The festive season is fast approaching for some and has already kicked off for many!
During this time, our calendars are often filled with more social outings than usual and we also may be committed to meeting deadlines before the New Year.
What this means is we can be pushed for time when it comes to taking care of our health and staying on track with heathy routines.
To help out, here I am sharing my health hacks for 3 areas of health: nutrition, mind and movement.
Nutrition Health Hacks
- Start the day with a fresh veggie juice to lock in 1 serve veggies. Tip: prep veggies at the start of the week and keep in a separate container ready to go. If you don’t have a juicer, try adding frozen zucchini or green leafy’s to smoothies.
- Purchase individual packets of frozen veggies and if your dinner or lunch is lacking in vege, quickly heat these up as a side.
- Boil eggs at the start of the week, store in the fridge as an express protein source.
- Purchase mini veggies such as grape tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots and capsicum and store in a container in the fridge ready for snacking or eating as you cook dinner.
- Roast extra veggies at night and then next night turn into an express soup by blending it with chickpeas, coconut milk and herbs.
- Get all of your staples on hand now so when shopping you only need fresh ingredients. This will cut down on both time at the shops and time having to write lists and think.
- Stock up on versatile ingredients, such as:
- Cottage cheese: use as a toast topping, in wraps, on roasted veggies, salads or with crackers/veggies as a dip.
- Hummus: use as a toast topping, in wraps, thin with water and use as a salad dressing, with crackers/veggies as a dip.
- Canned tuna/salmon: toss through scrambled eggs, add to wraps/sandwiches, toss through pasta with pesto, tomatoes and spinach, add to pre-made salads.
- Avocado: use on toast, wraps/sandwich, add to salads, mash and top on rice cakes and veggies, as a quick snack/meal.
- Legume pasta: carbs and protein in 1, add veggies of choice and you are good to go!
- Purchase a BBQ roasted chicken, portion into 120g lots and freeze. This way you will have protein on hand to add to meals.
- Meal prep a staple sauce to have on hand, such as homemade tomato sauce:
Homemade Tomato Sauce
1 red onion, finely chopped
1kg tomatoes, chopped
1 tbsp. salt reduced tomato paste
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried parsley
1 garlic clove, grated
1 tbsp. of honey
1 tsp. lemon zest
small squeeze of lemon juice
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp. sea salt
In a saucepan, add 1 tbsp. EVOO add onion and gently fry off for a few minutes, before adding the garlic and fry off for 1 min. Add dried herbs and then remaining ingredients, simmer until tomatoes have broken down, adjust seasoning to suit. Allow to cool. Store leftovers in a glass airtight container for a few days and freeze after.
Simple meal ideas using the sauce:
- Spoon 1 tbsp. sauce onto a fillet of raw fish, top with thinly sliced zucchini, wrap in paper and bake in the oven for 15-20min until cooked through. For a vegetarian version use haloumi and vegan use tofu.
- Toss through cooked brown rice or wholemeal pasta (or zucchini noodles), leftover roasted vegetables and serve as a side dish with chicken, steak, fish or simply add some legumes such as chickpeas to make into a satisfying meal.
- Use as a pizza base sauce on wraps – top with roasted vegetables and cheese and bake for a quick homemade pizza.
Movement Health Hacks
Staying active not only assists with weight control but is also an effective tool to reduce the stress that can heighten at this time of year. Follow these hacks to stay active:
- Schedule exercise into your calendar just like any other social event and don’t cancel!
- Pack a set of gym gear and shoes and take in your car, locker etc so if you feel like moving post work or post a celebration you are ready to go.
- Get up 20min earlier and go a short video at home or a walk around the block.
- Schedule work calls at a time when you can walk around in a quiet space.
- Swap a long lunch catch up for a walk followed by a breakfast or coffee.
- Set a timer to get up every 30min from your desk.
Despite the benefits of mindfulness, when time is short, being mindful is the first thing to go! Some quick health hacks, which take no time but help to promote mindfulness include:
- Sit in the park or go for a gentle walk during a lunch break or coffee outing
- Leave your phone at home when going for a walk or out to the shop.
- Eat mindfully, sit down to eat in a stress-free environment away from distraction, sit outside if you can in the fresh air
- Instead of scrolling on your phone in bed before sleep time, listen to a meditation and drift off to sleep in a calm manner.
Wishing everyone a happy and healthy festive season!