Life gets busy. Let’s face it: a lot of us have demanding schedules, and finding the time to maintain a healthy lifestyle can be tough. But there are small habits you can start incorporating into your daily life that will make you healthier, even when you’re on the go or working long hours.
1) Plan Ahead
I cannot stress this point enough. No matter how busy your life is, committing to a few hours of planning your week on Sunday afternoon is a game-changer. If you plan (and prep) your meals ahead of time, you won’t have to think about them for the rest of the week. Just grab that container of Thai quinoa and go!
2) Invest in a crockpot
Another great tool for being healthy with a busy schedule is using a crockpot. Throw the ingredients in the pot, turn it on, and you’ll come home to a ready-cooked meal. Just dish it up, and enjoy! Bonus points for refrigerating the leftovers and taking them for lunch the next day.
3) Cook once, eat two or three times
While we’re on the subject, a great time-saver is cooking a big pot of something and then either freezing it or repurposing it. I like to make a big batch of quinoa, and use it for dinner one night, breakfast the next morning (you can make it like oatmeal!), and add it to a salad at lunch for some extra protein.
4) Keep healthy snacks on hand
One of my unhealthiest habits back in the day was skipping breakfast, then going to work, waiting until I was ravenous, and running to Starbucks for a latte and breakfast sandwich. I would scarf it all down, and then wonder why I had an upset stomach and wasn’t losing weight. Now (in addition to eating a healthy breakfast every morning), I make sure to keep healthy snacks on hand. Some of my favourites include nuts, fresh fruit, veggies and hummus, hardboiled eggs, or a can of tuna and half an avocado (if I’m really hungry!).
5) If you can afford it, consider a grocery delivery service
This page lists some great companies like Blue Apron and Plated, that are sprouting up all over the place. The idea behind them is to bring fresh, healthy ingredients right to your doorstep. Most of the ingredients will be pre-measured and come with specific cooking instructions. All you have to do is put it all together, and you’ve got yourself a gourmet meal. Bon appetit!
6) Always carry water
Hands down one of the easiest ways to be healthier right now is to drink a big glass of water. I start my day off with warm lemon water, and then I carry a water bottle with me all day. I aim for 2 litres of water per day (about 70 oz), and I notice it affects my energy, skin, mood, and weight. Even if you’re busy, this one is totally doable!
7) Squeeze in a short workout
When it comes to exercise, please don’t think you need to put in 90 minutes on the elliptical to lose weight. You don’t! Focus on HIIT (high intensity interval training), and full body exercises - think burpees, push ups, kettlebell swings, and squats. On days when I can’t get a full class or workout in, I head to YouTube to find a 15 minute workout. It seems short, but by the end of it I’m sweaty and my heartrate is up, and I notice those little workouts really add up.
8) Walk when you can
Speaking of small actions adding up, a big tip I have for people is to walk when they can. I make it a point to park at the back of the parking lot, take the stairs when I can, and walk to get the mail. Even if you’re busy, incorporating these little healthy habits will really get you moving in the right direction.
Another good habit to get into is getting good quality sleep. Especially if you’re busy! I know we all want to give up sleep in favour of getting more done, but in the long run it has the exact opposite effect. Getting a good night’s sleep is what will allow you to be energetic and productive the next day. A great way to get better sleep is to unplug about an hour before bed, do a bit of light yoga or meditation, and go to bed at the same time each night. It also helps with weight loss, so don’t skimp on it!
10) Make time for you
No matter how busy you are, you deserve time for yourself. Make it a priority to recharge in whatever way works best for you. It will keep you happy, healthy, and able to tackle all that you do!