"I want to eat healthy, but I'm too busy!"
Do you know any woman who has never said this? I doubt it. Today we are busier than ever. Work, kids, and even our fun activities keep us moving on tight schedules. The days and nights run together like an endless roller coaster with no exit in sight. As we navigate the twists and turns of this adventure, we meet that deadline at work and get everyone where they need to be while our own needs fall right off the track. How many times have you made sure all the lunches get packed and then scrounge your own desk for a stale granola bar? Or got everyone fed and down for naps and then realized your own plate was never fixed? Thoughts of a warm meal with organic greens and pasture raised beef barely form after a grueling meeting and are pushed out the window on the way to soccer practice.
Sound familiar? Like you, many women are stressed out, not eating right and left sick and tired. It may seem like a badge of honor to say “I'm too busy for myself,” but the truth is our health suffers for it. "Poor nutrition can also cause conditions such as hypertension, gout, high cholesterol, diabetes, strokes and some cancers. It may also lead to vitamin and mineral deficiencies, like anemia." When our health suffers it affects everyone around us. Kids are late to practice, homework goes unchecked and those work projects get delayed. It's a viscous cycle and eating healthy seems like a hopeless cause.
What's a busy gal to do? Here are 3 tips to make healthy food happen for you:
1. Start small.
Small changes over time yield much healthier results than a flurry of activity that leaves you back where you started. Time and time again, I've watched well-intentioned women embark on a mission to overhaul everything at once. After a few overwhelming weeks of complete pantry clean-outs, stressful meal-planning marathons, and endless visits to specialty stores, it all collapses back to greasy take-out and frozen pizza. Instead of the all or none approach, try changing one habit at a time. Plan one new meal to cook each week for a month and then add one more. Tackle one shelf of the pantry to healthy-up at a time. Pick one store to buy most of your groceries at and save the specialty items for special occasions.
2. Utilize frozen and even canned vegetables.
Eating fresh produce is exciting, but does take a bit of prep time. Frozen and canned veggies are easily accessed and table ready in just a few minutes. That is literally how I started my effort to eat better, rotating cans of corn, green beans and peas throughout the week. Eventually I upped the culinary ante, but at the time it was an easy way to add nutrition to any meal. It still is a practical tool for my teens today as they learn to prepare their own food.
3. When you do take time to prep, make it count.
While the cutting board is out, make a double salad to pack for several lunches. Cut up a few extra veggies for quick snacks. If baked or grilled chicken is on the menu, cook two trays instead of just one, then chop and freeze the extra for another recipe.
Keeping it Real: Life will always be a wild ride, but you can steer the course towards better health by incorporating a few easy changes at a pace that works with your busy schedule.