How To Eat Well When You’re Crazy Busy All The Time
Everyone would love to be healthy, if they just had the time, right? The Cusp nutrition expert – Nutritional Counsellor and Director of NOOD, Nikki Heyder – gives us eight ways to ensure you’re eating nutritiously even when you’re crazy busy.
The simple answer would be takeaway, right? It’s cheap, quick, easy, satisfying – a no brainer. Unfortunately, however, if we really want to look after our biggest assets (those being our mind and body), we need to steer away from that bag of prawn crackers and bowl of oil-laden stir fried noodles drenched in oyster sauce.
Don’t roll your eyes just yet – this article isn’t a ‘how to’ on becoming a yogi loving, green-smoothie drinking hippie. It’s a basic guideline to help you fuel your mind and energise your body to enable you to continue doing what you’re doing.
Our bodies are some of the most intricate pieces of technology you will ever know – what it does on a day-to-day basis without you even realising it is mind-blowing. And like most machines, it can keep going for a little while when fuelled with the wrong petrol or without it’s yearly service, but disregard it for too long and it will eventually splutter, over-heat, stall, or heaven-forbid, stop working altogether.
One of the hardest things about being healthy is the lack of time we have to devote to the process. For many, adopting a healthier diet is totally overwhelming – especially if you hate cooking or don’t know the basics of nutrition.
So here’s my top eight tips on keeping your waistline slim, your brain stimulated, your skin glowing and your friends impressed, without breaking the bank.
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#1 Get yourself organised
If you’re not organised by nature, then learn how to be – you’ll be surprised at how it will improve the efficiency of other aspects of your life, too.
Plan your week – know the nights where you have extra time or perhaps a couple of hours to spare on a Saturday or Sunday. Use this time to prepare the week ahead – whether it be pre-packaging your smoothie ingredients and freezing them in bags so that they’re ready to go, or whether it means cooking a massive pot of soup to see you through the week (see next point). The more you can get done in that small timeframe, the easier it’s going to be for you in the days ahead.
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#2 Cook in bulk
It’s easy, cost effective and you can make food that is incredibly, mouth-wateringly delicious. Soups, curries, stir fries and stews are a great way to use up left-over vegetables – just add a bit of protein and you’re done!
Some simple favourites are listed below – remember you can portion these up into individual containers and freeze them to re-heat when you get home from work or when you need to eat at your desk.
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#3 Eat a breakfast of champions
If you don’t eat breakfast you can potentially set yourself up for failure. Having a balanced breakfast each day, consisting of protein, healthy fats and fibre, will keep you alert and keep your blood-sugar levels stable.
Without that morning fuel, we allow for our glucose levels to drop too far which leaves us craving a sweet muffin, a banana smoothie or something else sugar-laden to boost it back up again.
What happens when we start the day off with sugar is that it creates a ‘yo-yo’ effect in the body – a rapid energy high followed by a drastic energy low. This can lead to insulin resistance and a pre-diabetic state. To maintain sustained energy you want to start the day with a balanced, healthy breakfast.
Don’t have time to cook up scrambled eggs and avo on toast? Then make yourself a smoothie where you have an array of key nutrients – add half an avocado, a tablespoon of nut butter, a good quality protein powder and some greens along with your fruits to ensure it’s balanced and nutritious. Top it with some nuts or granola to give you added fibre for longer sustained energy. Try this recipe to get you going.
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#4 Eat seasonally
Find your local farmers markets and eat seasonally – it’s so much cheaper and so much better for you. Knowing where your produce comes from and how it’s grown and harvested is a massive key to keeping those toxins out of your body and ensuring that you get the most nutritional value from what you’re putting in your mouth.
If you can’t afford organic, don’t stress. Here’s a list of foods that should be eaten organic, as well as a list that are okay to buy non-organic.
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#5 Avoid sugar
A whole separate article needs to be written on sugar and its effects on the body, but just know that it is in nearly everything you find on the shelves of your grocery store. Avoid processed sugar at all costs – if you’re craving something sweet, grab an apple or a handful of strawberries – the other nutrients in these foods means the sugar is absorbed at a slower rate and doesn’t mess with your blood sugar as much.
Alternatively, on your ‘planning day’ why not try make your own granola bars, or some delicious raw chocolate protein balls to cure your 3:30pm sugar craving? And if you have time to watch a documentary on sugar it’s worth downloading Damon Gameau’s ‘That Sugar Film’ here.
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#6 If you don’t understand it, then don’t put it in your mouth
Do you know what ‘xylitol’ is? No? So why eat it? Make sure whenever you’re tempted to buy packaged food you read the labels – if there is something on there that you don’t understand or that looks like it belongs in a chemistry lab, then don’t put it in your mouth.
It’s obviously not supposed to go there and our bodies will struggle to break it down and de-toxify it out of our systems.
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With the growth of the health and wellness industry, there are so many websites loaded with nutritional information and more importantly, FREE recipes to try at home. You don’t need to buy cook books – you just need to google healthy bloggers and start your foodie journey. To get started, visit our website here.
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#8 Find your local
Hate cooking? So many cafes are now becoming aware of the importance and demand for health food. Google one closest to your work or home for the days where you haven’t brought in your own food – that way you know where to go and you won’t automatically default to a Diet Coke and bag of chips.
Nikki Heyder is a Perth-based Nutritional Counsellor and Director of NOOD. You can follow her on Instagram @nood_eatnourishinspire