4 ways to stay healthy, when you’re low on time & motivation

Author: Kirsten Seale

You can do this!

Times have been tough and maybe eating and being healthy hasn’t been as much of a priority as it should’ve been until now. 

 

Never mind, there’s no time like the present to get back on the wellbeing track.

 

New, not so healthy habits may have crept up on you, like toasted cheese for breakfast … probably lunch… and perhaps even dinner? 

 

But sticking to a healthy diet does not have to be expensive, inconvenient or time-consuming.

 

Here are a few go-to tips for keeping it clean when you’re low on time and money: 

 

1. Plan for the week ahead (and stick to your grocery list)

Get financially savvy by creating a budget for your weekly groceries and plan your meals in advance. 

 

This will ensure you don’t spend unnecessarily on expensive ‘grab-and-go’ snacks at lunch time, or even worse, ordering take-outs as a last-minute dinner option. 

 

While convenience food may seem like the cheaper option in the moment, cumulatively, it is neither budget-friendly nor is it healthy and nourishing. In fact, research published in the British Journal of Nutrition found consumption of ready-made meals to be associated with higher energy intake and with poor compliance with nutritional guidelines. 

 

2. Stock up on seasonal produce 

Adding a variety of fruit and vegetables to your diet is crucial to maintaining overall health and well-being and preventing the onset of chronic disease, suggests Harvard Health. 

 

But make sure you are choosing in-season local produce – this means you are buying and consuming foods around the same time that they are being harvested from nearby farms. 

 

Not only is this a more affordable way of eating, but seasonal produce is usually fresher and more nutritionally dense, explains Washington State University. 

 

3. Minimise your food waste and get freezer-friendly 

A great way to make your vegetables last longer (this is important if you’re shopping seasonally) is to keep them in your freezer. Alternatively, you can buy them already pre-chopped and frozen. Good options for freezing include broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and corn.

 

Generously add frozen, chopped veg to curries and stir-fry’s, cook meals in bulk and freeze your leftovers for a rainy day. 

 

Chopped-up, overripe fruit that is otherwise going to waste can also be frozen and used at a later stage. For example, frozen bananas make for a delicious and creamy morning smoothie!

 

4. Keep these staples in your pantry 

Pulses, such as peas, beans, chickpeas and lentils, are well-priced items and form part of a healthy, balanced diet as they are high in protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals, explains the NHS. 

 

You can buy these tinned or dried and they’re a great plant protein addition to vegetable stews and curries, or even toppings on your salads. 

 

Remember, a healthy diet sets the precedent for your overall health and zest for life. So, make it your priority to plan ahead – it is a life-long, worthy investment.

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