You know you need to eat healthy, but you simply can’t find the time or energy to do so. Between a demanding work schedule and the chaos of shuffling kids around from one activity to the next, there just isn’t enough time in the day to consistently cook fresh meals. What do you do?
The explosion of fast food restaurants, frozen dinners, and vending machines has fundamentally altered the way we, as 21st century Americans, view nutrition. The more we grow accustomed to ease and convenience, the less we tend to pursue healthy options. However, the reality is that you don’t have to choose between convenience and health.
While it’s certainly easier to grab a cheeseburger from a drive-thru window or put a TV dinner in the microwave, there are plenty of ways to weave healthy eating into your busy schedule.
Try Quick Recipes
While some healthy meals do take a while to cook, there are plenty of quick recipes that can be prepared in 15 minutes or less.
For breakfast, shakes are always a good choice. Toss some fresh fruits, veggies, and protein powder into a blender and you’ve got a nutritious meal that will keep you full for hours.
For lunch, try a simple sandwich with turkey, cheese, and avocado. Pair it with some fresh fruit or a salad and you’ll have a healthy and tasty meal.
For dinner, place some fish or lean chicken in the oven. While it’s cooking, toss some veggies in a frying pan and add your favorite seasoning. Prepare a salad or side of fruit and you have a quick, fresh dinner. Double the recipe and you’ll have leftovers for lunch or dinner the next day!
Find Healthy Restaurants Near You
You won’t always have the time or opportunity to whip up a fresh meal – even if it’s quick. Sometimes your only option is to eat out. In moments like this, it’s helpful to know some healthy restaurants.
If you have specific dietary needs – such as dairy free, gluten free, ketogenic, vegan, or paleo – an app like Picky can help you find healthy menu items that fit these categories in restaurants nearby. (It’s currently only available in a couple of cities, but will be expanding soon.)
If you don’t have the luxury of choosing the restaurant, there are typically ways to find a healthy option – even if it isn’t on the menu. (It may involve removing certain ingredients – such as bread – or replacing unhealthy options with nutritious alternatives.)
Use Delivery Services
Can’t make it out of the office for lunch? You don’t have to resort to processed vending machine foods. Thanks to delivery services like Uber Eats, you can now have someone pick up food from your favorite healthy restaurant and bring it to you – even if the restaurant doesn’t technically have a delivery service
Bulk Cook When You Can
Maybe you can't spend 45 minutes or an hour cooking dinner from scratch every evening, but there are moments when you can cook. Whether it’s a random day off from work or a Sunday afternoon at home, maximize your free time by cooking a handful of meals and storing them in the freezer or fridge. This is often called batch or bulk cooking.
“It essentially takes the hassle out of the thinking, decision-making, and preparing meals every weeknight between busy schedules, cranky kids, and running tons of errands,” health blogger Lauren McManus writes. “You can easily avoid this craziness by bulk cooking healthy meals in advance, so all you have to do throughout the week is reheat and eat.”
Healthy Doesn’t Have to be Inconvenient
Just because unhealthy eating is convenient, doesn’t mean healthy eating is inconvenient. The sooner you realize this truth, the faster you can start to implement smart eating habits into your busy schedule. Ask around, share ideas, and use some of the tips from this article to supercharge your diet and become a healthier version of yourself.
Written by Natalie Bracco for Working Mother and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.