Busyness. It has become the new normal. While periods of being chaotically, crazily, intensely under the proverbial pump is a part of life, the constant and chronic overwhelm leaves little time to (properly) rest and nourish our body, soul and mind.
Which is why it is important to eat well, to give yourself the best chance getting through the busy and avoid collapsing in a heap when you make it to the weekend or annual holiday.
Here are a few suggestions on how to eat well when crazy busy.
It may sound obvious to those of us that have taken lessons from That Sugar Film. But when under duress, the sugary cravings can creep in to offer a quick energy and mood boost. A sugar crash will follow, putting the body under more stress and desiring more sweet stuff.
Choose a nourishing source of sweet, like sliced banana and berries with plain yoghurt.
Fresh, whole foods like this offer minerals and vitamins essential to supporting the nervous system and adrenal glands, while providing anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients needed when life is hectic.
Drinking each night is a common vehicle to unwind. But processing alcohol is an extra burden on our liver when, in stressful crazy- busy times, is already working hard to process things like stress hormones.
It sounds boring, but choose water. And if you are partial to a tipple, limit how many serves you have, keep it to one evening on the weekend, and savour the drink as opposed to slamming it down mindlessly.
Limit heavily processed and junk food
The easy option when busy is to grab food and go. Unfortunately, fast food, despite its wonderful convenience, will only make it harder to work effectively, stay focused, and can even negatively affect the quality of sleep. And sleep we need to power on well through the next day!
We’ve some tips for eating well on the run, but one critical guideline we can al take into the world of buying food on the go is choosing food or drink with an ingredient list comprised of simple, real foods and seasoning, avoiding those with words you do not understand.
Plan nourishing meals
It will only take a few minutes on weekend to plan, and the benefits are worth it. Before you head to the market or supermarket, get a list of ingredients to buy for 4-5 key meals you can easily whip up in a flash or create in bulk (creating leftovers for anther dinner or lunches along the way)
Then, put aside an hour or two on the weekend, and knock up some meals to store in the fridge/freezer that you can grab for dinners or take with your for lunches. Think meals made en masse, like salads, soups, casseroles, or a frittata!
We have some rad recipes to inspire you here in The Office Luncheon e-book.
Have good food on hand
Keep in stock – whether in the kitchen pantry or fridge, the desk drawer, your bag, or the glove box of the car – easy to eat whole foods.
Nuts, seeds, and fruit are a great go-to. Have a spoonful of 100% nut butter for that mid-arvo pick-me-up, either on its own or with sliced apple or carrot sticks. Keep portions of hummus on hand with your favourite crunchy veg (snow peas are great – no chopping required!).
If you have a little breathing room in the schedule, whip up some homemade sweet or savoury treats like Nutty Banana Bread Balls, Peanut Butter Chocs, Mocha Coconut Bites, boiled eggs, or Thai Chicken Balls.
It’s okay to ask for help
If you are feeling overwhelmed, and the demands and pace of life feel too much, perhaps ask for a helping hand from those around you, whether it be your partner, relative or friend, or a colleague when at work.
You may also consider chatting with a healthcare practitioner or lifestyle coach, who offer counsel, and help identify what is driving your busyness, how to choose where to prioritise your time and pick your battles wisely, and integrate more structure to create a little more space and control in your day to day.
It’s important to place priority on eating real, whole and nourishing foods. Not just for seemingly unforeseeable later in life disease that may prevail, but for everyday mood, energy and function.
Angela Johnson (BHSc Nut. Med.)