Between meeting deadlines, after-work socializing, late nights and early mornings, busy professionals can forget just how easy it is to take control of their health. Our busy lives often become an excuse when we skip meals and or reach out for foods that we know are not good for us. What if I told you that the idea of being the healthiest while being the busiest version of you isn’t as far fetched as it seems to be?

It’s always easier said than done, but the impact a few changes can have on your mind and body is worth it. Like anything else in your life, healthy eating habits begin by making a conscious choice to change. How you approach food, your thoughts behind food, and your emotional connection concerning eating will help facilitate your journey.

Habits take time, so to start you out, here are 5 healthy tips:

1. Meal planning:

When it comes to eating well, meal planning is the easiest thing you can do. Choose a day in the week when you know you are relatively free (it’s usually the weekend for most of my clients). Take a few moments to think about what you have going on in the coming week. Develop a meal plan for the week accordingly and then grocery shop and prepare your meals as per your plan. Having a list of quick and easy recipes, buying pre-chopped veggies and making junk food less accessible at home are the best ways to expedite the process.

Furthermore, making multiple portions and then freezing leftovers, for example, can ensure that you get the most out of your food. The convenience of this process will help you make healthier choices overall. It is important to remember that you can eat healthy by keeping it simple and you need not strive to always buy fancy ingredients or make complicated recipes because the easier it is for you to follow, the more likely you are to stick to it.

2. Importance of breakfast:

It’s common knowledge that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. However, in the midst of hustling, we often forget the very same meal. Eating breakfast is important for sustaining energy levels and aiding in blood sugar management. Choose a healthy breakfast that is high in complex carbs (such as oatmeal, cereals, fruits, vegetables), high in protein (such as eggs, chicken, seeds, nuts, yogurt, etc.), rich in good fats (nuts, seeds, avocado etc.), rich in fibre (such as whole-grain cereals, bread, ground flax and chia etc.).

Some wholesome breakfast options include milk, sattu paani, sattu paratha/ paneer paratha/ mix vegetable paratha/ aloo paratha/ carrot paratha/ poha/ vermicelli (sewai)/ upma/ sooji halwa/ bread omelette/ besan or moong cheela/oats with milk/ oats with vegetables/ idli/dosa with sambhar/ daliya with milk or vegetable daliya. 

Being as busy as we all are, skipping breakfast is an inevitability. So, when we skip breakfast, we tend to nibble on snacks during the mid-morning or afternoon. Try a nutritious snack next time, such as fresh fruit, yoghurt, a low-fat muffin or a wholemeal sandwich to help you through that mid-morning hunger.

3. Healthy snacking choices at work:

Getting the right balance in your diet can be especially hard when most offices these days have a pantry stocked with all the wrong choices for you. Along with that, schedule changes and delays are inevitable, which means sometimes your 30-minute lunch window can disappear completely. Try keeping some healthy snacks in your desk drawer to reach for if you get hungry, such as nuts, granola bars, or dried fruit. When buying snacks, choose them in smaller packages, or buy a larger one to share with a friend or to save for later. While, grabbing a slice of pizza isn’t necessarily a bad option, having an emergency snack supply is healthier and ensures you always have something on hand. 

4. Stay hydrated:

Yes, I know, it’s so hard to keep track of this. But look at it this way, our bodies are made up of 70% water, doesn’t it make sense to stay hydrated? Invest in a water bottle or a cup that shows you exactly how much water you are consuming per unit so you can keep track, carry it everywhere and fill it up every time it empties. Another helpful way to go about it is to download an app that monitors your water consumption. I suggest iDrate, it helps you determine how much water you consume as per your height and weight. You can also set alarms/reminders/daily targets/drink a glass of water 1 hour before or after your meals & every time you use the washroom to help you stay on top of your hydration game!

5. Be mindful:

It is all too common to hear of people grabbing breakfast on the run or attending a lunch meeting, where business is front and center and food is merely the bait to get people there. Few times a week, try taking the time with your food & minimizing screen time while eating without work getting in the way. This will not only help you take that much-needed break while working but will also help in decreased intake, better absorption of nutrients, better appetite regulation, and an improved feeling of fullness. Work can get stressful and overwhelming but retrospecting and building effective strategies will help you keep away from stress or emotional eating.

Eating healthy is about deciding to make a positive change in your life, and then applying just a little bit of effort to make that change come true. If you take care of your mind and body, you’ll find you’re more productive and have more energy throughout the day. By incorporating some of these tips, a busy person will be more successful in eating healthy, which can improve health, nutrition, energy, and overall well-being.