Eat Healthy, Even With a Busy Schedule 

Whether you’re a parent, a full-time employee, a full-time student, or all three, it can be hard to maintain healthy eating habits, especially with drive-thru restaurants being so quick and convenient. But eating healthy doesn’t have to be difficult or time-consuming; if you build the right habits, it will only get easier.

Here are five tips for eating healthy:

Make Time to do Meal Prep

If you’re extremely busy throughout
the weeknights, it will be even more tempting to go through a drive-thru, most likely resulting in a high-calorie meal with little nutritional benefits.

But even if you don’t have time to cook, you can use a day off to prepare some grab-and-go meals and fruits and vegetables for your snacks.

If meal prepping for an entire week is too much for you, consider doing just two meals, or simply chopping and prepping ingredients in advance. You can keep these prepared ingredients on-hand in the fridge for quick meal assembly later in the week. You’ll be surprised at how much time you’ll save when you don’t have to chop your vegetables!

Have a Meal Plan, but Don’t Over-Complicate It

I get it. Meal prepping isn’t for everyone. Unless you’re a psychic, it’s nearly impossible to guess what you’re going to be in the mood for three days from now. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t plan out your meals and save yourself some time in the future.

Take a look at your week before you go grocery shopping. Consider on which days of the week you’ll struggle to find the time to make a healthy dinner. For those nights, plan to make healthy recipes that are quick and easy to make, with minimal prep or clean-up and twenty minutes of cook time or less.

Plan out these meals before you go shopping; that way, you can have the ingredients on-hand without having to do the extra mental work of planning. This also keeps you from taking those “quick” runs into the grocery store, when you run in for one item and walk out with ten.

Make Your Freezer Your Best Friend

We all know that fresh produce, while delicious, can be a bit of a time-suck by the time you wash, prep, and store it. How many times have you tossed a bag of expired romaine lettuce? If you’re struggling with time throughout the week and have found that meal prepping isn’t for you, you may be better off using frozen or canned fruits and vegetables. These options can be just as nourishing as fresh produce, with the added benefit of being less perishable.

You can add frozen veggies to canned soup or reheated leftovers, serve canned veggies as a side dish, or enjoy canned fruit with midday snacks. Just remember to look out for added sugar, sodium, or preservatives and ensure that you’re getting the healthiest option. 

Here’s another way your freezer can help you eat healthy: cook meals when you have the time, and stash some in the freezer. Then defrost and reheat as needed. This is a great option for various types of meats and batches of soups and stews.

Stock up on Healthy Snacks

Snacking can really throw you off if you aren’t smart about it. They don’t typically stock the vending machines at the office with fresh fruits and vegetables for everyone to snack on. It’s more like the bags of chips, snack cookies, and candies that are going to tempt you.

Prepping and stocking up on healthy snacks can be a real game-changer. You can have fresh and dried fruits, low-fat yogurt or string cheese, veggies and hummus, nuts, or trail mix ready to grab and take with you, to have a healthy snack option on you at the office (or wherever you spend the day).

Plan Your Restaurant Meals

When you do go out to eat while trying to stay within a lower calorie range, look up the menu before you go, then make a plan and stick to it. Most restaurants have several menu items that are low-calorie. You also can ask your server about modifications like leaving off the butter on the veggies, substituting a sweet potato for French fries, or putting the sauce on the side. However, it’s up to you to practice self-control when the table orders cheese dip and guacamole. 

Always Have a Water Bottle

You may confuse thirst with your midday hunger, when your cravings are actually from dehydration or exhaustion. If you stay hydrated, you’ll feel more energized and alert while staying in check with your diet.

When you’re out and about, it can be really tempting to stop for sugary drinks, whether it be your latte from Starbucks or your usual Sonic drink. Resist the urge to do this by having a water bottle with you wherever you go. I suggest that you invest in a solid, refillable water bottle that will keep your water cold, so you won’t be tempted to reach for the soda when you’re out of water. To beat the sweet drink craving, keep a container of Crystal Light or Mio close by to flavor water for zero calories.