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fitting healthy eating into a busy life

The majority of my clients live busy, active lives. Juggling work, study and family life, plus everything in between. I find that their biggest struggle is being organised to pack a healthy, balanced lunch. A lunch that will sustain their energy levels throughout the day and provide essential nutrients for their overall health and wellbeing. Do you struggle with this?

I asked Hannah Brown to share her top tips to eating well while living a busy life. I thought this was a perfect fit. She has recent experience as a full time student, and has just entered the workforce as a dietitian at  Hit100, while completing her PhD in dietetics at The University of Newcastle. Although Hannah is passionate about empowering people to eat well and live their healthiest and happiest life, she completely understands the struggles of juggling life and eating well. Yes, dietitians also experience these real struggles. 

Meet Hannah

Hannah's top 5 tips

For most of us, it can be hard to eat healthily every day when we lead such busy lives. Even as a dietitian I often find myself thinking, “I don’t have time to pack healthy snacks... I’ll just buy something later” or worse, just not eat (this is NEVER a  good idea as Hangry Hannah comes to life!).

When we have a busy day ahead and are rushing out the door, packing a healthy, well-balanced lunch can often be at the bottom of the priority list. It’s just too much effort right? Wrong! I’ve developed five quick and easy tips that will help you fit healthy eating into your very busy day. These tips will make sure you’re performing at your best to achieve it all.

1.           Pack your lunch the night before

I recommend to organise your lunch once you get home BEFORE you start unwinding from the day that’s been. Make your sandwich, pack some fruit pieces, include a few healthy snacks and you’re all set for tomorrow and can enjoy some well-earned rest and relaxation. 

Use leftovers to make quick and healthy lunches and dinners (on the left), or make a hearty salad with a grain, veggies and a protein source (on the right) that will hold up well in the fridge for a few days.

Use leftovers to make quick and healthy lunches and dinners (on the left), or make a hearty salad with a grain, veggies and a protein source (on the right) that will hold up well in the fridge for a few days.

2.           Make sure you have healthy food on hand

If there is healthy food in your house you will eat it. The same goes for not-so-healthy food options. So when you go food shopping make sure you load your trolley with the best lunchbox options by sticking to the outside aisles of the supermarket. This is where you will find your fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, dairy and wholegrain breads.

3.           Think of the money you’ll save

Buying lunch at work or school every day is expensive! Over weeks and months, the dollars really add up. Thinking of all that money spent (instead of saved for a holiday) might just be the motivation you need to pack your own food.

4.           Keep food at work

If you really don't have time to prepare lunch at home, bring the ingredients to work and keep them in the on-site kitchen! On Monday bring your loaf of bread, tuna cans, fruit and vegetables so you’ll be set for the whole week - I would definitely recommend labelling your food though! The same idea goes for breakfast. If you don’t have time, or don’t feel like breakfast before work, buy some breakfast ingredients such as oats, milk, fruit and bread, and keep them at work. That way you will make sure you never skip the most important meal of the day again! You could also try this recipe for a wholesome breakfast on the go. 

5.           Be mindful of snack options

It can be so easy and convenient to take packaged snacks such as chips, chocolate and snack bars to work, or buy them from the vending machine. However, they aren't the best choices to keep your brain fuelled throughout the day. Make sure you always pack healthy options such as fruit, vegetable sticks (carrot and celery with hummus is a personal favourite), nuts and yoghurt to keep you energised and satisfied throughout the day!

You can also read our blog post 'slow it down for fast food,' for more ideas on eating well when living a busy life.

How do you manage to eat well during a busy week?