dense), so make sure you’re avoiding these smoothie mistakes!
6. Understand your needs and plan around that!
Make sure each of your meals has carbohydrates, fat, and protein. These are the three macronutrients that we each need. They help our bodies function correctly.
However, everybody has different dietary needs depending on their body type. Some body types are better with a lower carb diet while others need more carbs.
If you don’t know your body type, take my free body type quiz. It will help you understand how to eat to suit your body type.
7. Make good restaurant choices
Most of the time, I suggest that you girls cook at home. When you do this, you know exactly what’s in the food you’re making. You can make it in a way that’s best for you.
However, I know this isn’t always realistic. Sometimes you’re too busy to cook. I’ve certainly been there too!
Here are a few things I do at restaurants:
- Swap sides for vegetables.
- Order soup or salad.
- Ask for the dressing on the side.
- Avoid the bread.
- Order water instead of any other beverage.
- Share a meal or sides with friends.
This is a huge topic. Luckily, I’ve already written an entire blog about eating healthy when you eat out.
8. Read labels
Hopefully, most of the food you’ll be cooking contains whole ingredients that don’t have labels. But I know we all buy prepackaged food sometimes. If you’re buying something with nutritional information on the back, read it and compare your choices.
For example, two protein bars may sound similar, but one might have lots more sugar than the other one. Reading labels helps you understand what you’re putting into your body so that you can make the best choice!
9. Make your own freezer meals
Freezer meals are great because you can cook them ahead of time without worrying about them spoiling. This is especially handy if you’re just cooking for yourself. It can be hard to eat everything you prepare, and you don’t want to waste food.
I find that soups, stews, and curries freeze the best, but let me know if you have made any great freezer-friendly meals!
10. Stay ahead of your hunger
When I get busy, sometimes I forget to eat! This isn’t good either because it just leads to poor decisions and overeating later in the day when I get ravishingly hungry.
You shouldn’t be snacking mindlessly, but don’t let your hunger turn into starvation either! It’s great to keep some small healthy snacks with you at work (or wherever you are!) in case of an emergency. This is always better than grabbing a candy bar from the vending machine!
Hopefully, these tips help you fit healthy eating into your schedule. :)
Love Rachael Xx