Between work, family, kids, school and a social life it can seem pretty hard to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Sure, eating fruit and veg is simple enough but who has time to work out several times a week, or cook super healthy meals?
But it doesn't have to be so hard, Australian nutritionist Jessica Sepel explains.
She shared her 12 top tips to help busy women prioritise healthy eating and taking care of themselves on her blog, JS Health.
"I completely understand this dilemma and have immense compassion for women who are living hectic lives," she said.
"The truth is that finding time to take care of your health can be challenging, but it’s incredibly rewarding.
"As a clinical nutritionist, I simply can’t emphasise just how important it is to prioritise healthy eating and self-care."
Here's Jessica's 12 tips…
1. Commit to food prep
Every Sunday, I schedule one to two hours to prepare my food for the week.
Firstly, I do my market shop to ensure my fridge and pantry are stocked with everything I need.
Next, I prepare my food and snacks. I peel and chop veggies, slice fruit, make healthy treats and prep on-the-go breakfast options.
2. Don't skip breakfast
Regularly skipping breakfast can slow down your metabolism and throw your blood sugar levels out of balance, which makes it hard to stay focused throughout the day.
Food provides energy and fuel for the body, so ensure you’re getting a protein- and fibre-rich breakfast.
Some options include boiled eggs and avocado on seeded toast, a protein smoothie, warm porridge, chia pots and Greek yoghurt with berries.
3. Don't be afraid of protein or fat at lunch
These satiating macronutrients will keep your blood sugars stable, which is the key to preventing afternoon cravings.
4. Cut back on the coffee
I recommend drinking one coffee a day before 10am.
Consuming too much caffeine can cause a rise in cortisol and adrenaline, which can cause all kinds of hormonal issues, in addition to weight gain around the midsection.
If you’re craving a coffee in the afternoon, try having a dandelion tea with almond milk.
5. Cook extra at dinner
Leftovers are lifesavers!
I love making a huge dinner and portioning my lunch for the following day.
Another great tip is to make meals that freeze well and can be re-heated.
Some great options are bolognese, healthy curry, soup and sweet treats. They’re perfect when you’re strapped for time and need a quick fix.
6. Reduce your stress
When your body is producing too much cortisol – the stress hormone – it can disrupt your sleep and make it hard to shift weight.
Try to find 20 minutes of stress free time every day.
This means putting your phone away and following a breathing practice, putting your legs up against the wall, reading your favourite book or going for a walk in nature.
Taking some time for yourself is so good for the soul.
If you’re strapped for time, why not try closing your eyes and focusing on your breathing while you’re on public transport or even in your car between appointments.
7. Quit dieting
The JSHealth philosophy is all about giving up dieting for good.
Simply put, dieting may be causing you to overeat and hold onto excess weight.
Eat nourishing wholefoods and indulge with moderation and control.
8. Make a healthy eating routine
It’s so important to unwind and slow down your nervous system before sleep.
Switch off technology at least two hours before you go to bed, dim the lights and have a bath or read a book.
9. Get more sleep
If you’re lacking in energy, it’s important to prioritise rest.
Ensure you’re getting to bed early (between 9.30 and 10.30pm) and getting eight hours of sleep.
Also, don’t be afraid to say no to social arrangements when you need to relax and recharge – your friends will understand.
10. Watch how much you drink
Avoid or limit your intake of soft drinks as they can cause sugar cravings and contain chemicals, flavour enhancers and additives, which create a toxic load in the body.
Save a few glasses of alcohol for the weekends, enjoy a glass or two of wine with dinner.
If you prefer spirits, stick to gin or vodka with soda and fresh fruit segments.
11. Take a magnesium supplement
A magic mineral, it helps with stress, constipation, sugar cravings and energy.
Make sure to check in with your health practitioner when starting new supplements.
12. Prep your snacks
If you’re organised and have your own healthy snacks on hand, you’re less likely to be tempted by vending machines and café treats.
Some great options include a handful raw nuts, Greek yoghurt with cinnamon, JSHealth protein balls, carrot sticks with hummus, flaxseed crackers with a slice of cheese or a protein-rich smoothie.
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