Whether you’re a working student, have a family, or you’re on the fast track to professional glory, life can get pretty hectic and stay that way for years on end.
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However, this way of eating quickly becomes a lifestyle that tends to affect your other decisions, such as choosing an extra cup of coffee instead of more water, and staying awake for an extra hour instead of turning in.
Still, there is hope for all of us, busy bees, when it comes to making better eating decisions to safeguard our health. It may take a while for you to adopt these new habits and swap the junk food for healthy bites, but it will all be worth your while once you start feeling better and enjoying the many rewards of healthy nutrition!
Mastering the art of meal prepping
To fellow foodies who are short on time, this may seem like mission impossible, as you likely imagine the process as a lengthy and complex one. But planning and prepping the majority of your daily meals at least a week ahead actually means doubling your productivity and cutting back on time wasted waiting in line for that burger or pastry. If you’re already excellent at time-management at the office, then apply the same principles to your cooking schedule – keep it as simple and efficient as possible!
First things first: take a seat and note down the healthy meals you can rotate during the week, and don’t forget to include snacks, although we’ll go into detail on that next. Make a list of all the groceries you need to prepare those meals and keep the list available, because there’s no need to make one every week. Instead, you can have three or four different meal combinations to keep things interesting and shop differently every week, with a list standing by.
Then, you need to allocate one day of your week for your food prepping session.
For example, Saturday works great for me, because then I can have a relaxing Sunday and start my next week all set for my cravings and nutritional needs.
Choose simple, healthy recipes that can keep well in the fridge, so you’ll also need lots of containers (mason jars also work great), and of course, make sure you freeze the foods that might spoil soon. It’s easy to thaw them the evening before!
Preemptive snack attack
One of the greatest weight-gain culprits and causes of nutritional imbalances are precisely the little in-between meals you munch on when you’re bored, low on energy, or just stressed from all the chaos at work. It makes sense that you’d reach for a Snickers bar or another espresso to curb your hunger, but the bottom line is that you’ll only have a momentary surge of energy and then quickly start craving more of the unhealthy stuff.
If you’ve fallen into this vicious cycle, fear not, you’re not alone, and it’s perfectly possible to end it with some clever planning. This is where your meal planning truly comes to shine. You should focus on because you should focus on including healthy snacks for every day of the week, and make sure to keep them at hand.
Things like fresh or dried fruit are great, but since they cannot stay in the fridge forever,
You can also buy or make your own protein-packed bars, or simply have a handful of almonds or different nuts and seeds in your purse.
These healthy fat-loaded goodies are great at keeping your belly full, and they do a very decent job at slowly distributing your energy. If you’re a fan of salty instead of sweet, then fresh veggies with cheese, or a pack of healthy crackers can do the trick.
On a final snack note: clear out your kitchen and your office from unhealthy choices, and your temptation will dwindle. It will take a bit more time to say no to the nearby candy store, but consider it another character-building opportunity!
In addition to snacks and pre-made (but still homemade) meals, there is a whole range of paid options that can help you make every occasion as healthy as possible, even on the busiest of days. For example, companies in the US have started offering healthier meals to their employees, while healthy catering in NYC allows even those corporate events to have a healthy edge. Think seasonal veggie canapés paired with freshly-squeezed juices and all sorts of healthy desserts. So, yes, even these special occasions can remain in the spirit of healthy, yet sumptuous eats.
As for your everyday eating struggles, most people neglect the simple fact that they can use the office fridge to store their lunch. Keep a post-it reminder on your own fridge not to forget your lovely lunch at home, and you’ll soon build a habit of eating healthy at the office, too.
In case you didn’t have the time or the energy to spend a day meal-prepping, which is more than understandable every now and then, you can opt for other delivery options that let you pick your healthy menu and deliver it to your work. Great US options include companies such as Munchery, Freshly, and Green Chef which are all widely-loved as a delivery service for healthy menus.
Choose your cooking arsenal wisely
Whether you decide to cook in batches and freeze, order online and eat on the spot, or cook only on occasion when you have the time, even the busiest of bees needs a trusty set of cookware. A staple of every home that loves those mouthwateringly-tasty meals is a crock pot, also known as a slow-cooker, which you can use pretty much every day. There are many one-pot recipes that can be prepared literally in your sleep, and you’ll have a fresh, healthy meal waiting for you in the morning.
Then you have the multicookers which let you prep meals in half an hour as you would in a traditional pressure pot, but they also have the slow-cooking option for those savory casseroles. These handy tools also prevent using more dishes than needed to make a single meal, so you’ll save some time on dish-washing, too.
As for your smoothies, post-workout protein shakes with a teaspoon of gluten free resistant starch foods to make your gut balanced, and other healthy blends, you should also consider a durable bullet blender which is a great choice for people who travel a lot. They are simple to wash, easy to microwave, and they have the perfect portions available to keep your belly happy. Then again, if you have a large family and you all enjoy those fruity smoothies, then a food processor might be a better investment in the long run.
Find your shortcuts
While it’s true that some shortcuts, including the fast-food frenzy, are a surefire way to wreck your well-being, there are different ways to cut your cooking and eating time, as well as save some storage. Buying batches of frozen veggies is a great example, because they are as healthy as the fresh variety, easy to prepare, and take up significantly less space than fresh produce in your fridge. Not to mention that it will last for months!
Pre-chopped fruits and veggies are another option, smoked salmon and canned tuna instead of fresh fish, and of course, a wide array of pre-made items you can find on the shelves that are still healthy.
Think rotisserie chicken and other pre-made meat, as well as entire meals that are rich in protein and fresh vegetables, without the artificial preservatives and other nasty, unhealthy ingredients.
This simple selection of strategies will help you prevent unhealthy choices and finally stay true to your diet needs. Keep in mind that these changes cannot happen overnight, so give them time and slowly incorporate them into your lifestyle. Soon enough, your schedule and your health will love you for your new regime, no matter how hectic your life may get!