Guest Blog – Too Busy to Eat Healthily?

June 15, 2016

Maria Nolan

Our guest blog this quarter comes from Joy Skipper, who is one of the leading food and nutrition consultant’s in the Thames Valley. In this blog, Joy gives some simple tips on how to make a few healthy changes to your eating habits and also some interesting ideas on how to fit exercise into our busy daily routines. She has also kindly included a delicious and easy to make snack recipe. As always we hope you find the content both helpful and educational.

It’s always easy to think that you are far too busy to eat healthily or to include exercise into your daily life, but both of these things are important for long-term health and including them into your day does not have to be complicated. Just a few small changes could help you to look and feel better, manage every day stresses better, have more energy, reduce the risk of chronic disease and reduce aging – something we would all love to do!

A great way to get more exercise can be as simple as getting off the bus a stop further away from your house each day and walking or using your bike to go to the shops, instead of using the car. Even better is to start a new sport – if you’re busy having fun with a team of people, or concentrating on learning something new, you won’t even realise you’re exercising!

If you want to make a few healthy changes to your eating habits, here are some simple tips:

  • Always eat breakfast – you wouldn’t expect your car to move without petrol, so don’t expect your body or brain to function without fuel either.
  • Aim to eat 3 meals and 2 snacks a day – keep your blood sugar balanced throughout the day by eating little and often.
  • Include protein with every meal and snack – protein helps to keep the blood sugar balanced and is also more satiating. Great protein-rich foods include: eggs, fish, chicken, lean meat, lentils and beans.
  • Aim to eat oily fish 3 times a week – omega-3 fats are important for brain health and oily fish is full of them – try salmon, mackerel or sardines.
  • Eat wholegrains and fresh fruit and vegetables for fibre, vitamins and minerals – make sure your plate has lots of colour – eat a rainbow every day!
  • Cook from scratch – cook simple meals using great fresh ingredients, cutting out all the extra hidden salt, sugar and preservatives that are found in processed foods.
  • Eat a variety – variety is the spice of life, so try new foods, vary your diet and hopefully this will ensure you cover all the nutrients your body needs.

Here is a great snack recipe that will keep you satisfied mid-morning or afternoon.

Coconut, Cocoa & Orange Flapjacks

Makes 9-12

100 g coconut oil

90 g blackstrap molasses

15 g dark muscovado sugar

25 g agave syrup

240 g rolled oats

50 g pecans, roughly chopped

50 g cocoa nibs

Grated rind of 1 orange

  • Preheat the oven to 180° (350°F) Gas Mark 4. Grease an 18 cm square tin.
  • In a large pan, melt together the coconut oil, molasses, sugar and agave syrup. Stir until the sugar has dissolved.
  • Pour in the remaining ingredients and mix together really well.
  • Pour into the prepared tin and level the top.
  • Bake for 18-20 minutes, then remove from the oven and leave for 2 minutes before cutting into squares. Leave to cool completely in the tin.

For more recipes take a look at my Online Journal at or sign up for my Nutrition Newsletter.

© Joy Skipper