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Healthy Eating for Busy People

Posted 3/30/2016 by UHBlog

If you're so busy that it seems difficult to eat right and take care of yourself, we have strategies that work with a busy schedule. Ask us.

Healthy Eating for Busy People

When you’re super busy, it’s easy to forget to eat properly. You didn’t have time to make a salad for lunch, so the nearest vending machine becomes your food source of choice. But this decision may make your problems even worse.

“What you are eating can affect your mental state, your emotions, your energy level and your ability to focus,” says Jennifer Gallman, holistic health coach at University Hospitals Connor Integrative Health Network. “If you are not getting nutritious food, your day is only going to get worse.”

Skipping healthy meals makes it harder for you to work effectively. A poor or improper diet has been associated with lower energy and motivation levels. Plus, inadequate nutrients can impair your concentration, focus, memory and mood, causing you to become foggy and irritable.

According to Gallman, planning ahead is one of the most important parts of eating healthy. Here are seven ways to get healthier food into your body – even when you’re being run ragged:

  1. Put lunchtime on your calendar and don’t schedule meetings during this time. It’s important to carve out time to relax. Eat slowly, and don’t gulp down your food, which helps with digestion.
  2. Try to get away from your desk when eating. Even a walk to the cafeteria or a nearby bench to eat can help lessen the stress of work.
  3. Keep a bottle of water with you to help with hydration. Also, stay away from drinks with caffeine and sugar to avoid a cycle of highs and lows.
  4. When you know ahead of time that you will have a busy week, plan lunch menus on your off days that you can bring with you. Gallman also suggests preparing dinners in advance, so they can be easily heated up when you get home.
  5. Stay away from fried foods, chips and sugary foods and don’t eat really heavy meals. Instead, choose lean protein foods like chicken, fish, turkey, vegetables, fruits and whole grains.
  6. Keep some dried fruits or nuts in your desk as a mid-afternoon pick-me-up if needed.
  7. Sometimes you may have no viable option for food except for the break room vending machine. In that case, Gallman suggests looking for a bag of nuts, some trail mix or a granola bar with little added sugar.

“Planning ahead is really the key to good eating when you’re busy on the job or at home,” she says. “If you know you'll have a busy week, pick a day when you are off work to plan, shop and prepare for the week ahead. Remember to make arrangements for dinner so you don’t just grab something on the way home because you’re too tired to cook.”

If you want help to make sure you eat a nutritious meal even when busy, UH Connor Integrative Health Network offers “Healthy Eating When Busy” classes periodically. Visit our class listings or call 216-285-4070 for more information.

Jennifer Gallman is a holistic health coach with UH Connor Integrative Health Network. You can request an appointment with Gallman or any UH Connor Integrative Health Network provider online.

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