For busy people with demanding jobs, a jam-packed social calendar and other time-consuming obligations, eating healthy can be a challenge.
After a long day of meetings and appointments, you're probably more likely to order takeout or stop at a fast food restaurant on your way home than you are to eat a meal that's healthy and fulfilling.
But it doesn't have to be that way anymore. Jeanette Bronee, a self-nourishment counselor and founder of Path For Life, recently unveiled a new book that aims to help readers better understand their eating habits and master their appetites.
After reading the book, titled "Eat To Feel Full," we spoke with Bronee about tips for busy people who want to eat better, easy recipes they can make, healthy foods they should always have in their kitchen and more. Keep reading to see Bronee's advice, and get yourself a copy of her new book here.
1. What advice do you have for busy people trying to eat better?
"To make it simple, choose meals based on plant-based ingredients that are quick to cook, and add a protein source. Don't worry so much about following recipes and creating a perfect dish. Instead, the most important thing to focus on is the quality of your ingredients, as higher quality produce makes a real difference in your health because they contain more nutrients. Buy simple, 'real' (by which I mean unprocessed) ingredients that can be thrown together, and you will find it easy to eat healthy."
"To be healthy, some planning is required, but it becomes well worth the extra effort. Generally, the easiest foods to grab when you are on the run are processed junk foods, so to actually eat healthier, schedule meal times just like you would a meeting."
"After all, a meal is an important appointment because it supports in sustaining your energy and focus for all the other appointments you have throughout the day. What makes us feel on top of our game is our mental and physical vibrancy, so make sure to support that with good, nutritious food."
2. Can you share some easy, healthy recipes for busy people?
"My personal favorites are raw oatmeal for breakfast, my Kitchen Sink Chickpea Salad for lunch and fish and greens for dinner. It allows you to remain nourished after a long, busy day without spending a lot of time cooking in the kitchen."
• 1/2 cup rolled oats
• 3/4 cup oat milk (you can choose a nut milk or coconut milk as well)
• 1/2 tsp. cinnamon (optional and to taste)
• 4 pecans broken into small pieces (or other nuts to your liking)
• 1 tsp. chia seeds
Method: Add all ingredients to a glass jar, and put it in the fridge overnight. The raw oats will absorb the oat milk and flavors surrounding them. You can also just mix everything up in the morning before you leave the house, and it will be ready to eat 30 minutes later.
The Kitchen Sink Chickpea Salad
"When I want a quick and easy meal, I look in my fridge and cupboard to see what I can put together. There is always a can of chickpeas, so often I start there, and then I add whatever vegetables I can find — either fresh or cooked leftovers."
• Chickpeas (one can gives you two portions)
• Sun-dried tomatoes
• Leafy greens
• Olive oil, sea-salt, fresh ground pepper
Method: Roughly chop the vegetables, and mix it all up together. Sit down somewhere nice and cozy. Enjoy!
Fish and Greens
"This dish of marinated kale and baked fillet of fish is deeply satisfying and easy to digest. When eaten as an evening meal, it gives your body a good rest overnight."
• One fillet of white fish per person
• Untoasted sesame oil
• Marinated kale
• Sea salt, pepper, herbs
Method: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Add a little cooking oil to a baking dish, then add the fillet and sprinkle with sea salt, freshly ground pepper and/or herbs to your liking. Bake uncovered for 12 to 15 minutes, depending on how cooked you want it. Plate with marinated kale (see recipe below), and enjoy!
Marinated Kale Salad
"My favorite easy-to-make kale salad that goes with everything."
• Kale (curly kale is best)
• Sea salt
• Olive oil, mirin, brown rice vinegar, or lemon juice
Method: Chop the kale finely. You can make the whole bunch at once or just enough for one meal (at least five stems of kale). I normally make the whole bunch at a time because it holds up so well in the fridge. Put all the chopped kale in a stainless steel or glass bowl, drizzle a large dash of sea salt over it (about 1-2 teaspoons, depending on how much kale you are making) and start massaging with your hands. Add some mirin, brown-rice vinegar, or lemon juice. Keep massaging, and then add the olive oil.
Find a plate that's smaller than the diameter of your bowl. Place the plate directly on top of the kale and press it down. You might want to put a rock or something heavy on top of the plate to add pressure. Let the kale be pressed for a good 20 minutes before serving. (You can omit this step if you have massaged it really well). You can keep marinated kale in the fridge for at least another day.
3. What are some healthy food items you think people should always have in their kitchen?
• Good eggs (happy chickens that run free and don't eat GMO)
• Raw oats and nut milk
• Nuts and seeds
• Black rye bread
• Quinoa and lentils
• Canned chickpeas and other beans
• Hummus and/or bean spread
• Something leafy and green (kale, arugula, mesclun)
• Sweet potatoes (great to roast in advance for a quick meal or a snack to kill of a sweet craving)
• Frozen, shelled, organic Edamame beans
• Frozen peas
• Frozen, wild blueberries
• Froze filet of fish
• Soba noodles and/or brown rice pasta
• Blue corn chips (organic) if you are a salty snacker
• Olive oil
• Herbs and spices, including really good quality sea-salt, whole peppercorn and olive oil
• Powders green juice product
• Pure water
• Green tea
• Green juices or smoothies to bring for a snack
4. How do you suggest busy people deal with cravings for fast food, etc. after a long day at work?
"We actually have to look at why we crave these foods to begin with. Identifying the cause is where we begin when making a change."
"The first thing to understand is that being dehydrated and surviving on coffee or soda all day is an energy crash waiting to happen! In the same vein, not eating all day triggers our survival mechanism, which means we will eat anything that we set our sights on later! And not just eat, but overeat! We need to learn to adapt to a different rhythm of meals throughout the day instead."
"Fatigue is a trigger, but it is not from just being busy. It starts with poor sleep or too little of it and poor eating habits and choices. So to start, take a look at your habits, including your sleep schedule."
"Another energy drain is our emotions and thought habits. Learning good coping tools for emotional stress signals can help. Triggers can include unresolved personal and emotional issues, which can cause anxiety, anger or frustration, which then results in more stress and fatigue! It can be a vicious circle unless identified and broken."
"Our relationship with ourselves shows up in negative self-talk and self-judgment, which is extremely energy draining. We need to learn to be our own inner coach instead of our inner critic."
"The best plan of action is to start taking notice of our habits. This will give us clues as to which of the above points we need to address first. Short of getting out a straight jacket to restrain yourself from indulging in cravings, at night of course, this is the best approach that will have long-term benefits."