Do you feel tired and anxious most of the day? Does your busy day begin with restlessness and end with tiredness? With a busy life and busy schedule, food becomes a low priority. This leads to many health problems. The major cause of fatigue, anxiousness, and irritability is a poor diet.
With a hectic schedule, you may find it hard to sit down and have a proper meal. Due to lack of time, you may just rush through meals or choose processed food. Unfortunately, these poor eating habits may increase your stress level and weaken your immunity.
Most of the busy working professionals neglect their diet. Many times their busy day starts without a breakfast that is followed by an unhealthy lunch, and the day ends with low energy. If you don’t include some carbs, fruits, and leafy vegetables in your diet, there is no way you can get the needed energy.
A poor diet not only makes you feel tired early, but it also becomes the reason for many diseases. With progressing age, you start losing your enthusiasm towards work, and your productivity also reduces. If any of this relates to your busy life, then it’s high time to take action.
If you want to make a change and boost your productivity, then here is the first thing you need to consider. Developing healthy eating habits can be the game-changer for you.
Here are 12 smart, healthy eating tips for busy professionals:
- Breakfast Rules
Your early morning rush to work may make you think to skip breakfast. But breakfast is an essential meal that helps your body to get ready for a long day. Skipping breakfast is related to many health problems such as obesity, diabetes, and emotional imbalance. It is easy to skip breakfast when you are busy, but your overall health will suffer due to this.
Your body requires food to function correctly, and to start the day right, breakfast is important. A healthy breakfast should include carbohydrates like cereals, high fiber whole grain bread, fruits, veggies, ground flax seeds, chia, and protein-rich foods like seeds, nuts, milk, and yogurt. Including these in your breakfast will keep you energized throughout the day. So, do not skip breakfast and start your day with energetic and healthy food.
- Have Meals at the Same Time Every day
An inconsistent eating pattern can disrupt your body’s metabolism and can also lead to weight gain, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
When it comes to a busy work schedule, we set daily routines. With a planned schedule, we feel things are better under control and feel ready for any unexpected challenges.
Your eating pattern should follow the same rule. Having meals at the same time every day and having set a routine can help you in several ways. You feel prepared to have meals at the same time and allow you to make healthy choices. Plan your meals well before so that you don’t need to rush through your meals or make unhealthy choices.
Your body’s metabolic processes like appetite, digestion, and processing the nutrition, follow a pattern. By eating at random times, you disrupt this pattern. This leads to weight gain or other health risks. Eating at the same time every day will help you maintain weight and overall health.
- Portion Control Your Snacks
Hunger is the way your body responds to not eating for two to three hours. These hunger episodes become tempting, leading to unhealthy food choices and overeating. Snacking should only help you to get over this hunger and continue working until your next meal. Avoid junk food or snacks that will add more sugar to your system.
Your snacks should contain some pre-portioned nuts, seeds, fruits, or some low-fat yogurt. Portion control is needed when it comes to snacks to avoid overeating. These snacks will regulate your blood sugar level and keep you energized throughout the day.
Having a snack break is a great way to balance your hunger and let your brain relax for a few minutes. Have some healthy snacks when you are busy with work. But, do not replace your meals with snacks.
- Unplug While Eating
Multitasking or not paying attention to the food while eating can be disastrous for your health. You end up eating more if you are distracted with technology at the dinner table. Put down your phone and turn off the TV, and pay attention to what you eat.
Mindful eating is the best practice, which can improve your health. Move out from work during your lunchtime. The pleasurable eating experience will make you feel refreshed, and you can be back to work with more enthusiasm.
A mindful approach improves your psychological relationship with food. It aids in better digestion, reduces overeating, and also helps to reduce stress. When you become aware of eating, you tend to chew food properly that helps in better digestion and absorption of nutrients. Being aware of eating makes you differentiate between actual hunger and cravings. It makes you eat when needed, which helps in weight loss.
- Stay Hydrated Throughout the Day
It is easy to forget drinking water when you have a busy schedule. Many people drink coffee throughout the day to keep up the energy. But coffee adds on to this state of dehydration, which can be detrimental to your health as well as your energy levels. Dehydration can reduce your cognitive functions, and your brain may not function properly.
Drinking enough water every day makes your body free from any toxins. It is advised to drink at least eight glasses of water in a day to maintain optimal energy, keep your hunger down, and to maintain better digestion. Drinking water regularly keeps diseases and infections away.
It is essential to understand drinking water in between meals is not good. Ideally, you should drink room temperature water 20 minutes before and 60 minutes after having food. This facilitates smooth digestion. Always carry a water bottle to your workplace, and don’t forget to drink water at regular intervals.
- Plan and Organize Your Day
Plan your day and set a fixed time for your lunch. If you don’t plan things well, most of the time, you will end up grabbing some fast food for lunch. You should get rid of having sugary snacks when hungry. Such foods have poor nutritional value, and they tend to make you sluggish.
Even with your busy life, always plan and dedicate time to your lunch. When you are mindful of when to eat, it helps you to be conscious of what you eat.
Replace your cravings for snacks with fruits and salads. Carry some fruits or salad bowl to work that can save some calories. Some conscious efforts to eat healthily will bring great benefits to your health.
- Shop Your Grocery Wisely
When you aim to eat healthily, your shopping list should include nutrient-dense food that will help you accomplish your goals. Avoid buying packed food filled with preservatives, or any sugary snacks. Buy more nuts, seeds, fresh fruits and veggies, eggs, and meat.
When buying your groceries, remember you need healthy food for fueling your body and mind, and try to choose quality over quantity. To shop wisely, try to pen down the list in advance. Instead of wandering aimlessly in the shop, buying things unintentionally, be ready with your list of healthy foods.
While buying read labels for nutritional value. For example, reading labels can help you to avoid excess sugar, and you can choose more protein and fiber-containing cereals or bread.
- Reduce your Caffeine Intake
Caffeine is an excellent supplement that, when taken in moderation, enhances your alertness and productivity. Overdosing with the coffee can adversely affect your health, making you constantly run on low energy. It acts as a stimulant that raises your heart rate, blood pressure, and impacts overall health.
Instead, use pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds or some nuts as a snack for quick energy when your mood drops. You can also choose green tea or lemon water to feel refreshed. These will help you stay hydrated.
To consume caffeine in small and healthy amounts, go for a cup of green tea or black tea so that it doesn’t harm your health.
- Limit Alcohol
It may look tempting to indulge in drinking after work, but it is the worst way of just adding calories to your diet. Occasional drinking of alcohol may not be harmful, but moderation is needed, especially if your diet lacks nutrition.
With all the busy schedule of yours, you need to be more energetic, and alcohol certainly doesn’t help with this. Try to cut down your alcohol, and when you go out, avoid sugary drinks. Few small changes can reduce your empty calories. Keeping yourself hydrated when you drink alcohol is essential to avoid severe hangovers.
- Blend it for Better Nutrition
If you are finding it hard to plan and maintain a nutritious diet, you can try blending your fruits and veggies. It is a powerful way of getting a nutritious, balanced meal. Include chia seeds, flax seeds, kale, bananas, and berries to make those perfect smoothies or juices. Use dairy-free yogurt or soy milk for extra flavor and nutrition.
Leafy green vegetables are the most healthy food, and green smoothies are a great way of adding them to your diet.
- Have Early Dinner
Having early dinner has several health benefits. It is advised to eat at least two hours before bedtime. This allows you to sleep better at night and wake up fresh the next day. It helps to balance your appetite and build healthy dietary habits.
When you have dinner well before bedtime, it allows your body to utilize the food efficiently and gives time to detoxify. Also, it helps to avoid weight gain and results in a night of restful sleep.
Though early dinner has many health benefits, it might not seem practical for busy professionals. Even if you avoid having carbohydrates after sunset, it can be beneficial. Instead of carbs, eat seasonal fruits and vegetables, lentils, buttermilk, and soups for dinner.
- Choose Healthy When you Eat Out
Eating out and socializing is an integral part of professional life. Office parties and lunch or dinner with clients are great ways to feel refreshed. But overeating or having a lot of alcohol can put a load on your digestive system.
It is good to be a bit choosy when you dine out with colleagues. When you are eating out, try to apply portion control. This will help you to control your calorie intake and eat the right quantity of food. Split your meals with a friend to avoid overeating at the restaurant.
Making healthy choices does not mean you need to sacrifice on your flavor. Replace your fried food with a grilled one. Choose a salad instead of fries. Add some side dishes that balance your healthy meal. Choose wisely and eat well to stay healthy and active.Bottom Line
With increasing age, “you are what you eat” holds true in several ways. Healthy eating for busy professionals is important because it helps you with the right fuel to keep yourself productive and ahead of others in your work.
The tips mentioned above for healthy eating may look simple, but many of us fail to prioritize things well. Start incorporating these small changes in your life, and you will be amazed by how quickly they will become your habit and bring several positive effects.
When you take care of your body and mind, you will find yourself more productive and energetic throughout the day. This will help you keep yourself healthy, which means reduced illness and fewer visits to the doctor. Eating healthy not only benefits your health; it also helps you to excel in your work life.