Do your eating habits go out the window when life gets busy? Do you work long hours and forget to take your lunch break? Eating consistent meals during the day helps with blood sugar stability and energy maintenance. Learn how to eat consistently, even when you’re busy, with these tips.
What Happens When You Skip Meals
Before we talk about tips for eating consistently, it’s important to understand what happens when we DON’t eat consistently.
Skipping meals can lead to low blood sugar and energy levels. Carbohydrates — whether that be from fruits, vegetables, grains, or sweets — are broken down into glucose, otherwise known as blood sugar. Your body literally needs carbohydrates for energy.
When you don’t get enough food and carbohydrate intake is low, your body’s immediate glucose supply is limited. As blood sugar begins to drop, you might feel like you’re running on empty. Other low blood sugar symptoms include confusion, irritability, difficulty concentrating, and anxiousness. Hello, “hangry”.
Eventually, your body will respond by increasing hunger hormone. Suddenly, you feel like you have to eat. Your body is craving sugary foods because it’s seeking immediate energy. You eat whatever you can quickly get your hands on, and it’s easier to overshoot fullness.
To prevent ravenous hunger and the blood sugar roller-coaster, focus on eating consistent meals during the day (every 3-5 hours as a general guideline).
How to Eat Consistently (Even When You’re Busy)
Now that you understand the importance of eating consistent meals and snacks, you’re probably wondering how to actually stay on top of this with a busy schedule.
TIP 1: PLAN AHEAD
Meal planning can be a helpful tool to save time, reduce stress, and have nourishing foods on hand for a busy week. Start by reviewing your weekly schedule. What does the week ahead actually look like for you?
Take into account any meals that you won’t need to plan, such as dinner out or lunch meetings. Next, fill in 2-3 meal ideas for each category – breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This can be a combination of staple recipes and convenience foods, too!
Once you have your meal ideas, build your grocery list and execute! Having a well-stocked kitchen is essential for enjoying nourishing meals. Everglow Nutrition’s Meal Plan & Prep Bundle guides you through this process.
TIP 2: START WITH BREAKFAST
It can be overwhelming to think about changing the way you eat overnight. Take a one-meal-at-a-time approach to simplify things. If your eating habits have been inconsistent, I recommend establishing consistency with the first meal of the day. Eventually, you can work your way through lunch and dinner, too!
Try a make-ahead breakfast recipe like these Overnight Oats or Egg Muffin Cups to save time in the morning. Yogurt Bowls are another convenient option. Combine your choice of yogurt with fruit, granola, and a sprinkle of hemp or chia seed.
Furthermore, smoothie ingredients can be assembled ahead of time and stored in freezer-friendly containers or bags. Check out My Go-To Smoothie Combo + why I love smoothies all year round.
TIP 3: SET ALARMS
Maybe you already eat breakfast, but lunch or dinner plans get swept up into the urgency of the work day. Some of my clients have reported this exact challenge. They get so into the zone during the workday that they forget to eat lunch or stop for dinner.
While it’s okay if this happens every once in a while, you don’t want to get into the habit of skipping meals. To prevent this, try setting alarms to check in with yourself. Notice your hunger level using the Hunger & Fullness Discovery Scale. Schedule these breaks into your workday so you don’t miss them. Put a lunch appointment on your work calendar, even if it’s just a solo lunch date!
One of my clients who implemented this strategy found that when she began consistently eating lunch versus skipping it, she had better energy for her afternoon workouts, too! Talk about a win-win outcome.
A Final Note on Eating Consistently
There is no one-size-fits-all eating pattern and it’s okay if your eating schedule varies from day to day based on your hunger level.
Get into the habit of checking in with yourself throughout the day. Notice how you’re feeling. Become aware of your hunger & fullness level. Your body knows best.
Without taking the intentional time to pause and tune inwards, you can miss out on interpreting the very cues your body is trying to schedule. So even during a busy week, schedule intentional breaks to check in with yourself.