I love reading and talking about nutrition and healthy eating. It’s something I’m passionate about and I’m surprised it’s taken me this long to write about it on Caffeine and Conquer!
I can also relate to how easy it is to opt for the low-cost unhealthy convenience foods rather than give your body the nutrients it deserves. I get it! I’m completely guilty of treating my body poorly when it comes to healthy eating. I have the best and worst of both worlds – interested in nutrition, poor at executing it!
Since January is usually the time people are focusing on their health (eg. New Years resolutions), I thought I would list some healthy eating tips for busy entrepreneurs that I try to follow.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission from any purchases made through them.
TIP #1: CHOOSE NUTRIENT-DENSE FOODS
If you’ve never heard of this term before, nutrient dense foods are full of vitamins, minerals, fibre, enzymes, protein and other important nutrients that keep us in optimal health. They provide the most benefit, nutrient-wise per calorie. On the other hand, the opposite would be empty-calorie foods, meaning the calories provide no vitamins, minerals or other beneficial nutrients. They provide no benefit for the calories you’re consuming.
Food that would fall into the nutrient-dense category would be leafy green and other colourful vegetables, fruits such as blueberries and avocado, nuts and seeds, beans and legumes, and whole grains.
Empty-calorie foods include many of our processed packaged foods such as soda, sports drinks, chips, cookies, pizza, meats like bacon and hot dogs, and fast food. In addition to containing very little nutrients, they are usually loaded with sugar and unhealthy fats.
To maintain a healthy lifestyle, it’s important to consume foods from the nutrient-dense category. Your body and brain will thank you by being more focused, energetic, and mentally balanced.
TIP #2: CONSUME MORE PLANT-BASED FOODS
I’m not going to tell you to become vegan, so don’t let the title of this section scare you away. I do recommend that you consume more nutrient-dense plant-based foods though.
This week, the health minister of Canada unveiled our new food guide. It’s revolutionary in a way because it’s supporting the arguments vegetarians and vegans have been saying all along; animal products are unhealthy. In the new food guide, the previous four food groups, which included milk and meat, have been scrapped. In its place are guidelines, encouraging Canadians to consume fruits and vegetables, whole grains and protein with a large portion being from plant-based protein.
Also, they encourage families to cook at home more often in an attempt to reduce the high amounts of unhealthy fats, sugar and salt in take-out. Unlike animal protein, plant-based protein is usually higher in fibre, has no saturated and trans fats and contains vitamins and minerals.
By consuming less meat in your diet you are again focusing on nutrient-dense foods which is part of healthy eating. You can do this once a week, once a day, or go completely vegan, it’s your choice. Small changes can make a big difference.
TIP #3: START MEAL-PLANNING FOR HEALTHY EATING
The next tip I have for you is to learn how to meal plan. This is especially useful as busy entrepreneurs because you don’t always have time to figure out what to eat, run to the grocery and cook a whole meal from scratch.
I recommend meal planning on a day off before your week starts so you can plan for the entire week.
What I like to do is double check what ingredients I already have laying around the house in my pantry and fridge. Then I brainstorm meals I would like to make that week, either with some of the food I have already or with completely new ingredients. I browse cookbooks, online flyers for sales and Pinterest for ideas. From there I will make two lists, one listing the meals I plan on eating that week and another with my grocery list. Once the groceries are done, I already know what I’m making, have all the ingredients and can plan ahead.
I will usually plan for 2 main recipes and will make them according to the shelf life of the produce I purchased. The leftovers become my meals the following days.
I shared my meal planning routine in more detail in a previous blog post if you want to check that out!
TIP #4: KEEP A WELL STOCKED KITCHEN
Eating healthy is extremely difficult if you don’t have the staples and tools to make the food from home. You will be tempted to eat out more often, which is what we don’t want.
I recommend keeping a well-stocked pantry with staple foods that you consume often. Staples can include different types of grains, herbs and spices, oils such as olive and coconut, different cooking vinegars, canned beans, tomato sauces, powdered broths, garlic and onions, potatoes. I also like to have different kinds of frozen vegetables and tofu in my freezer if I don’t have fresh on hand. The idea is to always have common ingredients on hand so it’s easy to whip something up with limited time.
In addition, you should research and invest in some good kitchen products. My immersion blender has become indispensable for pureeing soups and sauces. I also regularly use knives, a lemon squeezer, zester and Pyrex casserole dishes. It’s not necessary to purchase everything at once, but as you figure out what would make your life easier, and allow you to live a healthier life, invest in it.
With a well-stocked kitchen, you should have no hurdles to healthy eating (except yourself, but I got you covered in the next step)!
TIP #5: STAY INSPIRED TO STAY MOTIVATED
Lastly, another way I try and stay motivated for healthy eating is by being inspired by others in the industry. This can be nutritionists or someone who is just really knowledgeable and excited about healthy eating.
My favourite sources for inspiration are books and YouTube. I used to read a lot about nutrition and I still try to stay up to date with new publications. My interest is mainly focused on plant-based nutrition, politics of the food industry and nutrition as medicine. If you’re interested in reading I recommend the following books:
- What to Eat by Marion Nestle
- Brain Maker: The Power of Gut Microbes to Heal and Protect the Brain for Life by David Perlmutter
- Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition by Colin T. Cambell
I’ve also become a YouTube binge watcher lately. There are some really inspirational people influencing the market online and many of them can be found here. I’m choosy about who I watch. I want them to have a positive opinion about food and not encourage unhealthy dieting. Some of my favourite YouTube channels for healthy eating inspiration are:
- Pick Up Limes
- The Whole Happy Life
- The Edgy Veg (if you like veganized comfort food)
- HealthNut Nutrition
That’s it! 5 actionable steps you can start today to incorporate more healthy eating in your busy entrepreneurial lifestyle.
Now I want to know, what are you doing that’s making it easier for you to live a healthy lifestyle? Share in the comments below.