Healthy eating in a busy life

Modern life can be demanding, with most of us balancing work, family commitments, catching up with friends and trying to lead a healthy lifestyle, all while living through a health pandemic. So when it comes to eating healthy, it can be hard to maintain 24/7, often staying organised can be added stress.


Heather Leeson, Senior Nutritionist with ‘The Wellness Crew’ has some quick tips that can help in healthy eating in isolation:


1. Eat every four hours

“Leaving long gaps without eating can lead to dips in energy and concentration and can even make us irritable,” explains Heather. “Mid-afternoon is when we’re most likely to experience a slump in energy.” It is tempting to skip eating a healthy lunch for the convenience of snacks with a high levels of salt or sugar. But in fact, Heather says you should be eating every four hours. She recommends having healthy snacks like a piece of fruit, natural yoghurt or a handful of nuts on hand throughout the day. Oat or rice cakes with something like peanut butter is a great snack that can help keep your sugar levels in check.


2. Watch your portion sizes

Let’s face it, who has the time to measure the correct portion sizes of healthy food to eat, especially when you’re on the go. Heather suggests a simple way around this, is to fill half your lunch or dinner plate with vegetables. That way you’re more likely to get more of your 5 a day and less likely to over-eat on carbs and protein.


3. Limit the sandwiches

Cutting back on carbohydrates while also increasing your 5-a-day, is to switch up your traditional lunch. We know sandwiches are handy but instead of having one every day, try mixing it up by getting a salad with cheese or egg, or a healthy vegetable-rich soup a few times per week.


4. Beware of hidden sugars

We know that too much sugar is bad for us. It increases the risk of chronic diseases and can also increase our waistlines. While trying to eat healthy, we might be successful in limiting sweet treats but added sugar can be hidden in foods we eat every day. Heather explains “Sugar adds up, if your usual breakfast is fruit juice, flavoured yoghurt with granola, you could be eating more than 10 tablespoons of added sugar before you’ve even left the house,” She recommends “Instead of drinking the fruit juice, eat a piece of fruit. Swap from flavoured yoghurt to natural yoghurt and add some fresh fruit or perhaps a little honey.”

We should examine the labels on the foods we buy most often such as cereals, yoghurts and even bread. Heathers top tip is “If you spot sugar in the first five ingredients on the list, swap that product for a healthier version.”


5. Get your 5-a-day

We all know by now we should be eating at least five portions of vegetables per day and two to three pieces of fruit. Research tells us that most adults and children in Ireland are eating less than two portions of vegetables or fruit per day. Heather says “Eating the right amount of fruit and vegetables has enormous benefits, from healthier weight, to a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and alzheimers. Eating enough vegetables also helps to feed the beneficial bacteria in our gut that plays a key role in our immune system.” Heather recommends eating a variety of fruit and vegetables, and especially to go green with as much leafy greens as possible.

Source, Irish life Health, 2020. Cornmarket cannot be held responsible for content contained on external websites