Life is work and work is life. People who commit themselves to that particular social economic lifestyle will endure the process of getting busy almost every moment in their daily lives. Their timings to do laundry and keeping themselves and the house clean had decreased as well as their most important timings of all: food intake and meal times planning.
Everyday we meet people and surely we would not want to be around any cranky and irritable people who have not taken the time to have a good meal let alone the persons are us. Veloso, M. wrote in her article “Eating healthy in a busy world” that by not eating appropriately, not only makes us feel tired, but it can cause some serious relationship issues when it comes to our mood. Therefore, our further meetings, appointments and decision making can be affected as well. She added that life will always be busy but if we do not eat on a schedule, our body will not have enough energy to keep up with our active yet busy life.
Life can be busy but let it not be chaotic and distressful. She believed it is real that “if we eat more regularly and eat a more balanced diet, sugar levels stay more even which enhances our mood”. From what she said, we can conclude that no matter how busy we are, a balanced diet is a must in order to run our life a success at the end of the day. This is because, bad or no food at all will only ruin our mood and our daily activities as well.
Hence, over the next chapters, this article will discuss about why, how and what kind of food intake benefit us as well as the suggested menus for those who have busy lifestyles.
2.0 Why is it important?
Malaysian culture is the culture that often revolves around food. There are lots of variety of food that are simply available almost anywhere. The questions of being nutritional come second in our community as our food often famous with deep and stir fry dishes.
Some people will think that if they consume green vegetables as a side dish once a week, they are actually taking a healthy diet and their body already has the nutrition to stay healthy for all week long. According to Sarah DeWitt from eHow.com, “a healthy diet is a diet loaded with a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, along with lean meats and other protein sources. A healthy diet is a lifestyle. We need a healthy diet to maintain good health and prevent diseases such as cancer and diabetes”.
She disclosed that healthy diet may decrease the chances of such critical diseases. According to Sue Roberts (2011) in the article entitled ‘Do We Have to Eat Healthy Foods?’, Centers for Disease Control stated that “310. 000 to 580, 000 deaths per year can be attributed to poor food choices and physical inactivity. Obesity, stroke, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and osteoporosis are example of chronic diseases which are related to improper nutrition”.
Hence, we need to maintain the health of our bodies since we ought to live happily and meaningfully. This is because, keeping our body healthy also will prevent us from stress and other stress related diseases which may obstruct our daily lives especially our busy job schedules and workloads. Even as little as dizziness and headache would cost us a fortune if our body could not keep up with what we pressured ourselves into and this is the result of us lacking in maintaining balance between nutrition and food taste into our body.
Even though we are as busy as bees, we still cannot skip the responsibility of taking care of our body. It is enough if we can include beneficial nutrients in our daily intake in every consecutive meal especially breakfast, lunch and dinner. These three meal time are believed to be vital to most of our respondents. They shared an interesting idea about those meal time and how important ones to eat at certain times according to lifestyle as long as it continuum and not skipping any meal. Perhaps some of them had already suffered from stomach problem which often caused by skipping meals and not enough food to ingest and they learnt from mistakes.
Therefore, it is important to not to skip any meal even though we are very busy as the action may cause not only troubles but also some great fortune for not working in 100 percent full self-potential and determination. Hence, over the next chapter, we will discuss about how and what shall be taken to maintain a great balance thus resulting in healthy body and gaining power with great inner strength to stay focus and be happy for work and daily lives.
3.0 How to eat healthily in a busy lifestyle
Marlene Veloso writes in her article that people can avoid going to vending machine for junk food and suffer from fatigue by 3 simple tips. First is by “eating smaller meals more often. This allows your body to have a constant source of fuel and energy to keep your sugar levels even”. Second is to “avoid sugars and soft drinks that not only make your sugar level increase quickly and at extremely high levels, but they also contain a lot of useless calories and bad sugars that are bad for your overall health.” Lastly, you should “eat a lot of highly soluble fibre and proteins that can make you feel more lively and energetic”.
From these vital points, we can assume that meal times and food intake are crucial for us in order to maintain steadiness in our everyday lives. According to our small scale research, only 1 from 9 respondents who did not care about the meal time as long as he can eat when he is hungry. He also believed that no food can release any stress. However, according to Dorie Ensenstein in the article “10 Superfoods for Stress Relief” wrote that milk is one of the food that can help to level the stress and often taken during breakfast as a good start for the day. This is because “milk is high in antioxidants and vitamins B2 and B12, as well as protein and calcium. Have a bowl of whole-grain cereal and low-fat milk in the morning to start your day with a stress-fighting breakfast.”
According to the article, there are some more stress relief foods such as Asparagus, Beef, Cottage Cheese and Fruits, Almonds, Blueberries, Tuna and Cornflakes or Crispy Rice Cereal. She also stated the recommended serving size and time. For example, Almonds can be eaten as finger food while Cornflakes or Crispy Rice Cereal is suitable to be taken during breakfast together with milk.
The real deal is to be disciplined and to plan how to have healthy yet easy meals. If we want to avoid the stress, we should plan ahead of time and prepare them because making healthy meals requires planning. We should keep our kitchen stocked with labeled food items that ensures us to use minimal time and effort to cook and prepare our food.
This is because, according to an article that was reviewed by Fristky(2011), the North Carolina State University’s department of family and consumer sciences stated that “the diets of busy families are negatively affected by a lack of planning and organization as much as they are affected by lack of nutrition knowledge.” Hence, before we brush up on our nutrition facts, we should plan ahead and get ourselves organized. This article highlighted how important the planning and being organized are. Therefore, no matter how busy we are, we need to find time to plan our meals. By shopping during off-peak hours and buying enough food to last for several weeks, we would save a lot of valuable time lining in the store and instead, we could use it to prepare healthful meals at home. Hence, we can prepare the ingredients the night before or during the weekends and packed into the freezer in adequate serving size. Moreover, we can also pack our lunch everyday. It is beneficial because we knew where our ingredients came from either it is healthy or otherwise.
From our research also, we can conclude that meal time is considered essential in everyday lives. 7 from 9 respondents stated that they needed a rather strict meal time such as breakfast, lunch and dinner. Some even adjusted the time and combined breakfast and lunch into brunch which commonly taken at 10 a.m. to 12 at noon. Reena, one of the respondents claimed that she did not take dinner but would take light supper at night since she was breastfeeding her baby boy. This showed that meal time is adjustable as long as we do not live on empty stomach. Our diet should fit the need of our body and our healthy lifestyle.
According to two of our respondents, they claimed that they needed to have finger food or energy bar to avoid them eating junkfood or when they need extra energy. The finger food can be very healthy ones such as quick fix fruits and nuts such as grapes, cherry tomatoes and baby-carrots according to the article entitled “Are you too busy to eat healthy?” and was reviewed by Marie (2011). It also wrote that we can buy pre-cut and washed vegetables and purchase bags of ready-to-eat salad greens and spinach. Almonds can also be our finger food as it has many good mineral for our body. These healthy snacks should be bagged and ready to go so that we can just grab the snacks on the way to work which is an example of simple and easy yet nutritional food choice no matter how busy we are.
In the nutshell, we can say that meal time and ingredients taken will affect our body thus our everyday behavior which will include accumulated stress over the time. Livestrong.com in an article “Healthy eating menus when busy” stated that we should start our busy day with a healthy breakfast as it will influence the rest of the meals.
4.0 Menus for busy yet healthy people.
Eating is a must routine for everybody in this whole wide world. It is necessary to support good health. However, in busy schedule, people often choose food that is convenient to them rather what is really necessary for healthier living. With this mentality at hand, people will never eat good food thus resulting in many critical diseases such as heart attack, diarrhea and allergies. Storing bad food inside our stomach is not a good move. According to an article reviewed by Covington (2010), “If we are low at time, we should learn how to make fast, easy and healthy meals.”
Therefore, we are going to share a few tips in creating good menus for busy but yet healthy people. First of all, good breakfast. This article tells us that we should eat something that “is easy to prepare for breakfast”. It continues to stress that skipping breakfast can keep our metabolism slow and cause us to become ravenous later in the day. It is suggested to grab pre-made, hard-boiled eggs and half a whole-grain bread and munch them on the way to work.
Busy people should also drink some meal replacement shakes that usually contain a balance of protein, carbohydrates and fat as well as vitamin and minerals. Blend together the mix with recommended amount of low-fat milk or ice-cold water. We can drink this shakes when we are on the road and do not access to healthy food for several hours.
We can also make fruit smoothie which is very quick to prepare and offers plenty of nutrition in the morning. In the article “Healthy breakfast on the go ideas”, it suggested that we blend fruit, low fat yogurt and a spoonful of wheat germ until desired consistency is reached. We can use many kinds of fruits such as berries, bananas, mangoes, kiwi, mangoes or apple. Fruits are rich with vitamins and mineral as well as the taste. In relevance to the use of fruits, Ary, one of our respondent said that he would take apple if he wants to feel healthier.
In order to maintain good health a person needs five to eight servings of fruits and vegetables daily. It is also important to consume different types of fruits and vegetables rather than eating the same types of veggies all the time. If we have a hard time eating our vegetables we can also make a green smoothie or even put our vegetables in a juicer. Just be sure to add the pulp back into another recipe to get our fiber back.
Protein is an essential part of a healthy diet. The skin, hair and nails are mainly composed of proteins. Protein can be found in chicken, fish, beef and eggs. Vegetarians can also get the right balance of protein from nuts, beans, soy and even spirulina. Spirulina is a sea vegetable that is loaded with nutrients and it is one of the most easily digestible proteins known to man.
According to our research respondents, many said that they are taking supplements such as Spirulina, black seeds (Habbatussauda’) with honey, Vitamin C, Calcium pills, Evening Primrose Oil, and B-Complex pills. By taking these pills almost everyday, they somehow fit the need of their body to the nutrients that are deemed necessary and to stay healthy.
According to Schwarcz and Berkoff (2004), fatty acids are very good for our health. The brain and heart thrive on omega 3 fatty acids. These healthy fats reduce inflammation within the body and reduce the incidence of disease. Omega fats are found in salmon oil, cod liver oil, nuts, seeds and eggs. We can also buy cod liver oil in supplement form and take it daily.
A healthy diet is not just about what foods we eat. It is also very important to include plenty of purified water in our diet. The human body is over 70 percent water and water is needed for almost every bodily function. Water transports nutrients, and bathes our cells from the inside out. Water helps to flush out waste and toxins and water helps to keep the skin and brain healthy. Most people need eight to 10 glasses of pure water each day, but if we exercise or work in the sun we may need more. Listen to our body and drink more water if needed.
In the article “eat busy schedule” which was reviewed by Bye (2010) stated that we can also eat healthily in fast-food chains by ordering the right kind of foods. We should select grilled or baked meats, salad with low-calorie dressing, whole grain rolls and bread and broth-based soup. As for Malay restaurant diners, we should avoid taking too much rice but resort to green vegetables soup with shredded egg-whites and less sauté dishes. We should also avoid deep-fried foods and high-calorie sauces such as coconut milk based gravy and creamy sauce.
As a conclusion, eating healthily is important to us whether we are busy or not. There is no excuse for us not to take care of ourselves. We are responsible to our body growth and function. Choosing what to eat and plan the meal are the ways to keep ourselves organized and healthy. When we are healthy, we will execute our daily routines and workload in a much better way and stress-free circumstances. Hence, we should find the time to plan, choose, prepare and eat our meals in consistent meal times daily so that we can eat healthily even with our busy lifestyle.
Courtney from Study Moose
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