Eating healthy is challenging. Mix in the chaos of family, work, exercise, hobbies, etc., and spending time on nutrition can quickly take a back seat. It is possible, however, for busy people to healthy!
I have had 70+ hour weeks between being a full-time college student and trying to run a business and still made the time for healthy eating. It comes down to this -- if you want to eat healthy then you need to make it a priority. Here are a few tips from my own experiences that have made eating healthy easier:
1) Get rid of all of your junk food- Let’s face it. If there is something that you can conveniently unwrap to snack on when you are feeling hungry, then you will choose it over something healthy that requires preparation. Start by making small changes. Try backing off items with processed sugar, then refined carbs like bread and pasta. Small changes over time lead to big results!
2) Plan your week of meals out before shopping- There is nothing worse than coming home after a long day and having to ask yourself, “What should I cook?” Planning meals ahead of time eliminates two problems at once. One, if you know exactly what you will be eating every day of the week, then you will already know what’s on the menu when you arrive home. Two, you will know EXACTLY what to buy at the store. MAKE A LIST so you don’t forget anything, and your time spent grocery shopping will decrease dramatically.
3) Go grocery shopping once a week- This goes hand-in-hand with meal planning. By planning out all of your meals for the week and making a list, you shouldn’t have to go to the store multiple times in a week. Making 2-4 trips to the store because you don’t have a plan wastes valuable time in your already busy schedule. Plan ahead, make one trip a week, and save yourself the headache.
4) Have one designated food-prep day per week- This day is often the same day that you go shopping. Cook a roast in the slow cooker and some beef (grass fed from a local farm of course, but you already knew that) on the stove top at the same time.While the meat is cooking, cut up all of your vegetables for the week. Within an hour all the vegetables will be prepped and you will have 4-6 meals partially ready before the week even starts! Now that’s time efficient!
5) Use a crockpot/slow cooker- The crockpot is a lifesaver for busy people. Crockpots are versatile and can make anything from stew, to sweet potatoes, to chili, to juicy roasts, tender chicken thighs, or fall-off-the-bone ribs (no bbq sauce of course. We are talking about eating healthy ;) Leave the crockpot on low all day and come home to a ready meal. Since all the veggies are prepped, a delicious saute is only minutes away.
6) Use leftovers for lunch the next day- This is pretty straight-forward. If you put your leftovers in a container then you will have something to grab for lunch on your way out the door.
7) Keep frozen vegetables handy- Days don’t always go as planned. Perhaps you forgot to cut up your vegetables for the week, or you just got home from work later than expected. Frozen vegetables with some sort of protein is a much better option than a frozen pizza or take-out. Try to buy organic frozen vegetables if you can, and always heat them in a pan when you have the option!
8) Keep nuts and jerky handy- Easily portable, tasty, and have enough sustenance to curb an appetite until you have a chance to eat your next meal.
9) Pre-make smoothies in mason jars- Cut up your fruits of choice, add your greens, and leave a little room for some air circulation. Set in the freezer, and defrost the night before you’re ready to throw the contents of the mason jar in the blender. Best if used within 2-4 weeks of freezing.
With these nine tips, a week night dinner should be prepared in about the same amount of time it took you to read this article, and your new snacks should kill those midday cravings!
If you find these tips useful please leave me a comment below. I would love to hear how you are doing with your new meal planning skills!
From one busy person to another,