As we trickle back to work and routine and prepare to start our new health and fitness program, leading women’s health organisation Jean Hailes for Women’s Health has a list of tips for healthy eating, however busy your schedule is.
Jean Hailes dietitian Terrill Bruere says the key to eating well when you’re busy is planning and knowing the basics of healthy eating – and making it fun and enjoyable.
“While it sounds boring to be organised,” says Terrill, “the truth is that knowing what to eat, and planning ahead will really help you eat well and feel well.”
Jean Hailes top tips for eating well on the run
- Plan your shopping and meals
Factor in shopping and cooking time into your schedule and keep your shopping list handy.
- Stock up on key ingredients
Keep base ingredients in your cupboard for quick healthy meals.
- Double the recipe and freeze
Make extra and freeze a portion for another meal for when you come home late and are tempted to buy take away food.
- Frozen and tinned foods can be a lifesaver
Don’t be afraid to use frozen vegetables and tinned foods like tuna or salmon when you don’t have fresh available, as nutritionally they are a good option.
- Take regular breaks
Build in time to take breaks, stretch, eat and drink a glass of water. Try not to eat in front of the computer or standing in the kitchen. Slow down and relax – it’s better for digestion and helps you to recharge.
- Eat breakfast
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. If you skip meals it will catch up with you with the 4pm chocolate slump or by overeating in the evenings.
- Treats can be healthy
Treat yourself to luscious berries or a mango that will satisfy your sweet tooth, instead of the chocolate bar and muffins.
- Keep healthy snacks in sight
Snack on fresh fruit or unsalted nuts and put away the chocolates or biscuits. Don’t continually graze; instead, stop and have a definite snack time when you need it.
- Ask for smaller and healthier options
Ask for smaller portions and make fruit and vegetables your number one choice in a meal whether eating at home or eating out. Ditch rich sauces, sides of chips and bread.
- Download an app to help you plan
Use an app on your smart phone to keep your shopping list and meal planning handy.
- Don’t shop on an empty stomach
Eat before you shop and you will be less tempted by unhealthy foods.
- Use a cooler bag in the warmer months
Invest in a cool bag that you can take in the car or on the train and pack a day’s eating in it the night before.
- Don’t confuse hunger with thirst
Stop using food and coffee to keep going – instead, take a quick break, stretch and drink a glass of water.
“The key when you’re busy,” says Terrill, “is to eat well and regularly so you don’t find yourself starving, tired and needing an instant food energy hit.”
Look after yourself the way you would suggest your best friend should and stop feeling guilty for taking time out to exercise, eat better or for organising to finish work on time more often.
Do a health audit and ask yourself – if I keep living like this for the next three months how will my health be?
Terrill suggests that you make changes to your lifestyle in small, practical and achievable steps. “Don’t aim to do it all in one go,” she says, “And celebrate small successes along the way – you deserve it!”
Terrill’s tips to incorporate more movement into your day:
- walk to the shops instead of driving
- take the stairs
- move around at least hourly
- notice the time you spend in front of the TV and computer
- organise a weekly walk or exercise class with a friend
- try different activities for different seasons throughout the year
UPDATED: October 2018