Life can be hectic. Whether you have a demanding job, family commitments or just a load of Netflix to catch up on, sometimes there’s no time left in the day to think about your diet.
A busy day can make people sloppy with their eating habits. Sometimes it’s easier to just stop at a gas station on the way to work and fill your handbag with salty snacks. But that’s a fast way to totally derail your weight loss.
It’s time to get creative. There are hundreds of easy ways to sneak healthy habits into your day, no matter how little time you have. To help get you inspired, here are our top 10 dieting tips for those mega busy days:
1. Organise your fridge
Opening the fridge to see a mess of squishy vegetables and questionable meat isn’t going to inspire anyone. If you’re trying to balance a healthy diet with a hectic lifestyle, getting organised is the best place to start.
Start by clearing out your whole fridge, getting rid of anything that’s growing fur. If you really want to get healthy, use this time to donate any junk food you have hanging around in the fridge.
Once it’s empty, give the whole thing a clean, and start to put the remaining food back. Remember, your fridge has sections for a reason. Try to keep the draws free for fruits and vegetables, and have one shelf for meat and one for dairy.
By keeping your fridge tidy, it’ll be loads easier to whip up some healthy recipes without having to empty the entire thing just to find the garlic.
2. Hide the junk food
You’ve organised your fridge. Now it’s time to take a look at the rest of your kitchen.
Do you have a cookie jar in eyesight? Candy bars on the counter? Bags of potato chips lying around? Hide them. Or better yet, get rid of them completely. When you’re hungry, it’s important that the first thing you see is a healthy option. By removing all visible temptation for junk food, you give yourself a much better chance of avoiding it all together.
Next, display healthy food around your kitchen. You need an overflowing, colorful fruit bowl, whole grain crackers and bags of almonds. Everywhere that contained junk food before, replace it with a healthy option.
3. Keep it simple
Not all healthy eating has to include complex recipes and hard-to-find ingredients.
One of the best ways to stick to your diet on busy days is to get a few simple recipes under your belt. Start with things like pasta with a tomato and basil sauce, or stir-fried veggies with microwavable rice. They’re easy to prepare, packed with nutrients and will help fill you up without packing in a load of extra calories.
Try to keep things simple at the office too. Most workplaces have easy access to a microwave, and that’s all you need to heat up some tasty, low-calorie meals. If you’ve run out of time for breakfast, heat up some oatmeal. After a hearty lunch? Steam a sweet potato in the microwave and pile on some hummus and pre-cooked vegetables. You could also keep things like salt, pepper and maple syrup in your desk drawer for some tasty seasonings.
4. Meal prep
Got a couple of hours spare on Sunday night? It’s time to make some meal prep.
If you’re someone who often gets lazy with their diet, prepping some tasty meals ahead of time is the best way to keep you on track.
It’s pretty easy to get creative with meal prep. Burrito bowls, chickpea curries, chunky soups – the possibilities are endless. But if you’re new to prepping meals, start with cooking up some chicken, fish or tofu, and portion it out with rice and some veggies. You can mix it up by using different veggies and seasonings throughout the week.
Another way to do some simple meal prep is to pre-chop your vegetables, season meat ahead of time and prepare plain salads that can have a dressing added on later. If you like smoothies, you can portion out the ingredients into individual containers, so all you have to do is dump it in the blender and go!
5. Have grab-and-go snacks on hand at all times
When the hunger hits, it’s important to be prepared. Especially on a busy day.
To save yourself from swerving to the drive-thru whenever your stomach rumbles, it’s best to pack your bag ahead of time with delicious healthy snacks. If you can, try and keep your desk drawer packed with healthy snacks too. With the rise of clean eating and veganism, there are more options than ever. From kale chips to protein bars, there are hundreds of choices to keep you feeling snack-happy.
If you don’t fancy splurging on health food, why not make your own snacks? Things like cold-pressed fruit bars, hummus and veggie pots and roasted chickpeas are super easy to whip up at the weekend.
6. Keep hydrated
If you’re constantly on the go, occasionally stopping for a cappuccino, it’s easy to forget to drink water. But staying hydrated is actually essential to keep on track with your weight loss.
One of the reasons for this is that when you’re thirsty, your body often mistakes this feeling for hunger. By drinking water before you eat, you give your body a chance to let you know whether you’re actually hungry.
It also helps quell the desire to drink fatty coffees and sugary soda. So, make sure you have a bottle of water with you at all times!
7. Choose protein-rich meals
A common mistake people make when they’re dieting is to dramatically cut their calorie intake, scrapping carbs and protein from their meals.
Whilst you’ll probably lose a lot of weight in a short amount of time, these strict eating habits are extremely hard to maintain. They’re also inherently unhealthy; your body needs a certain amount of calories and nutrients to be able to function on a day-to-day basis. Cut too much out, and your brain will start to feel like soup.
Now, a soup brain isn’t exactly ideal for a busy day. So instead of scrimping on calories, try to focus on having hearty, protein-filled meals that fill you up throughout the day. This isn’t to say you should be eating burgers and steak dinners. Beans, pulses, peas, nuts, tofu, lean turkey and salmon are all great protein sources that don’t ramp up your calorie intake too much.
8. Add veggies to everything
If you’re not already doing this, it’s time to hit the farmer’s market.
Vegetables are low in calories, packed with nutrients and, most importantly, they’re delicious. If you’re sick of eating tiny portions whilst you’re on your diet, pack in some veggies. Not only will they help you feel more full, the added fiber in your diet will actually help to boost your weight loss. Plus, they’re super easy to prepare in advance.
Remember, your meals should be colourful. Rice, pasta and meat are all fine components for a dinner, but they can easily be livened up by a handful of carrots, tomatoes, red onions, beans, chillies – whatever you want. Notice how avocado toast and Buddha bowls have dominated Instagram? People love colourful food.
9. Make time to eat
If you’re trying to eat breakfast in a traffic jam or inhale a cup of soup in your thirty-second lunch break, it’s hard to feel satisfied. This means you’re more likely to snack throughout the day to make up for your lack of a proper mealtime.
As hard as it may seem, fitting in proper meals is important if you’re trying to keep your diet on track. This doesn’t mean you have to take an hour lunch break, or get up crazy early to fit in breakfast. It’s as simple as taking ten minutes in the morning to enjoy some oatmeal, or stepping away from your desk to microwave some yummy leftovers. Don’t leave it ‘till your out the door to think about breakfast – that’s how you end up with a muffin. Again.
10. Don’t do it alone
Don’t have time to get to the supermarket? Living on instant noodles and potato chips? With the rise of online shopping, a busy life is no longer be an excuse to get sloppy with your groceries.
In the wonderful world of the internet, you’re no longer alone in your dieting efforts. You can have healthy food delivered to your door, subscribe to recipe boxes that portion out your ingredients for you, and join online weight loss forums. Sharing tips and talking to other dieters is a great way to keep you feeling motivated.
“Life moves pretty fast…
…if you don’t stop to look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
If we learnt anything from good-old Ferris Bueller, it’s that life is short. That’s why we’ve compiled these handy tips to help you stick to your diet, even on those days when you’re so busy you forget to put on clothes.
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