We get it: life gets busy, and it always seems like the best-laid plans just go to waste — especially when it comes to eating healthily. It’s hard to cook a dinner that’s got vitamins and vegetables when you’re rushing from soccer practice to piano lessons, or when you’re working a double shift, or when you need to stay late at the office.
The worst part? Eating fast food or prepackaged snacks leaves you with low energy and poor nutrition, which makes handling a busy day even harder. But it doesn’t have to be that way! You can take control of your eating habits.
If you’re in need of some tips to help you get—and stay—on track, you’ve come to the right place.
Healthy Eating Routines: The Impossible Dream?
Now, you might be reading along and thinking: That’s all well and good, but what happens when one of my kids has band practice and another has violin lessons and there’s no time to go home and cook dinner?
Unfortunately, many guides for healthy eating tips don’t necessarily translate into eating healthy on a hectic schedule.
Here are some top tips for how busy professionals could still maintain a healthy eating habits:
Never skip breakfast
Breakfast is important; it revs up your metabolism and sets your blood sugar up for the day. But if you’re short on time in the morning, you’ll need to find a way to take it to go: think overnight oats, Quest bars, yogurt, or protein shakes. Think of filling, shelf-stable, high-protein things you can just toss in your bag. Your wallet and your mid-morning headache will thank you!
Always have your meals around the same time
That’s just not always possible, is it? Rather than aiming for perfection, aim for the same number of meals per day. You can’t always take lunch hour at the same time, perhaps, but you can try to eat something between breakfast and dinner. Whenever possible, don’t skip meals: that wreaks havoc on your blood sugar. Nothing healthy about that.
Portion control your snacks
Pre-pack ’em, and take ’em with you! Rather than mindlessly munching on a bag of pretzels in the car, show yourself some love by taking the time to pre-packing individual baggies or containers of single servings, and bring a serving or two on your daily adventures. By inventing that time beforehand, you’ll help yourself avoid swerving into a drive-through in a mid-afternoon fit of hunger.
Keep your hydration levels in check
Stay hydrated. Reduce caffeine. Limit alcohol. We lumped these three together because, in the end, they’re all really about hydration. The more water you drink, the fuller you’ll feel and the better your digestion will be. Caffeine puts stress on your heart and can make you jittery and anxious, thus more likely to munch.
And alcohol, unfortunately, is the worst of all; your body thinks alcohol is poison, so it digests alcohol immediately. This means any healthy food you ate that evening just gets stored in your body because it took a back seat to that glass of wine.
Make smart choices when dining out
If you’re going out for dinner with friends, consider someplace where the menu is filled with delicious, flavorful, and healthy options. Who says girls’ night out has to be taco Tuesday? Or that your business lunch has to involve pizza? Choose restaurants that put flavor and health first, and you’ll be glad you did.
By taking control of your time, planning ahead, and bringing flexible options on the go, even the busiest professional can make healthy choices regarding their nutrition. Remember: you’re your own most important client. Never miss a meeting. Invest time in yourself and in planning your meals and snacks ahead, and you’ll watch your healthy lifestyle thrive.