When you’ve got your head full of deadlines, assignments, long work shifts and all-round busy days, sometimes healthy eating is one of the last things on your mind. But staying on top of it by being prepared when it comes to healthy food can make a huge difference to not only how you feel but how you function too!
Nourishing your body with wholesome, nutrient-dense food is such a key part to both physical and mental health, as well as just feeling good in general. If we don’t put the right fuel, or enough of it, into our bodies, how can we expect them to perform their best?
Not fuelling yourself right can lead to poor concentration, low mood, low energy levels, brain fog, nutrient deficiencies, muscle loss, a weak immune system and so much more, which is definitely not something we want, especially when you have a lot you need to get done!
During my four years of full-time study, where I’m often out of the house for 10-12 hours at a time, 5 days a week, and constantly researching and studying, consulting with clients as a student nutritionist, working on assignments and staying on top of my own blog and work on Social Media, I’ve really come to value my weekly meal prepping so highly.
Preparation really is key to success, and it makes life so much easier too when you have some nourishing and delicious food waiting for you when you need a boost.
So I thought I’d share with you my 4 top tips to staying on top of healthy eating while you’re busy:
1. Prep some basics
At the beginning of each week, I always like to meal prep some basics that I can use to build my meals throughout the week. This means I can make nourishing rainbow Buddha bowls in less than 10 minutes, and also ensures plenty of variety to keep things interesting, as I can mix and match these basics as I like!
Some regulars include cooked whole grains (such as brown rice, millet or quinoa), falafel, roasted veggies and baked pumpkin or sweet potato, homemade hummus, marinated tofu/tempeh, stir fried veggies, chopped raw veggies and/or big batches of veggie curry, bean chilli or Dahl.
2. Go-to meals
Sometimes that hardest thing when you’re busy, tired and time-poor is making a decision on what to eat (cue mind-blank!). The best way to get around this is to make a list of some of your favourite go-to meals that you can look back on and choose from.
I would suggest making 3 categories: Breakfast, lunch and dinner, and writing down4-5 options for each category that you can easily make.
This might include overnight oats, porridge or a banana berry smoothie bowl for breakfast, and simple wholesome dishes like veggie stir fry with quinoa, brown rice pasta with a tomato-lentil Bolognese or baked sweet potatoes with black beans and salsa for lunches/dinners.
3. Stock up on the staples
I always make sure that my kitchen is stoked with some of my staple foods, so even when I don’t have time to get to the grocery store, I know I can still create some nourishing meals from what I have at home.
Things I always have in my pantry include a good selection of herbs and spices (for added flavour), tinned tomatoes and cans of beans/lentils, quinoa, brown rice, oats, raw nuts and seeds. I also make sure to have a bag of frozen mixed veggies, frozen berries, peas and corn in the freezer!
4. Healthy snacks on hand
Having healthy snacks with you is key for those times when you need a boost of energy or brain power, as well as to stop you from having to resort to options that will leave you feeling not-so-great, or having to buy over-priced snacks when you’re out and about. I always make sure to have some snacks in my bag whenever I leave the house!
Some of my favourites are: Homemade bliss balls, whole pieces of fruit, raw nuts, medjool dates, roasted chickpeas, raw fruit and nut bars or Cocobella coconut water packs!