My number one excuse for why I don’t always eat healthy is that I’m too busy. I don’t have time to make a salad (wash and dry the lettuce, chop it up, add other veggies and nuts, whip up some homemade dressing) with two little people pulling on my legs at meal time and demanding “noodles, now!” So instead I eat grilled cheese or Annie’s mac and cheese. Not the most balanced diet, I’ll admit.
But there are a few tricks I’ve learned in the last few years to make eating healthy easier, even for the busiest person.
1. Meal Plan. You’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times, but actually taking five minutes to plan out your meals for the week, make your grocery list based on the plan and then execute it goes a long way. Taking that extra few minutes will save you many many minutes of looking in you pantry and freezer and thinking, “I guess we’re having chicken fingers again.”
2. Healthy Snacks. After I gave birth to Claire I rejoined a gym and starting working out twice a week. At that gym I was introduced to GORP bars. If you’ve never heard of these before, you’re missing out. These bars are made locally and contain protein for power, fiber and omega 3 for health, and antioxidants for recovery, all in one bar. They are a great post-workout snack, but they also hit the spot mid afternoon when my body starts craving sugar and chocolate. My favourite is the cocoa, hemp and almond because it’s chocolately with crunchy bits inside, but the peanut butter raspberry and peanut butter apple are my kids fave. Yes, you heard right, my toddlers love this healthy snack as well! And I don’t feel guilty giving it to them because I know it’s probably the most nutrition packed food they might eat all day! (Plus if you want to impress your crunchy hippy friends, you can take them out of a package, fit them into a cake pan and pretend you made them yourself!)
3. Drink more Water. This is a pretty basic one, and I love water so it doesn’t take a lot of extra motivation. But some things that help me drink more water is to always have a water bottle on hand, in the car, beside my bed, in my bag when I’m running errands. If you get to the point where you’re thirsty, irritable and unfocused, you’re likely already dehydrated. Also, I love adding crushed ice to a glass of water. Sounds dumb, but drinking icy water is my satisfying to me than luke warm from the tap.
4. Decide ahead of Time. There’s nothing wrong with having a treat every once in a while, on special occasions or when you go out with friends. But rather than waiting until you’re in the moment of temptation, looking in the display case at the bakery, decide ahead of time that you’re gonna splurge, enjoy it, don’t feel guilty about it and move on. That guilt is really such a killer in trying to stay healthy. It makes us feel like, “well I already screwed up once, so why not just have another giant piece of chocolate cake.”
5. Bring a Lunch. If you work outside of the home, or plan to be away over the lunch hour, take a few minutes and pack your own lunch. A container of grilled chicken with some hummus, a container of veggies, a piece of fruit, a GORP bar, a bottle of water and you’re good to go. There is very little healthy fast food out there and bringing a lunch allows you to know exactly what you’re putting in your mouth. It will also give you more energy for the afternoon, save you money and keep you on track with your health goals.
So those are my tips. I definitely don’t follow them all, all the time, but its not about perfection, it’s about process. Maybe just one of these tips can inspire you to make a small change this week.
Now it’s your turn. What one tip you have for how to eat healthy when you’re busy?