We are busy! Some days, like it or not, there is no time to smell the roses. How in the world are we supposed to find time to prepare healthy meals through all of this? Let’s look at strategies to make this happen!
Meal Spacing Digestion & Fasting
In response to stress, our body has a “fight or flight” response. In a nutshell, this means that when we are alarmed or “busy” our body engages what’s called the sympathetic nervous system. This is a natural response to stress. When the sympathetic nervous system is engaged; cortisol, testosterone, adrenaline, and other “excitement hormones” are released so we can focus on the task at hand and “get it done”. The reality is that our body responds the same to positive stress, like finding out you just got promoted, and negative stress like having to do 2 hours of work in 30 minutes.
Stress affects our digestive system in many ways. It can cause a decrease in blood and oxygen flow to the stomach, cramping, an imbalance in gut bacteria, and inflammation. In the short term, this lack of focus on the gut is not unhealthy, however, it is a horrible time to eat, as the body’s digestive environment is shut down. Therefore, we are rarely hungry during exercise or busy times. Chronic stress can lead to poor nutrient absorption, being underweight, and other health issues. Thus, in the short term, fasting can be a great way to handle a very busy morning or hectic day. This is not unhealthy and is perfectly natural for our bodies. Some very busy professionals adopt various fasting protocols to accommodate their lifestyles and love it as they save time and enjoy slightly larger meals to nourish their needs which they consumed later in the day when their sympathetic nervous system is not turned on.
Let’s dive into some meal prep strategies that make healthy eating a cinch when in a pickle. Taking a few hours on a Sunday to cook for the week is tried and true. It takes the same time to bake 1 chicken breast as it does 10 or boil 1 cup of rice as it does 8. A vacuum sealer is fantastic for preserving freshness and disposable Tupperware for meals can be purchased inexpensively. Flash frozen vegetables are an easy and cheaper bulk purchase, or you can get fresh veggies, lightly steam them and pack or vacuum seal them up for the week. Delicious calorie-free or low-calorie sauces can be found at any supermarket to add additional flavor.
Some of us love to eat on a consistent schedule which means that on busy days we need a quickly prepared meal that we can grab and go. Is there any hope with fast food restaurants? Even though it’s best to avoid fast food, if you are out and have to stop then follow these tips when ordering:
• Go grilled over fried
• Sub out fruit for fries
• Cut the nuts, cheese, and dressing in half (or more) from salads