Tips for eating nutritional food no matter how busy your lifestyle
October 13, 2022
When your days are busy or chaotic, filled with meetings and social events for you and your family, it can become tough to make good nutrition a priority.
Especially if your busy lifestyle is so hectic that meal time has a way of sneaking up on you. Once the hunger pangs start, it’s much easier to grab the most convenient food rather than the most nutritional food. (Think donuts from the office kitchen or your favorite fast food drive-thru on the way home.)
There is nothing wrong with that once in a while, but if you want to be ready for whatever life may throw your way, you need to learn how to eat healthy even when you’re busy. It’s important to take care of yourself and your family by giving your body the nutritional food it needs.
“What you put into your body matters,” said Holiday Durham Zanetti, RD, a senior research scientist and clinical investigator for Nutrilite™ with a Ph.D. in nutrition. “The nutritional food choices you make every day can impact your health not just today, but tomorrow and in the future, so choose wisely.
“Good nutrition is so important for overall health and well-being.”
Here are some easy ideas for how to eat healthy when you’re busy so your body gets the fuel it needs to keep up with an active lifestyle, including healthy breakfast foods, nutritious meals on the go, smart snacks, quick, easy dinners and healthy fast food options.
Meal planning means setting aside some time one day a week for meal planning and meal prep. This may seem like a daunting suggestion for someone who already has a schedule with very little wiggle room, but by the end of one week you’ll see how much time your preparation on that one day saved you during your busiest times.
Plan your nutritious breakfasts, lunches and dinners, make sure you’ve got the groceries to make them and then do as much prep work as you can to set up the meals for each day. That can mean simply slicing and dicing for various meals or actually cooking everything ahead of time so you only have to reheat when the appointed meal time arrives.
Look for recipes that can be thrown in a crockpot in the morning or a pressure cooker in the evening. There are also recipes out there for amazing freezer meals, allowing you to plan way ahead. Consider downloading a shopping list app that your family members can access, maximizing each trip to the grocery store.
Breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day because you are literally breaking your fast. Going prolonged periods of time without eating switches your body into calorie storage mode, a biological hold-over from a time when food was not as plentiful and readily available as it is today.
This means that your body puts more effort into storing calories because it wants to ensure that you survive the next food-scarce period. That’s why skipping meals is not a good idea, especially breakfast.
Healthy breakfast foods include oatmeal, whole wheat breads, nut butters, eggs and fruit. There are plenty of meal prep breakfast recipes that put them all to good use, like egg sandwiches or stovetop steel oats. Many can be stored for the week in fridge or longer in the freezer. Just pop in the air fryer or microwave and you’ll have a hot breakfast in minutes. Overnight oats are a good option, too.
You can also stock up on meal replacement smoothie mixes, protein powders or superfood powders to make nutrient-packed smoothies to start your day. Blend them up, pour them in your travel cup and you’re on your way.
No time to even make a smoothie? Keep a ready supply of meal bars , wellness bars or protein bars for meals on the go or at least a portion of a meal. Pair them with some fresh fruit you can also grab and go and the combo of nutrients will kickstart your day in no time at all.
One of the best ways to ensure you have healthy food for lunch is to make sure you have leftovers from your healthy dinner the night before. Toss the ingredients together to make a bowl or wrap them in a tortilla for a utensil-free meal.
Salads, sandwiches and wraps are also a shining star of healthy lunches thanks to meal prepping. Depending on your approach, you can have a salad for each day in your fridge when you start your week. Looking for even less fuss? Smoothies and protein bars can serve you well as part of your mid-day meal as well as breakfast.
Meal prepping can make almost anything a quick and easy dinner idea, but if it doesn’t work for you there are other options. Start by making sure your pantry and freezer are always stocked with a wide variety of staples.
A healthy dinner doesn’t have to be an elaborate affair. Lean meats can be grilled or sautéed pretty quickly and served with steamed vegetables and whole grains, like quinoa, brown rice or whole grain pasta.
Black beans and corn with salsa can easily be transformed into burritos with rice as an easy side dish. Pasta is the epitome of versatility. You can pair it with oil and seasoning or your favorite sauces and mix it with vegetable medleys you keep in your freezer.
Rotisserie chickens are a treasure for busy families. They are inexpensive compared to takeout and offer a hot meal with lean protein (once you remove the skin). They can be eaten as the main dish or carved up and easily used for other recipes by adding seasoning or sauces, like gyros, tacos or sweet and sour chicken.
And who doesn’t love breakfast for dinner? Scrambled eggs, french toast, precooked lean sausages or breakfast casseroles all come together quick and easy for dinner and go great with fresh fruit.
There is no shortage of research showing a diet dominated by fast food is not a good idea. The good news is the number of healthy fast food options continues to grow. With the popularity of clean eating and other specialty diets that require people to know what’s in the food they’re eating, many restaurants, from fast food chains to mom-and-pop delis, are embracing the benefits of healthy eating by highlighting their nutritional foods.
The in-store menus will often list ingredients along with calorie counts or grams of fat, protein and carbohydrates making it easier to eat healthy when you’re busy. Look for items with the most fresh or whole grain ingredients and the least amount of processed foods. Grilled or baked is typically better than fried, depending on how it’s served.
That could mean smoothies, soups, vegetarian sandwiches or grilled chicken bowls and salads. You can also consider ordering off the children’s menu to have more control over the portion sizes. (We won’t judge you for playing with the toy, either!)
Do some homework by checking out menus and nutritional information online to look for “go-to” items at popular places. So when you find yourself famished with little time and limited options, you’ll know exactly what to order.
Snacks are a realistic part of everyone’s day, especially those with a busy lifestyle. So it’s important to keep a few good-for-you munchies stashed where you can reach them in your desk, car, backpack, gym bag, purse or briefcase.
Fresh fruit or vegetables you can eat out of hand are always a good option. Apples and bananas are easily tossed in your bags, while berries and vegetables might take a little prep work and require containers. Hummus and yogurt hit the spot, too.
For something with a longer shelf life, consider bars, packages of dried fruits and nuts, whole grain crackers or air-popped popcorn. These little extras will keep you from reaching for the sweeter or saltier vending machine treats that might be tempting you when you feel like you need a little extra something.
Hopefully these tips give you some tools to ensure you and your family are giving your bodies the fuel they need to take on each day. To learn more about nutrition and other ways to support your optimal health, check out other articles on Amway Discover.
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