Being busy and maintaining a healthy diet should go hand in hand, but when we get busy, priorities often shift and healthy habits can slip away. That’s why it’s important to have the right foods in your kitchen to make sure you can balance being busy with eating well. After all, it’s the food choices we make today that will impact our health in the future. So here are 8 of the top healthy foods you need to support your busy lifestyle…
Avocado is the ultimate food for busy people. Whether on toast, in a salad, or blended into a smoothie, avocado can take any meal to the next level with minimal effort. Not only does it deliver on the flavour front, avocado is one of the most nutrient-dense fruits out there with a range of benefits to support long-term health. Packed with almost 20 nutrients, it’s cholesterol free, low in sugar and sodium, and complete with monounsaturated heart-healthy fats . The healthy fats in avocados support the body’s ability to absorb nutrients in other foods, which is one of the reasons we love to include avocados in our smoothie boxes.
Keep an avocado on stand-by for when you’re running low on fresh ingredients, or short on time to prep lunch. Paired with your favourite crackers or toast, it's a quick and easy way to get a range of nutrients from a single source. Of course tomato on top will never go amiss!
A super grain that’s been around since Inca times, quinoa (pronounced “keen-wah”) is now readily available in supermarkets and health food stores across New Zealand. Not only is it quicker to cook than brown rice, quinoa has more than 50 per cent extra protein and is one of just a few plant sources that's a complete protein. This means it contains all 9 of the essential amino acids that your body needs to form a protein. As a plant-based source of iron, quinoa is ideal for vegetarians or those limiting their intake of meat. One cup of cooked quinoa provides 2.8mg of iron, or 15 per cent of your recommended daily intake, as well as 13 per cent of your recommended daily intake of zinc, which is particularly important for the healthy functioning of your immune system .
Use your rice cooker to make preparing quinoa easy as - use 2 cups of water to every 1 cup of quinoa. For added flavour and gut health support, substitute the water for bone broth or vegetable stock.
Bananas are a busy person's best friend, providing a powerful source of energy, antioxidants and essential minerals, packaged into a convenient snack that’s easy to eat on the go, or in a smoothie. Rich in vitamin B6 and vitamin C, bananas also deliver a hearty dose of potassium and magnesium, two nutrients which are essential for heart health. As an added bonus, green bananas contain resistant starch, a starch which resists digestion and ends up in the large intestine where it feeds the beneficial bacteria in the gut, and in turns helps to protect the colon. Studies have shown that resistant starch can support weight loss and benefit heart health, as well as improve blood sugar management, insulin sensitivity and digestive health .
For a well balanced breakfast that’ll keep you fuller for longer, follow the Craft Smoothie formula and pair bananas with a wholefood source of protein and healthy fats, like avocado, nuts and seeds, as well as complementary fruits or superfoods to enhance the flavour and nutrient value of your breakfast. Get some healthy banana smoothie recipe inspiration from Craft Smoothie.
With the rise in research around the importance of gut health, fermented foods like sauerkraut (fermented vegetables) have gained increasing popularity as they can play an important role in improving the ratio of beneficial bacteria in the gut. The fermentation process also preserves the nutrients and enzymes present in the vegetables, and makes it easier for your body to digest. Supporting gut health is particularly important for promoting a healthy immune system .
You can make sauerkraut at home - all you need is cabbage, a mason jar, some salt and a few days to allow the cabbage to ferment. If time isn’t on your side, sauerkraut is becoming easier to get your hands on in supermarkets and health food stores - check the health food aisle or chiller. Sauerkraut can be added to salads at lunch, eaten alongside dinner, with eggs, or on its own as a snack.
The versatility and varied health benefits of apple cider vinegar make is a must-have for any busy household. In addition to improving digestion and supporting gut health, apple cider vinegar can improve blood sugar levels and support weight loss . It can be substituted for lemon juice in recipes, used to fluff up quinoa, or incorporated into an immunity-boosting tonic.
For a simple salad for 2 to 3 people, whisk together 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, 1/2 a teaspoon of mustard and a pinch of salt. For a digestion-boosting or gut-soothing remedy, add 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to a glass of water and drink 15 minutes before a meal.
Ideal for dressings, dips and desserts, tahini is a calcium-rich and flavourful source of protein which doubles in convenience as a versatile substitute for nut butter. Crafted purely from sesame seeds, it's a powerful source of healthy fats, iron, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium, and is the most convenient ingredient for enhancing the flavour of any salad or vegetable dish. Try dipping a carrot stick in some tahini and you’ll catch my drift.
Opt for unhulled over hulled tahini - unhulled tahini is your best bet as it's made from the whole sesame seed, leaving its nutritional value intact. For a quick and nourishing tahini salad dressing, mix equal parts of apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice) and tahini, and salt to taste. If you’re a peanut butter on toast fan, try mixing 1 tablespoon of tahini with 1 teaspoon of honey and a touch of cinnamon, then spread on wholegrain toast for a quick and nutritious snack. Bring on some sliced banana for further satisfaction.
Establishing healthy bedtime habits and ensuring a good night’s sleep couldn’t be more important for busy people. That’s where chamomile tea comes in. Drinking a warm cup of non-caffeinated chamomile tea can help you fall asleep faster and wake up feeling more refreshed.
Sleep deprivation can have profound consequences on our health, our job performance, our relationships and our happiness, which is why it’s so important to get into healthy evening habits that enable you to unwind and go to sleep in a relaxed state . To help you go to bed in a relaxed state and enhance your sleep, hold off on caffeine after 2pm, and have chamomile tea before hitting the hay.
Honey is arguably most convenient sweetener to keep in the kitchen - not only is it delicious in dressings, smoothies and raw treats, you can’t go past a hot lemon, honey and ginger drink to relieve cold and flu symptoms. The antimicrobial properties of honey are praised for helping prevent infections and accelerating healing.
To reap the health benefits of honey, opt for raw over processed varieties. Raw honey contains vitamins, minerals and enzymes that aren’t present in refined honey. If you want to get the health benefits of honey but honey on toast isn’t your thing, try adding a teaspoon of raw honey to a superfood smoothie as a sweetener.
When time's not on your side and you need a quick and nutritious breakfast to get you through the day, Craft Smoothie has your back! We deliver everything you need to craft superfood smoothies from the comfort of your home each week, give Craft Smoothie a try today.
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