Eating right isn’t only good for your physique, it’s good for your overall health and success. But it can be difficult to maintain a healthy diet as an entrepreneur. You’re eating out with investors and buyers. You’re in commute going from one meeting to the next, often finishing the day with an evening happy hour. When you’re not traveling or networking, you’re slouched in front of the computer for hours at a time. Let’s not forget the time we spend with family and friends, either.
A healthy diet doesn’t happen by accident. It’s all about preparation and discipline. Here are seven ways to maintain a healthy diet despite startup chaos.
1. Buy groceries every week.
If you wait to go to the grocery store until you’re hungry, you’re probably going to just end up eating out. This not only does damage to you waistline and arteries, but also your budget. I recommend making a trip to the store about once a week. This allows you to keep an assortment of food you enjoy. Make sure to get plenty of produce. Fruits and vegetables should make up a good portion of your diet.
2. Keep an assortment of food at home and the office.
Don’t let yourself get bored with your diet. This is the biggest trap you can fall into. Our society views food as a pleasurable, rewarding occasion. Once you get tired of your food selection, you’re more likely to fall off the bandwagon and hit up the nearest food truck.
If I plan to work remotely for the day, I’ll pack an assortment of snacks and meals to take with me. This may include vegetables like carrots, sugar snap peas and broccoli, as well as fruits like apples and strawberries. I also pack a protein like grilled chicken. If you enjoy fish, just be considerate of those with whom you work. Not everyone can handle the smell of fish, so you may need to eat it cold instead of heating it up in the microwave.
3. Prepare your meals.
The last thing anyone wants to do when he or she is hungry is to take time the time to cook a meal. Not only is it frustrating, but it actually consumes more time per week to cook meals separately than to cook in bulk.
Take some time out of your Saturday or Sunday to cook and prepare a variety of meals. (Weekend days are just examples and you should select which day(s) of the week work best with your schedule). Remember that just because you cook these items in one day doesn’t mean you can’t incorporate variety. If you’re grilling eight chicken breasts, marinate four in one flavor and the other four in a second flavor. These may be served on their own, on a salad, made into a sandwich, or even tossed with some vegetables.
4. Snack regularly.
When you’re beyond the point of moderate hunger, the only thing that matters is making that hungry feeling go away. This is especially true when you have pressing tasks to complete. Try to eat every two-to-three hours. This will increase your metabolic rate as well as keep you from getting overly hungry. Regular snacking will also prevent you from making dietary choices you’ll later regret.
5. Eat more fruits and vegetables.
According to the new U.S. report, 87 percent of Americans don’t meet recommendations for fruit consumption, and 91 percent don’t meet recommendations for vegetable consumption. Going back to the point above, snack REGULARLY. The best snacks are fruits and vegetables. They’re great for people on-the-go because they’re easily transportable. Before long, you’ll notice that you don’t even crave that Snickers candy bar or bag of chips.
6. Drink less alcohol.
Alcohol can be one of the most difficult substances for people to reduce. But there are a lot of benefits to cutting down on how much alcohol you consume. Did you know that drinking a couple martinis can slow your body’s fat burning ability down by as much as 73%? I’m not saying you should eliminate alcohol from your diet completely. Just consider laying off the sauce for a couple of weeks. See how you feel and if it’s a lifestyle choice you’d like to stick with. Choice is everything.
7. When it comes to eating out…
A lot of the food we order out—whether at a fast food joint or a dine-in restaurant—can drain our energy and even make us want to get in an afternoon nap. You might order a salad or a protein like grilled salmon or chicken, but beware. That meal probably has a lot of hidden, empty calories without the benefit of additional nutrients.
A trick I learned is to eat an apple (or some other fruit or vegetable of choice) about thirty minutes before going out to eat. This ensures that I’m only mildly hungry when I arrive at the restaurant, and therefore make a more healthy selection when ordering from the menu.
Of course once in awhile it’s fun to order something that’s not healthy, like a rich pasta or a cheesy Mexican dish. But if you have a healthy snack before making this order, you’re more likely to not finish the entire meal (which is usually a substantial serving). Or, you’ll agree to split the meal with someone.
What do you have if not your health?
This isn’t a post exclusively for busy professionals and entrepreneurs. As a human being it’s crucial you have sufficient energy to handle your daily responsibilities. So take a little extra effort to take care of yourself. I promise it will be worth it. You’ll discover that an improvement in your diet improves your physical energy, mental clarity and overall health. In other words, a healthy diet leads to a long and successful life.
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