If you’re a busy entrepreneur, chances are you don’t have time to eat healthy. Between meetings with potential investors, growing your team and beta testing, you have a very busy lifestyle. Healthy eating habits are the foundation for strong performance and will improve your energy and stamina. Here are 5 tips for busy entrepreneurs who want to eat healthy.
Quick Healthy Eating Tip: Track Your Eating Habits
In order to eat healthy as a busy entrepreneur, you need to figure out what your current eating habits are and establish a personal baseline. You can also use a food tracking app to get an idea of what you eat on a daily basis or simply jot down your findings in a note on your phone each day.
If you track your eating habits for a few weeks, certain patterns will emerge. Identify what your biggest roadblocks to eating healthy are. It could be large portion sizes, eating unhealthy take-out too often or skipping meals (only to overeat at night.) Write down a list of your findings, prioritize which habits you want to change and work on one at a time. Dedicate 2-4 weeks to improving each eating habit.
Plan Healthy Meals For Work to Stay Healthy
Entrepreneurs have busy lifestyles and losing track of time is pretty much a given. Start by adding calendar reminders to your phone to remind you to eat snacks and full meals on a regular basis. Start your day with a balanced breakfast that includes healthy fats, fruits or vegetables and protein before you get your day started. You can make a simple smoothie or eat eggs with a side of fruit. It doesn’t have to be complicated.
Always keep healthy, calorie-controlled snacks on hand for moments when you have a craving. This will help you stick to your healthy eating plan. Try a protein bar (check the sugar content), pre-portioned cheese packs, nuts or fresh fruit. Keep a snack close by at all times (on your desk, in the car, in your laptop bag) so you’re never empty handed if a meal gets delayed.
Some days you’ll be too busy to cook your lunch in advance. So, take note of local healthy restaurants like Freshii that offer healthier options (like salads and power bowls) on the go. Make a list of these places to keep on hand. Having a contingency plan will help you make better choices when things don’t go as planned.
If you want to stay hydrated, you need to drink more water and limit alcohol at happy hour and networking events. This is one of the simplest healthy eating tips but also one of the easiest to ignore. The average person’s body is composed of 60% percent water. We need to maintain hydration for our body to perspire, eliminate waste and regulate body temperature.
20% of our daily fluid intake comes from the foods that we eat. The rest of our fluid intake comes from drinking water. According to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, men need 15.5 cups of total fluid intake per day and women need 11.5 cups. Aim to drink 8-10 glasses of water per day. Keep a water bottle at your desk as a visual cue to keep refilling it. Add frozen fruit, lemon or mint to your water to improve the taste.
Add Nutrient-Dense Foods and Healthy Fats to your Diet
Adding nutrient-dense foods and healthy fats to your diet is a very easy way to eat healthy when you have a busy schedule. Do a bit of research on nutrient-rich foods. Decide which ones you could include in your regular diet. One of the easiest tips for choosing healthy fruits and vegetables is to look for foods with intense colors – like dark green (kale, spinach), blue and red (berries.) Eggs and yogurt are also nutrient-dense, and have the added benefit of containing protein.
Read nutrition labels carefully to screen for added salt and sugar. For example, plain or greek yogurt has less sugar than flavored yogurt. You’ll also want to avoid saturated and trans fats, which raise (bad) LDL cholesterol and increase your risk of heart disease.
Don’t cut out all fat in your diet. Healthy fats give you long-term energy (unlike sugar and caffeine.) Some healthy fat options are plant and nut-based oils (olive, avocado, hemp, coconut), nuts (almonds, cashews, pecans, peanuts) and seeds (flax, chia. )
Set a goal for yourself to eat at least one nutrient-dense food and healthy fat each day. Increase the quantity as you find out which flavors you enjoy. Try using them in different recipes, or making a simple snack like peanut butter on whole-wheat crackers with a side of blueberries.
Outsource Healthy Eating Tasks to Free Up Time
If you want to eat healthy as a busy entrepreneur, you need to make your healthy eating plan easy to follow. Although you might not be able to afford a private chef (yet) you can still outsource parts of your healthy eating plan. Figure out which part of healthy eating is the most frustrating or time consuming for you. Is it grocery shopping, cooking or meal planning?
- If you struggle with grocery shopping: try delegating shopping to a virtual assistant and have your groceries delivered to your house using a service like Keep your recipes simple so that you can spend less than 30 minutes preparing your meals.
- If you struggle with cooking: try batch cooking on the weekend. Bake some healthy protein, like skinless chicken breasts in advance. Cook a pot of a whole-grain side dish like quinoa or brown rice. Then pre-chop some vegetables to add to your meals. Invest in a good quality healthy fat and some nice (salt-free) seasonings to dress up your meals without adding unhealthy calories.
- If you struggle with meal planning: meet with a registered dietician. A dietician can create a customized plan to help you meet your specific goals, like losing weight and having more energy. Avoid following fad diets that you read about online or in books without speaking to a health professional first.
Taking the time to develop a few healthy eating habits will boost your performance as an entrepreneur. Starting a company is demanding and it requires you to be at your peak performance in order to sustain growth and stay competitive in the market. Challenge yourself to integrate a new healthy eating habit into your life every 2-4 weeks. In 6 months, you’ll find yourself wondering why it was so hard to eat healthy in the first place.
Author Bio: Amy Masand is a long-form content and video script writer in the health, tech and education sectors. Her videos have gotten over 2 million views. Find her at: amynicolewrites.com