It´s time to make changes to the way you live! Don´t wait for Monday and don´t wait for summer - make these few healthy changes today! Even if you start by removing one unhealthy habit every 2 weeks, in no time you will be own your way to a healthier fresher lifestyle!
I´m sure I can say for many that 2020 allowed us to focus on the little things in life and the things we often take for granted like our family and health. Let´s keep that positive mindset going into 2021 and beyond! Although many have had home office for the past few months, it´s not as easy to eat well when back at work and on the go.
So here are my top 10 tips to stay healthy and on track on a busy schedule.
1) Food prep
Food prepping is the perfect and most time saving way to stay healthy and make sure your body is getting what it needs on a busy lifestyle. It´s a simple way to ensure you don´t skip meals and you reach your food targets that should be spread throughout the day such as protein and carbs. This is important to keep blood sugar levels balanced over the day to avoid that mid afternoon slump in energy.
Food prepping can also save you time and money, as you won´t need to rush out for an overpriced shop bought lunch and waste your lunch hour. By putting in a little extra effort you can fuel your body with nutrient rich meals each day and reap the rewards!
So here are my top food prepping tips:
Always include a source of carbohydrates, fat and most importantly protein
Cook these sources in large quantities to ensure you have enough for 2-3 days
Sources should come from wholefoods
Store the portions in glass tuberwares in the fridge to take with you each morning
The easiest sources of fat include extra virgin olive oil, avocado or nuts and seeds
Add fresh herbs or fresh fruits ONLY on the day of use
Perfect add-on´s include hummus, soya sauce, fresh herbs, fresh berries & fruits, nuts & seeds and extra virgin olive oil (depending on the meal)
2) Drink water regularly
When you are thirsty your body responds with similar sensations as though you were hungry. This is why people who drink less water often eat more and particularly more refined and processed foods. For this reason, aim to drink a glass of water before diving into the fridge. To make sure you alway have water around, fill up your water bottle (preferrably glass) every morning and take it with you on the go. This way you don´t need to keep buying new plastic bottles and you will be staying hydrated.
3) Always eat breakfast
Breakfast is the perfect time to fuel up and provide your body with the energy it needs for the day. We usually burn more calories during the day compared to at night (for those who don´t train at night). Having breakfast will help you provide a more consistent source of energy for your body and not binge eat at the end of the day when the energy is not really needed. Having breakfast also helps to increase your nutrient density each day.
Skipping breakfast or even lunch removes a large percentage of nutrients (e.g. carbs, protein, essential fats and vital micronutrients) from your diet.
4) Aim to go to bed no later than 23:00
As most people wake up around 6:00-7:00, this gives you a good 7-8 hours of sleep, which research shows is what people should aim to get each night to optimise wellbeing.
5) Get some exercise
These days many of us are confined to a home office, which can make it easy to not go outside and can walk as little as 300 steps per day! If you are not able to fit in a proper training session, aim to go for a short walk or do a quick strength session at home. Don´t overestimate the time and equipment you need to get a proper workout in.
6) Limit alcohol intake
After a long day, sometimes the best thing to do is to chill on the couch with a big glass of wine. If it´s just one glass of red wine, that´s fine but if it´s 3 glasses of white or rose´, >2 beers or sugary alcohol mixes each night of the week, this becomes an unhealthy habit and can play havoc on your sleep. Aim to limit your your alcohol intake to 0-3x per week of 1-2 glasses each time.
7) Don´t eat too late
The golden rule is usually to make sure you have had your main dinner before 20:00. This is because food (paritcularly energy dense food) eaten too close to bed is more likely going to be stored as fat, as we don´t use much energy at night. It also gives your body time to digest before bed, as indigestion from a meal can disrupt sleep.
This is can be difficult for some who get home late from a busy day or who train after work. However, this is where food prepping can really come in handy again! How easy is it to grab an already made meal from the fridge and eat straight away! This ensures you are either optimising your training adaptations by not waiting too long after training to eat a balanced meal or it simply gives you a few extra minutes to destress after work.
For those who think they don´t have the time to prepare food, try to cook larger dinner quantities to have leftovers the next day.
8) Frozen is just as good
Buying already prepared frozen vegetables is actually just as good as buying fresh. If you are short on time and need a little extra help in preparing a meal, buy frozen. This way you are at least eating vegetables, saving a lot of time and getting in those nutrients!
9) Be social
This may work more on your mental health but don´t underestimate the importance of it for your overall health. To be able to laugh with good friends is the best medicine. If you find it difficult to fit this into your schedule, combine it with a workout and take your friends for a walk, run or cycle!
10) Don´t forget ´me time´
Don´t forget to take time away from everything to just chill. This doesn´t have to be a whole day, even an hour can make a huge difference! This can simply be reading a book you´ve been wanting to read or having a relaxing bubble bath with candles at the end of the day.