Sometimes, you can’t do everything you need to do in 24 hours. One day can be easily filled if you have work, school, family matters, or a mix of all. And without enough time, you can’t prioritize healthy eating. And you might resort to the less ideal alternatives: instant food and takeout.
Health should always be a priority. And this statement is even truer now due to the pandemic. Staying healthy can help you more effectively fight COVID-19, which continues to threaten people’s lives even after a year of its existence.
Thus, despite having a hectic schedule, you need to do your best to eat healthily and stay healthy. Here are some tips to get you started:
1. Prep Your Meals
When you have a hectic schedule, you’ll find it difficult to squeeze in time to make food. And that’s why busy people are drawn to fast food and instant foods instead. But these options are not good for the health. For example, regular fast food consumption increases your risk of obesity, diabetes, depression, and cardiac diseases. The same illnesses are linked to regular consumption of instant foods, such as instant noodles.
To avoid these problems, considering preparing your meals in advance. For instance, you can dedicate your Saturday or Sunday to making your food for the weekdays. List down the foods you want to eat in the following week. If you’re not sure what you want or what you need to eat, you might consider checking with a nutritionist-dietitian through telemedicine and teleconsultation. Shop for the ingredients and cook everything in a day. Then put the food in microwaveable containers. When it’s time to eat, you can take a container out of the fridge, heat it for a few minutes, and enjoy your meal.
Prepping meals will be good for your health. For one, home-cooked food is healthier than fast food and instant food. You will also feel less stressed about having to prepare food in between schedules.
2. Mind Your Portions
When you’re too busy, you may eat while you work or do other tasks to save time. This scenario illustrates mindless or distracted eating. And it results in overeating. Because you’re not paying attention to your food, you won’t notice how much you’ve already consumed. The perfect example of this is eating chips while watching TV. You’ll be focusing on what you’re watching, so you won’t even notice that you’ve already emptied the bag of chips.
If you can’t help but eat while you do something else, you need to mind your portions instead of overeating. This habit ties in with meal prepping since each meal will be in a single container. As a result, you’ll be able to manage your intake and, therefore, manage your weight.
3. Stay Hydrated
Chronic dehydration is a common problem among Americans: 75% of Americans don’t drink at least ten cups a day. Dehydration can lead to many problems, such as weight gain, exhaustion, headaches, and kidney complications. Americans don’t drink enough water, even if they have access to it, because thirst signals are too weak.
Often, when you feel thirsty, you mistake it for hunger. So do others: 37% of people think they’re hungry even though they’re only thirsty. This confusion can lead to overeating.
No matter how busy you are, you need to stay hydrated. Always have a tumbler full of water near you. Although, if you only have one tumbler, your business might hinder you from getting up for a refill. So consider having two or more tumblers beside you, to be sure. Staying hydrated has many health benefits. It aids with digestion and suppresses appetite to avoid overeating. Hydration can help you stay motivated and lower your stress levels.
4. Maintain an Eating Schedule
Some experts recommend that people should eat when they feel hungry, instead of sticking to a schedule. But having an eating schedule can also be helpful. According to a meal pattern study published in 2016, people who ate regularly had lower peak insulin levels and lowered bad cholesterol levels.
Set a schedule for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. When you start, consider setting a time range first. For instance, you can eat your breakfast anytime around 7 AM to 8 AM, lunch from 12NN to 1 PM, and then dinner from 6 PM to 7 PM. If you like snacking, you can also make a schedule for it.
You may find it hard to stay healthy while you’re super busy. And that’s okay. It’s not too late to start developing healthy eating habits: meal prepping, checking portions, staying hydrated, and sticking to a meal schedule.