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Peak Nutrition For Busy People

Our lifestyles have changed a great deal over the past decade. Ask anyone what they think is different now compared to 10 years ago, and they will probably tell you they have less time, more stress and they are working harder than ever. Constantly feeling rushed or stressed is something that tends to creep up on you, until one day you suddenly realize that life is not quite the same as it used to be.

When we are busy or stressed, we tend to make poor nutritional choices because we feel there is not enough time to eat healthy. Making poor nutritional choices can actually make us feel even more stressed. Poor food choices can cause other health related problems as well, which creates the vicious cycle of even more stress.

The following tips will help you create a healthier diet even if your time is limited and your stress is overwhelming.

  • Eat breakfast: Having breakfast helps you stay alert and keeps you productive throughout the morning. While eating something for breakfast is better than having no breakfast at all, aim to include a good source of protein. Rich sources of protein include: yogurt, low fat cheese, eggs, or even something unconventional such as last night’s leftover chicken! Remember to also include a good source of protein for lunch and dinner too!
  • Go for whole grains: Choose the right carbohydrates and you will have a steady supply of energy throughout the day. Your body prefers to use carbohydrates as its primary fuel (energy) source. Choosing whole grain carbohydrates instead of those made with refined flours or sugar can supply a steady source of glucose for your brain and other vital organs without spiking your blood sugar. Whole grains have more vitamins, minerals and fiber, compared to refined carbohydrates.
  • Watch the caffeine: Having that cup of coffee first thing in the morning can give you a burst of energy and help your concentration. Unfortunately, more coffee does not result in more energy or better concentration. One cup too many can make you feel jittery, upset your stomach and make it harder to sleep at night. Learn what your limit for caffeine is and stick with that (usually 1 or 2 cups will do). The best beverage for the rest of your day is water!
  • Choose the right fats for your brain: Our brains are mostly made up of fat (60%), and nerve cells in the brain constantly require renewal of the cell membranes. Feed your brain healthy omega-3 fatty acids that come from foods such as salmon, other types of fatty fish, walnuts, or ground flax seed. Omega-3 fats can enhance brain function, help with mood stability and slow down age-related cognitive decline.
  • Take along healthy snacks: Keep healthy snacks in your car, office, or where you work to keep your appetite and blood sugar steady all day long. Prevent mood swings or fatigue by including a healthy snack mid-morning or mid-afternoon. Pair up a protein rich food with a nutritious source of carbohydrate. A piece of fresh fruit with a low-fat cheese stick or raw vegetables with hummus provides carbohydrate, fiber and protein.
  • Bring the right foods home: It’s much easier to avoid empty calorie foods if you don’t have them in plain sight calling your name! Keep a variety of healthy snacks that you like at home and ditch the foods that have little to offer by way of nutrition. If you don’t have sugary or salty snack foods around, you won’t eat them. Fruits, raw vegetables, yogurt, low fat cheeses, and nuts are just a few examples of things you can have on hand.

Use these suggestions to make healthy eating a part of your busy lifestyle and stress management plan. Work in these healthy habits on a regular basis and your body will feel the difference!

About The Author

Gretchen Scalpi

Registered Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator

Author and Certified Wellcoach®

Gretchen has worked with hundreds of clients in her own private nutrition practice since 2002, providing nutrition and wellness coaching in the areas of diabetes, weight management, food sensitivities, and general wellness.

Gretchen opened her wellness coaching and private nutrition practice in 2002 and has expanded to two office locations in New York.

Gretchen provides lectures and workshops on a variety of nutrition topics to corporate and community groups. She is the author of the Pre-Diabetes: Your Second Chance at Health and The Everything Guide to Managing and Reversing Prediabetes.

For more information on Gretchen, visit