Do you skip breakfast every morning because you have no time to eat (or don’t have the inclination)? When you are busy with work, do you forget to eat lunch and end up stuffing yourself sometime in the evening? Do you order a pizza or burger to stave off your hunger pangs while you are on the move? Or do you come home hungry and decide to gorge on chips or some other deep-fried stuff to keep your appetite in control while you wait to eat dinner? Chances are that you would have answered yes to one or more than one of these questions!
Unhealthy eating habits among working people is on the rise. And as a busy entrepreneur running your own business, you are probably guilty of the same. As our time schedules get squeezed, as stress levels rise and as the pressure to perform engulfs our being, we forget to eat healthy. We starve ourselves, we gorge, we eat the wrong foods, we imbibe caffeine like it’s going out of fashion…in short, we are setting ourselves up for trouble!
A word of caution to all you unhealthy eaters: our body needs fuel – it is like a car. It may run temporarily but we harm it in the long run with our unhealthy eating habits. Most of the food we eat is converted to energy and at least half of that goes to the brain. If you want to perform well at work and have the energy to run your own business, you need to eat healthy. So how do we go about eating healthy when we have no time or when stress levels are soaring?
1. Make breakfast the most important meal. However, if it is not possible to prepare a nutritious breakfast, then just grab a fruit. Or make yourself some oats and chuck in dried fruits or a banana.
2. At work, switch to herbal tea or green tea; you just need a bag and hot water. You can have it frequently because it has anti-oxidants, which play a very good role in releasing stress. Tea is also a relaxant.
3. Drink plenty of water through the day. It’s important to stay hydrated however busy you are. Keep a bottle of water next to you at all times and sip from it every half an hour.
4. You could also carry a mixed veggie stick bag to work – get a zip-lock bag and fill it with crisp veggies. Just add some salt, pepper or some dressing, and hey presto, whenever you are hungry, you have a healthy snack to nibble on.
5. Alternatively, you could also munch on seeds – melon, cucumber, sunflower, etc. Seeds are rich in Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) and they also boost your metabolic rate. They are high in protein and give you plenty of energy.
6. For lunch, always have whole grains, proteins and veggies. Ideally, maintain a general ratio – for one serving of rice, have two times the amount of dal. If you are having meat, make it equal quantities of rice and meat and for every cup of rice, have four servings of vegetables.
7. If you are eating sandwiches, you could have a slice of cheese because a small amount of fat is okay. Alternatively, make a sandwich with chicken breast or tuna. Add cucumbers or tomatoes for your veggie fix. And try and eat multigrain bread; it’s healthier than white bread.
8. Talking about rice, did you know that basmati rice is a healthier option than white rice? Basmati rice has a lower glycemic index than white rice and the conversion of basmati rice into sugar in our system is much less. Ideally, nutritionists suggest having brown rice or whole grain rice. However, if you like white rice, then go for basmati. (It’s tastier anyway!)
9. If possible, have your dinner as early as possible – as soon as you get home from work. If you feel hungry later, you could have a soup or a salad, or even a glass of warm milk.
10. And last but not the least, don’t forget your vitamin supplements. Check with your doc on what supplements you need, depending on your lifestyle and eating habits.
We’ve given you many tips to kick-start healthy eating habits even when you are bogged down with your business. Try it and feel the difference for yourself!