Eating healthy can be incredibly tricky when you are a busy professional. Whether you are at your desk all day or running from meeting to meeting, you probably find it challenging to eat your meals at the same time every day, focus on fruits and vegetables or say no to highly processed junk food when the afternoon slump hits. Thankfully, your eating habits do not have to suffer just because of your work schedule. You can use the tips found here to create a healthy meal plan for the entire week that will have you feeling satisfied with your meals and snacks, which will help you make the right choices for your body.
1. Stop Skipping Meals
It can be easy to forget about eating when you are busy learning management techniques for new managers or taking calls from clients. You may even think that skipping meals can help with your weight loss goals. However, regularly skipping meals can cause you to overeat because you will be ravenously hungry by your next mealtime.
In particular, be sure to eat a filling, protein-rich breakfast because this will give you the energy you need to get through your morning. If you choose to skip breakfast, you may find that you have difficulty concentrating, and your blood sugar may plummet, leaving you with brain fog, hunger, and irritability.
2. Practice Mindful Eating
One of the easiest eating mistakes that busy professionals make is mindlessly eating while glued to their computer screens or telephone calls. Eating in this state makes it nearly impossible to determine when you are satisfied, and it can be easy to reach for handfuls of snacks without really paying attention to the amount you are eating.
Instead, take 15 to 20 minutes to unplug while you are eating. This will reduce your stress, and you may just find that it reinvigorates you for the rest of your work that day.
3. Watch What You Drink
Drinks are easy to slurp down, but many contain many calories without being very filling. Also, even fruit juices that you may think are healthy have high sugar levels without much fiber and with limited amounts of many micronutrients.
Instead of drinking sodas, juices, alcoholic beverages, and other drinks that contain added sugar, opt for plain water as much as possible. Drinking water can help you stay hydrated, help you get through your daily workouts, keep you from annoying dehydration headaches, and even improve your energy.
Although a cup or two of coffee or green tea each day can supercharge your work, watch out for caffeinated drinks in the afternoon or evening hours. These can set you up for a sleepless night.
4. Control Your Portions, Especially While Eating Out
Poor portion control is a massive reason for weight gain. However, if you have recently been eating out frequently, you may not know how much you should be eating. Restaurant portions are notoriously large, and these meals can be packed with 1,500 calories or more, even with supposedly healthy salads.
At restaurants, take half of your meal home with you. At home, try using smaller plates, and dedicate half of your plate to vegetables. Keep a quarter of your plate for whole grains and another quarter of it for a lean protein source, which is essential to eat at every meal.
5. Pack Your Lunch
Pack your lunch for work so that you can stay away from the unhealthy vending machines and fast food options. When you pack a healthy meal ahead of time, it is far easier to stick to your healthy eating goals even when your busy schedule is begging you for time.
6. Stock Up on Healthy Pantry Essentials
When you get home in the evening, it can be easy to collapse on your couch with a bottle of wine and a container of cookies or a bag of chips. However, when your pantry and refrigerator are already loaded with nutritious foods, it becomes far easier to reach for something healthier.
For snacks, stock up on pumpkin and sunflower seeds, almonds, salsa, cheese sticks, and Greek yogurt. Purchase chia seeds and frozen berries to mix into your yogurt.
Some easy essentials that can serve as the building blocks for nutritious yet straightforward breakfasts, lunches, and dinners include boxed organic soup, frozen vegetables, canned beans, oatmeal, whole-wheat pasta, and sugar-free pasta sauce. Keep a wide range of spices along with olive oil and apple cider vinegar on hand to create a delicious sauté or stir fry.
7. Save Time on Shopping
Grocery shopping can take a considerable chunk of time out of your day and maybe something you typically avoid. However, there is plenty of grocery delivery or pickup options available today to make your life easier. You will find that this service is invaluable and lets you get the healthy ingredients you need without worrying about impulse shopping. You might also want to consider a meal delivery service that sends you the perfect amounts of each ingredient you need to create a simple dinner.
8. Let Someone Else Do the Chopping and Dicing for You
Whether you do your shopping or depend on a grocery delivery service, you can save yourself even more time by opting for pre-chopped fresh fruits and vegetables and even pre-cooked meats. Although you may initially balk at this because of the added price, your body will appreciate the increased amount of healthy foods you feed it thanks to more convenient ingredients.
9. Meal Prep on Weekends
Taking an hour or two to meal plan on a Sunday night sets you up for eating healthfully all week long. Meal planning can reduce your stress, help you save money on food, and reduce food waste all week long. Chop up fruits and vegetables for breakfasts and lunches, precook brown rice to serve as bases for your lean proteins and vegetables, prepare all ingredients for an upcoming crockpot or sheet pan meal, and put casseroles together so that all you have to do is bake them. Healthy eating for busy professionals does not have to be difficult when you learn to start taking care of some of the most time-consuming preparation work before the week even starts.
10. Depend on Your Blender
Get ready for the busy day ahead of you with a delicious blended breakfast drink. Your blender can make a wholesome drink that you can quickly suck down, but that still includes all of the vitamins and minerals that your body needs to stay healthy. You can add a wide range of vegetables, healthy oils, and seeds to your blender and sweeten them all up naturally with frozen berries. Consider investing in a high-powered blender that will help you save time while creating perfectly smooth drinks.
11. Let Your Appliances Do the Work
A crockpot is a simple appliance that lets you put all of your meal ingredients into it in the morning before turning it on and forgetting about it for the rest of the day. By the time you get home, you have a healthy soup, roast, or stew waiting for you. Plus, crockpots are excellent at turning cheaper cuts of meat into tender delicacies.
Another good investment is the instant pot. If you are pressed for time when you get home, an instant pot can shorten the amount of time it takes to get supper on the table. For example, it can take only a half-hour to cook an entire chicken in your instant pot.
Healthy eating for busy professionals does not have to be complicated. Instead, by applying a bit of planning and making a commitment to stick to your goals despite your busy life, you can feel good about the food decisions you are making while also improving your overall physical health. With these tips, you can say goodbye to junk food and hello to eating healthy all day long, no matter how many people and tasks are vying for your attention.
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