We all start with the best intentions, but life often gets in the way of healthy eating habits. Whether it’s a work project, caring for loved ones, or running errands, sometimes it feels like there’s no time (or energy!) to prepare meals. Fast food or pizza may seem like the easiest option, but they can leave you feeling bloated and discouraged. Fortunately, there are ways to eat well without investing tons of time in meal planning or grocery shopping. Here are some simple tips and tricks to help you stay on track when life gets busy.
- Plan Ahead If you’re short on time, planning ahead can be a lifesaver. Spend a few minutes on the weekend or at the beginning of the week to plan out your meals. Make a grocery list and pick up everything you need in one trip. This can help you avoid last-minute fast food runs or unhealthy snack choices.
- Keep it Simple You don’t need to be a gourmet chef to eat well. Focus on simple, easy-to-prepare meals that use whole, unprocessed foods. Think grilled chicken or fish, roasted vegetables, or a simple salad. Stock your pantry with healthy staples like whole grains, canned beans, and nuts so you always have the ingredients for a nutritious meal.
- Make Healthy Swaps Small changes can add up to big results. Swap out greasy or fried foods for grilled or baked options. Choose whole wheat bread instead of white, and opt for brown rice over white rice. Substitute vegetables or salad for high-fat sides like fries or coleslaw.
- Choose Healthy Restaurant Options Eating out doesn’t have to mean unhealthy meals. Many restaurants now offer lighter fare on their menus, often with calorie counts. Look up menus online to see which ones provide the best options before you head out. Choose veggie-based entrees or those with baked, broiled, or grilled fish or skinless chicken. Skip creamy sauces or gravies and opt for fresh fruit or sorbet for dessert.
- Better Fast-Food Choices Eating fast food doesn’t have to mean unhealthy choices. Many fast-food restaurants now offer healthier options with calorie counts available online. Choose grilled skinless chicken breast instead of a burger, and avoid calorie-heavy sides and toppings. Bypass sugary drinks in favor of water, unsweetened tea, or fat-free or low-fat milk.
- Convenient Home-Cooked Meal Kits If you’re short on time but still want to cook at home, consider meal subscription boxes. Many companies box up multiple meals’ worth of groceries and deliver them to your house each week. The premeasured ingredients and cooking instructions make it easy to get portion-controlled, tasty dinners on the table in minutes. Many companies offer low-carb, low-calorie, gluten-free, or vegetarian options.
In conclusion, eating healthy on a busy schedule may seem like a challenge, but with a little planning and some simple strategies, it can be done. Focus on simple, unprocessed foods, make healthy swaps, and choose healthy options when eating out or ordering in. With a little effort, you can stay on track and feel good about what you eat, even when life gets busy.