Hi friends, how are you?
I am busy, busy, busy! Essays are submitted but exams are coming up soon. Studying + taking care of the little guy are a crazy combo.
The sad thing is, when I’m stressed, healthy eating just flies out the window. In addition to all else that’s going on, I get so overwhelmed with having to plan out meals, grocery shopping (without a car), peeling, chopping, cooking, assembling, you name it. Lately, I can often be found eating dinner by myself because of our weird schedules, so I don’t even feel like setting the table properly.
It’s so easy for busy people, to get trapped in junk food routines and the resulting cravings of even more of that stuff. It makes me feel terrible (literally, I don’t feel good – bad skin, moodiness, fatigue, etc) and I sometimes need to remind myself of the importance of balance, even though I fall off the wagon sometimes.
Long story short, here are some of my personal strategies to ensure a balanced diet during stressful times:
1. The slow cooker is your very, very good friend! Spicy Black Bean Soup is not only high in protein and fibre, but the spice will warm you up on a cold and rainy day. Another favourite of mine is Rendang Beef Curry and Roasted Tomato Soup. It also works well to make big batches of food to stock in your freezer.
2. Layer your veggies: I often end up scooping my dinner on top of a handful of ready-to-eat, washed greens. I love the hot/cold combo and I can customize it any way I want. Works well with leftovers!
3. Pay for convenience: I’ll admit it – even though I love seasonal produce fresh from the farmers market, packaged, pre-washed and chopped veggies, fruit, and salads are all great to have in your fridge, when the least thing you want to do is peel and chop. With prepared veggies, all you have to do is throw them into a dish and you are good to go. Whole Foods hot bar is pretty steep, price-wise, but can be worth every penny if it saves you from having to stand in the kitchen for hours. I also love their oven-ready quiches (just heat and eat) with a big side salad and their spring rolls.
4. Compromise: If you do end up getting takeout, try to go for something other than burger or pizza. Subway is a favourite of mine, because I can load on the veggies and skip the mayo and sodium-loaded deli meats. When opting for frozen food, try to go for a thin crust pizza (I love McCain ultrathin spinach pizza. It’s lower in calories than a regular crust frozen pizza - 610 calories for one pizza).
5. Cheat: Even when I’m on an all-time best, when it comes to eating mindful and balanced, I always allow myself a treat. For me personally, it works better to eat a small piece of chocolate (or drink a hot chocolate…) when I crave it, instead of depriving myself from it. If I do the latter, it will most likely backfire and I end up eating the whole bar. But some people actually do prefer a more rigorous diet regime, so obviously pick what works for you.
That’s it, no scientific background here, these are just my personal, tested tips and tricks to make sure my family eats healthy during busy times. Although not everything might work for you, I hope you find some of it useful. If you have any other tips to share, I’d love to hear back from you! Feel free to contact me or leave a comment, with your time-saving strategies for a balanced diet.
Now if I’d only find the time to catch a yoga class!