Americans spend almost as much time sleeping as they do working, according to the United States’ Bureau of Labor Statistics. On average, around 9.15 hours of an American’s day is dedicated to personal care activities, including sleep. Working and activities related to work account for nearly 7 hours of an American’s day.
With the growth of each generation, the industries around the world, and the increasing demand for every individual to produce an income, it is clear that most Americans are pressed for time.
These demanding hours and lifestyles many people face come as a sacrifice. It is increasingly difficult to balance time and daily practices, like household chores, family time, leisure time, exercise, the practice of religion, and of course, eating and drinking.
Though often dismissed, consuming the right food, even while on a tight schedule, is extremely important for healthy living.
The average American spends about 1 hour a day eating and drinking, and most Americans rarely take the time to prepare their own food.
With proper knowledge and time organization, anyone with a tight schedule can squeeze these 5 nutritionally dense, protein packed foods into their diet.
1. Nuts and Seeds
It’s no secret that nuts and seeds contain a heavy dose of nutrition and are great for snacking on during a long, energy depriving work day. The protein and healthy fats will help keep you full and provide energy for a long time.
There are a variety of options with various benefits when it comes to nuts and seeds, and that makes it a particularly great food for everyone. It is much easier to choose what you like best and what makes you feel best.
Some options include:
Pumpkin (and various other squashes)
For example, nuts like almonds have high levels of calcium, vitamin E, protein, and healthy fats. Macadamia nuts contain healthy monounsaturated fats and vitamin B1. Pumpkin seeds contain omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, along with various antioxidants and fiber.
If plain nuts and seeds aren’t for you, try eating them in butter form or try them in our granolas.
Similar to nuts and seeds, the healthy fat in avocados are a great option for people to eat when they are busy. The monounsaturated fats give your body energy, keep you full, and they help your brain function all day.
According to the Food Network, when eaten regularly, avocados can assist with heart health, healthy eyes, growth and development, and blood pressure.
In addition to that, it is an exception to most fruits in that it is sugar free, sodium free, and cholesterol free. It will not effect blood sugar levels over the course of your day and will only improve your energy.
It is also a good snack to have on hand as a busy parent, because children tend to enjoy the creamy texture of the avocado, and the sneaky health benefits will go completely unnoticed by them.
Add them to your salads, eggs, eat them as guacamole, or even blend them up as a pasta sauce. There are so many options for avocados and they add a great creamy texture to any dish.
Eggs are a great option not only for their nutritional value, but also for their cost effectiveness and convenience.
Most Americans already have eggs in their fridge, and dedicating a portion of time on Saturday or Sunday to hard boil them and store them in a container can be a great time saver. In the morning just grab one or two to go and eat them for breakfast or lunch. If you cannot meal prep, they are extremely quick to cook in the morning as well, whether you want them over easy, scrambled, or as an omelet.
Each egg contains about 7 grams of protein and 5 grams of fat, which will help keep you full in the morning or the afternoon.
In addition to that, eggs contain various vitamins, amino acids, antioxidants, and help raise your good cholesterol.
The old tale that eggs are incredibly unhealthy is no longer followed. According to doctors, it is completely safe to integrate 1-2 eggs in your diet per day as long as you are leading a healthy lifestyle.
Eat them on their own for breakfast, as a snack, or top salads, grain bowls, stews, and even soups to add a creamy and delicious texture.
4. Chickpeas (or another bean/legume of choice)
Almost all plain, unsalted beans and legumes, are a solid nutritionally rich food to add to your diet everyday. Chickpeas (a legume just like peanuts or lentils) in particular have become increasingly popular with the rise of Mediterranean foods like hummus and falafel.
The rise is well deserved, as there are many health benefits in chickpeas. They are full of folate, fiber, iron, phosphorus, and healthy fats.
More specifically, for those who are incredibly busy, these are a great option for their rich protein content.
Eating chickpeas regularly can also help with diabetes (due to their low glycemic index), your gut health (the fiber in chickpeas), heart disease, and obesity.
Eat them in hummus form, or you can add them to various meals like salads, curry, pasta, and soups.
The majority of the foods listed above relate well to a busy lifestyle because of their healthy fat and protein content, however matcha is different.
Matcha is a green tea that typically comes in powder form. Most people drink matcha, but you can eat it in various ways too.
A common ritual in The United States is to start the day with a cup of coffee. Switching out your coffee for matcha could drastically improve your energy for the day.
Matcha tea contains caffeine like coffee but it releases it differently. The powder will slowly release the caffeine throughout your body over the course of the day.
It may not hit you with a rush like coffee, but the energy benefits will most likely last longer, making it an extremely beneficial option for people who have a lot to do.
In addition to that, matcha contains many antioxidants, and can help lower blood sugar, heart rate, and heart health.
You can drink matcha on its own as a tea, or add it to whatever you like to eat that is sweet. It goes especially well mixed in with breakfast foods like yogurt, oatmeal, chia pudding, pancakes, etc.