It’s a common problem: The average person works more hours and is at home with time to cook and prepare food less than ever before. If you are following a Paleo lifestyle, you are trying to add daily movement, time outdoors and adequate sleep into your busy schedule too! It is no wonder many people rely on quick options: Microwaveable meals, fast food, take out from the local burger joint and so on. However, it is possible to find time to nourish yourself and your family.
To begin, you need to prioritize your self-care because you are your biggest asset in both business and life. If your mind is not sharp and focused, your body is not strong and healthy and your energy is not steady, how can you possibly take care of all your responsibilities effectively? As a busy person, you need every advantage possible. You can only give your 100% to everyone and everything when you are operating at your full potential.
When it comes to being in the kitchen, there are some simple steps you can take to make the most of the little time you have:
Buy In Bulk & Plan
When you go to the market or grocery store, make sure you buy enough food for several days, even a week. Plan what you will be eating over the week and get the shopping done in one go.
Pack Salads For A Week
On the weekend mix up a big container of salad ingredients that can last several days. Use a container with a tightly fitting lid, chop up leafy greens along with some seasonal non-starchy vegetables such as cucumber, bell pepper, radishes and cherry tomatoes and mix it all up. In the morning before you are off to work, you just grab the container from the fridge and put some of the salad in your lunch box. Add olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, half an avocado, and serve with part of last night’s dinner for protein. If you prefer, you can also pack 5 salads in 5 bags or mason jars instead of the big container.
Create A Healthy Meal Repertoire
Decision fatigue is a reality. After a long day at work, looking after your children or traveling, the last thing you seem to have the energy for is choosing a new Paleo friendly recipe when it is so much easier to default to one of your regular grain filled or highly processed heavy comfort foods even though you are well aware these will leave you feeling less than your best the following day. Remove the need to make yet another decision by creating a list of ‘go to’ healthy options so you no longer need to dwell on it
Cook In Bulk
Most of the time it takes little extra effort to cook a larger portion where you have leftovers for easy lunch and dinner options. When grilling a chicken for dinner, cook up 2 or 3 chickens instead of one, and freeze the leftovers, or use leftovers for lunches. If you are making burgers, use a large griddle and make 8 burger patties instead of 4 for an easy leftover lunch. Make an extra large sized stir-fry with lots of vegetables and some meat so you can pack the leftovers portion-sized containers and freeze for easy dinners.
Be Prepared With Snacks
When you find yourself constantly on the go, meals are not always readily available when hunger strikes. To avoid feeling ‘hangry’ or getting distracted or moody it is essential to have a nutrient dense snack on hand.
Stash conveniently packaged single serving paleo snacks bars or individual nut butter packs in your work bag, office desk, or even in your glove compartment so you can give your body energy rich fuel when you start to feel those first pangs of hunger.
This will ensure your energy levels are steady and focus is strong until you can get a real meal, but it will also prevent you from hitting the point of hanger where those donuts in the break room start to seem like a good idea.
Keep Broth On Hand
Keep homemade bone broth or Pete’s Paleo ready-to-go version in suitable sized containers in your freezer. A quick lunch or dinner option is right at hand. Chop up some vegetables and add some protein to add to the broth, and simmer until cooked through and tender.
Pickles And Fermented Vegetables Make Great Sides
Always keep fermented foods in your fridge. They provide easy options for salads or vegetable side dishes I no leftovers are available. Pickled vegetables can also spruce up a bland dish. Sauerkraut or kimchi are good side dishes. Keeping some frozen vegetables in the freezer as a last resort are also good options when time and variety are short.
Make Use Of Your Weekends
Make an effort to schedule in some prepping or a cooking project on your off time or during the weekend. This is the time to get some bulk cooking done, perhaps try your hand at making a coconut milk yogurt or maybe even fermenting your own vegetable. This will set you up for success during your busy week. Taking an hour or two away from mindless activities (like watching TV or surfing the internet) will go a long way in making your week more productive and relaxing.
Use Technology To Your Advantage
It’s true! There always is an ‘app for that,’ even in the health and wellness world. There are numerous nutrition practices that you want to remember, so take advantage of technology to help keep your healthy habits in check. Simply visit your app store and type in whatever you need some extra support with, download, and set it up to your specifications. There are water trackers, macronutrient trackers, recipe apps, shopping list and meal planning generators and even an app to remind you it may be time to wind down in the evening to get your sleep and relaxation time in.
One of the most common excuses I hear from busy clients is that they do not have the time to maintain their Paleo lifestyle. The truth is, if you have time to eat, you have time to eat healthy and maintain your Paleo lifestyle. You can get anything you want delivered directly to you – and food is no exception!
If you have no time to grocery shop, online services like Amazon Fresh or Instacart will do it for you and many local grocery stores allow you to order online and pick it up or get it delivered
If meal preparation and cooking seem overwhelming to you, Pete’s Paleo meals deliver delicious, nutritious Paleo meals right to your door – every week! There are a variety of options to suit every taste and preference.
Just in case you never got to order your Pete’s Paleo meals on time for the week, there are services that will deliver food from your favorite Paleo friendly establishment and they are just a phone call or an app away.
By taking a few minutes to place an order online, you can get fresh, healthy, Paleo friendly food delivered directly to you in less active time than it would take to visit your nearest fast food/comfort food establishment.
When you lead a busy lifestyle, there are times the work/life balance can easily seem overwhelming. If you feel your time is limited, the best healthy practices are to continue to feed your body real food and get 8 hours of quality sleep. This will keep your energy steady, your brain sharp and focused, your sugar cravings in check, and maintain your mental fortitude. These are all incredibly important qualities in times of extreme stress and pressure. You have to eat regardless, so why not nourish yourself to the best of your ability?
At first, incorporating these healthy hacks into your busy life may take a little extra effort, but with consistency and practice, these changes will soon turn into effortless habits, allowing you to tackle whatever your busy life throws at you with ease, confident that you are operating at the highest level of you.
Michal Ofer is a wellness and digestion expert and nutrition coach. She is focused on assisting clients to take control of their health and happiness through the sustainable food and lifestyle choices that best support them. Through strengthening the body from the inside out, her clients are able to reach new heights of health, happiness and wellness. Michal obtained her Professional Training and Certificate from The Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York. She has a further studied through the University of Colorado (Boulder) and Stanford University and is a Certified 21 Day Sugar Detox Coach. Michal has also received a Bachelor’s Degree in Life Sciences and a Master Life Coach Certification. For further information and to connect with Michal visit her website at www.michalofer.com