How to plan a busy and healthy life

I have been a bit quiet on the blog sphere for the last few weeks… Not that I am not thinking about *enSALADes* as I have lots of ideas and projects that I would like to share with you but my internet connection is still not working and I have little spare time at the moment, I am back to the old days of plain, basic and limited internet access, just started a new job and uni again.

I have been in Perth for more than a month now and we moved into our new place a month ago. Pretty good setting indeed but I still have to adapt and adjust to a few things around here. The big one for me being that there are not that many ‘healthy’ eating options close to  where I live, study or work… So if I want to be healthy and happy I have to work on it.

Once you start eating healthy, it is really hard to go back so I really need to plan and prepare in advance nutritious and delicious meals to reach optimum health results.

As a visual learner, I find easier to write down /  draw the most important things.  This is how I have been planning for the last year and a half and it works very well …

For the purpose of this blogging exercise, I draw a table on Excel or work on the calendar of my laptop. I usually use a piece of paper for each week and organize roughly what I need and want to do as my work load and shifts vary all the time.

Busy healthy lifestyle

You get the idea …

It takes appropriately 10-15 minutes to draw the next 5-6 weeks. I also set up a few reminders on my phone.

I just use this table as a guideline in order to stay on top of things.  As we all know things can change quite quickly so I have to be prepared to adapt to any new event or change.

This is sort of what my timetable looks like at the moment.  I don’t even want to imagine what parents have to deal with hehe

Click on the table for more details

Click on the table for more details

What are your priorities?

Do I / my partner / kids / family have any special commitment next week? Do I need to do/  bring / cook / bake anything?

I set up my priorities for each day and week. I try to take into consideration any future event or commitment happening during the following weeks so I can  get some stuff out of the way as soon as possible. This especially works well if you have a big project due at work or an assignment. I also try to be a good girlfriend and dedicate my free time as a PA for my partner. I add in my schedule the important things he has to remember / do.

What time do you concentrate best?

It will help you determine when you should work on that project.  Don’t waste time. If you cannot concentrate, may be try to do something else and come back to it later. Make sure you know when to switch off any distractions like emails or social media 😉

It is very important to plan some down time. It’s easy to get carried away and I had once to be told that it was really important that I plan at least ONE thing that I enjoyed PER DAY!  Read a book, a website or blog you like, watch a sitcom, walk your dog, go for a walk, call a friend,… you get the idea. You don’t have to spend half the day necessarily but at least do something that make you smile or relax for a little while.

Are you tired? Can you power nap? Don’t push yourself to the extreme. You’d rather avoid any burnout and get a few more minutes / hours of sleep in my humble opinion…  I know sometimes it’s hard but when exhausted, we don’t usually work in optimum conditions. Your body needs time to repair itself.

I personally  like to plan few weeks ahead so I can decide if I can accept any other commitment or if I should postpone anything.

Healthy Nutrition = Cooking Healthy Meals

I don’t cook for hours (unfortunately?). I am often too tired for that or have other things that I should do. Most of the time, I just focus on cooking nutritious, easy and quick meals that I know we will enjoy. I include some protein and usually try to pack as many veggies as I can. Remember the 2 fruits and 5 veggies per day they recommend you to eat every day !? This is what I love my salads so much… So easy to get your daily intake of veggies 😉 I decide to cook or steam certain veggies and keep other raw for their vitamin and  enzyme contents. Did you know that you get more beta-carotene (a good source of vitamin A) out of a cooked carrot with a bit of organic butter? I keep my raw carrot for snacks.

I intend to be efficient. Most days, it takes me 20-30 minutes to prepare everything. I usually leave for week-ends more complex recipes if I really feel like it… Cooking for me need to be a pleasant experience!

Can you multi-task?

  • I try not to stare at my laptop for too long so I go for a break every 15-20 minutes and for instance feel my cup with (hot) water depending on the season.
  • During my break, I try to go for a walk or at least spend 15-20 minutes on my rooftop or balcony and get a bit of vitamin D. Lunch time without sun block nor wearing sunglasses is one of the best times of the day. Experts believe that the latitude and the angle of the sun are really important factors to consider. You absorb more vitamin D through your eyes!

Reading in the sun... Did a lot of that in Perth.... Studying mainly

  • When cooking dinner I decide if I want to make more so we can use the leftovers for :
  1. Lunch the next day
  2. Preparing something else with the ingredients I am currently using (see example below)
  3. Making a new recipe with the extra grains I cooked. Just make sure to keep the grains in your fridge just after being cooked and don’t keep them for more than 3-4 days. My favourite grains are quinoa, couscous, buckwheat or pearl barley.  Some people cook for the whole week in one go, I personally prefer to use my fresh products from one day to another and not leave my meals in plastic containers all week. But when I don’t have time, I plan for 2 or 3 days.

Please I need help!

Can anyone help you with your To Do list? Can anyone pick your children at school? Do your shopping? Help with the cleaning? What about online shopping and home deliveries for your groceries? Because I usually don’t plan all my menus, I personally prefer to pick seasonal fruits and veggies and decide later what to do with my ingredients but I know it works very well for some people.

Try to eat before going shopping and have an idea of what you want and where you can find it. I work in a health store and know where to find specific and ‘healthy’ ingredients / meals if I ran out of time. Do a bit of research previously as it will save you some time and unnecessary trip to the shops.

Life savers for a snack or quick meal:

I always try to keep in my fridge ready to save me:

  • Some fresh fruits. If you feel that you have low blood sugar levels and want a quick fix, what about a piece of fresh fruit? You will feel the difference straight away due to the fructose content.

Freebies from East Perth market

  • 1 or 2 boiled eggs in the fridge as a good source of protein.
  • Any dip like tahini, guacamole or hummus are really easy to make. It is better to avoid any preservatives and additives, but some dips in supermarkets are not that bad.
  • Some carrot or celery cut in sticks to eat with the dips.
  • A bowl of soup. Miso soup is easy to carry with you. Just make sure it does not contain too much sodium or the left overs of a big batch of soup you cook 2-3 days ago.
  • I often have a bowl of beans / seeds or nuts soaking in my fridge ready to be prepared. If you want to read more about this check the following article How to Sprout – What is sprouting 

On the following page is an example of recipe I can prepare on Sunday for at least 3 meals : Sunday meal preparation and 3 meals ready to go

That’s it for today.

How do you plan your busy life? Do you manage to be as healthy as you wish? Do not hesitate to let me know in the comments below.

If your life is quite busy due to changes and transitions, you might find this article useful: Easy and Cheap tips to deal with transition and change

Have a lovely Sunday!

Helene

xxx

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