When time is short it's easy to reach for convenience foods and develop unhealthy habits, so here are some quick and easy ways to stay healthy when time is short.
- Healthy drawer snacks: When you find yourself snowed under at work you may only be able to get as far as the vending machine for a snack. Whilst my office vending machine helpfully stocks Gillian Mckeith snacks you may not be so lucky so keep your drawers stocked with nuts (un roasted), seeds, soya nuts or dried edamame beans, oat rice or corn cakes. Gillian mckeith handy multi-packs of snack bags are also available in some tescos and sainsburies.
- Smoothie/juice bars: if you pass somewhere selling fresh juices or smoothies take advantage and buy one on your way into work. This means you can ebay your juicer that get's used twice a year when you've forgotten how long it takes to clean it! And gives your diet a quick antioxidant boost.
- Eat raw: raw food isn't just quicker to prepare, it can also be better for you as cooking can reduce the nutrient content and denature beneficial enzymes. Keep salad leaves and vegetables in your fridge so that you can always have an instant portion of veg with whatever you're eating.
- Quick dinners: If you really need something instant then Innocent, and M+S fuller for longer and steam cuisine ready meals are pretty healthy. However there are plenty of super quick healthy dinners you can make if you're short on time: omelette or soup with salad, chicken stir fry with rice noodles, or wholemeal or gluten free pasta mixed with spinach leaves, cherry tomatoes, garlic, olive oil and grilled chicken or cooked prawns. If you are taking the time to cook then make an extra portion to take into work the next day. Even if you're making a hot dish cook extra chicken or fish and make it into a salad for lunch.
- Use your commute as a workout: I'm usually trying to discourage people from multi-tasking - city folk are addicted to it and it can exacerbate stress, but here is some healthy multi-tasking: take your gym kit into work and jog home - it might take a bit longer than the tube but less extra time than if you went to the gym and then tubed it home. Walk to the post office instead of taking the car. If your friend is late to meet you walk round the block whilst you wait and if you know you're early get off the tube/bus a stop early and walk.
- Train efficiently; if you're short on time then Interval training can provide a useful condensed cardio workout - see www.bfl.com for a twenty minute example. For weights try super-setting where you do sets for pairs of different muscle groups, giving each a rest whilst you work out the other.
- Mini stress busters: The busier you are the more important it is to de stress but you don't need to do an hour of yoga everyday - just 10mins stretching or deep breathing before bed will do you a lot of good. Yogazone also do handy 20 minute routines on their dvds.