As a personal trainer with over 17 years’ experience, I’ve heard every reason under the sun from my clients when they explain why they haven’t been prioritising their health. "Sam, I’m just too busy" is by far the most frequently used excuse in the book.
I understand and I empathise. As a busy person myself, I get that so many of my clients lead busy lives with jam-packed schedules. However, my answer is and always will be this "You don’t have to be perfect, but you should never be too busy to completely neglect what you eat."
So with that said, here are my top seven tips to help you commit to being healthy even when you’re at your busiest.
1. Hour of power
When you don’t have much time, it’s important to absolutely utilise it when you do have it. I like to call this my hour of power. Set aside an hour, whether this is on Sunday night or 60 minutes that you squeeze in somewhere in the week, to plan your meals and cook some freezer-friendly dinners to heat up on those nights when you know cooking is off the table. If you can dedicate this one hour, you’ll already be in good stead and will be way less likely to drive through Macca’s when you know your healthy chicken curry is in the fridge.
2. Make friends with the freezer
While I’m big on cooking with fresh and real ingredients, making the most of the freezer is essential for the time poor and a great way to make sure you’re still packing protein, fruit, and veggies into your routine. For the ultimate breakfast time saver, pre-prepare freezer bags with your smoothie contents so it’s as easy as throwing them in the blender on the go. Freezing zucchini to blend in your morning smoothie is a sneaky trick my 28 crew love and trust me, you can’t even taste it!
3. Learn to love leftovers
Preparing meals is certainly the key to success when we’re trying to stay healthy, but this doesn’t mean stressing about cooking seven different lunches and dinners for the week. Save time by planning your dinners to allow for extra leftovers for your lunch or dinner the next night.
4. Make a batch of healthy snacks
I’m sure you’ve noticed, but it can be next to impossible to find healthy snacks when you’re on the run. My answer to this it to whip together a batch of healthy snacks in bulk like superfood bliss balls or fig and cashew energy balls. They're not only super quick to make but will also last for ages in an airtight container.
5. Stock your kitchen with staples
Buy bulk staple ingredients that are not only long-life but totally versatile. Try to stock up on the likes of rolled oats, quinoa, rice, canned tuna, nuts and any healthy ingredients that are used in a number of recipes.
6. Have a healthy "go to" order
Work out a takeaway or Uber Eats option that gets a healthy tick of approval. Think sashimi or a chicken and salad option and make this your go-to on those nights where there’s absolutely no other alternative.
7. Keep it simple
When you’re flat out and exhausted, the last thing on your agenda will be cooking an elaborate dinner when you get home after a big day. Keep it simple and don’t worry about being too adventurous with your meals. If you’re cooking with real ingredients and whole foods, the ingredients will speak for themselves and be utterly delicious.
The message? Don’t let being "too busy" become a barrier between you and your healthy eating. Once you drop the notion that healthy eating is hard and keep in mind that a bit of planning and preparation goes a long way, you’ll see just how simple it can be to commit to being healthy even when you’re flat out.