Many busy women I talk to feel confused and overwhelmed about how to improve their nutrition habits. What I often hear are things like “Last week I was on track, but this week the wheels have fallen off a bit” or “It was all going well at the start of the week, but now I feel like I’ve lost control and need to ‘start again’ next week”. This ‘all or nothing’ kind of approach can be exhausting, frustrating and disheartening.
The thing is, most of us do actually eat pretty well… most of the time… but we all have a few eating BEHAVIOURS (or HABITS) that could do with some fine tuning so we are able to be more consistent with our nutrition.
Here’s 5 Nutrition Habits myself and Nutritionist Sarah Moore love:
1 EATING A PROTEIN RICH BREAKFAST
Ditching starchy, low-nutrient breakfasts like packaged cereal and toast and replacing them with good-quality proteins and vegetables has been a game-changer for me. Prior to this I would either not eat breakfast, just have a coffee or grab a piece of toast with Vegemite on the way out the door. It wasn’t until I stopped doing this that I started to realise how inconsistent my energy had been over the day. There were often peaks and troughs, and a devastating slump at 3pm.
Part of the issue was I’d experience the symptoms of low blood sugar, like irritability, fatigue, hunger or a ‘fuzzy head’ and then I’d ‘crave’ a quick carb hit to pick me up again, which kicked off another spin on the rollercoaster, and so the ride continued.
I had to take a bit of a stand to break the cycle. I had to choose foods that provided slow-release energy for my body to use throughout the day. And it all started with breakfast.
Need some breakfast inspo? Check out these 6 super easy breakfast ideas
2 VISUAL REMINDERS ARE SERIOUSLY HANDY
Visual reminders can lower that burden of you having to think! If it’s written or can easily be seen, you are more likely to grab it.
- Keep a LIST of meals or easy snack options in view (ie. stick a post it note on the fridge). For example you might write SNACK ideas like rice crackers & avocado, carrot & hummus, apple slices & peanut butter.
- Place some healthy snacks on your desk.
- Place a water bottle on your desk.
- Leave things out on the bench at night to jolt your memory in the morning (ie. water bottle and fruit to remind yourself to drink more water and cut up some fruit to store in the fridge)
- Having foods/snacks all ready to go in little containers on a shelf little ones can reach can also reduce the ‘burden/stress’ off of you!
3 PLANNING OUT LUNCHES & SNACKS
If you find yourself skipping lunch, or snacking because you’re legitimately hungry, doing any kind of prep will certainly help! Often when we’re really busy or stressed, we don’t notice our hunger until we stop for a second… by then we’re SO hungry we don’t want to give time to prepping a ‘proper meal’ so we just grab the quickest and easiest thing we can find.
- Do you like leftovers? Make a bigger dinner and use these as lunches!
- I like to make extra components of my dinner (ie. I’ll cook a little extra pasta or a few more roasted veggies) so then at least I have a ‘base’ to work from.
- Getting things ready the night before can be really helpful.
- If you’re used to packing your lunches for work and for school then try and keep to this routine. (Need some help with lunchbox recipes – check out Sarahs lunchbox e-book!)
4 SIT DOWN TO EAT
I admit to standing up in the fridge foraging for snacks occasionally. But I do make an effort to sit down for meals while taking a break from everything else. No computers, no phones, no TV. Multi-tasking while we’re eating diverts our focus from food and digestion. We can’t eat mindfully, appreciate our food or register fullness when distracted with other tasks. Eating while distracted also makes us eat more quickly which is bad for digestion and bloating. I make sure I take at least 15 minutes to sit down to eat, focusing on smells, flavours, and textures and take my time to eat slowly.
Sitting down to family meals is important too. Being social around the table helps us slow down our eating and eat more mindfully. Research has also shown that family meals help teenagers perform better socially and emotionally, and helps younger children learn to like a wider variety of foods.
5 THINK ABOUT YOURSELF FIRST
Most of us our worried about everything and everyone else. But we kind of need to be focusing on ourselves to start. If we don’t look after our own health, or manage our own stress – it’s only going to impact those around us.
It’s important you make time for yourself to eat. Our days are different – we’re so busy trying to keep up’ or ‘keep others happy’ that we often forget to make time for our own meals.
- Block out time in your day for meal breaks.
- Set alarms on your phone 5-15minutes before these meal
- Eat when the kids eat (even if you’re not quite hungry). Most of us put more effort into kids meals so eating what we planned for them is at least going to get us off to a good start!
Understanding more about nutrition and helping you build better systems so you can be more consistent with your nutrition habits are two things we explore more in our 8 WEEK CHALLENGE!
**Our Nutrition content is created in collaboration with Nutritionist Sarah Moore.