Extra time isn’t something that I have a lot of. Some days, it feels like I’m one of those hamsters running endlessly on a wheel. Eating healthy and preparing healthy meals for my family is important to me but there are times it’s a struggle. On those days, when I’m tempted to make less healthy choices to save time, these simple tips keep me on track.
Eating healthy doesn’t have to mean growing your own wheat, grinding it and baking your bread from scratch. While it would be great if I had enough hours in my day to do that, I just don’t. Thankfully, these simple tips to eat healthier when you’re busy work for my family.
- Make a list. Wandering aimlessly around the grocery store trying to figure out what to buy is a sure fire way to add things to your cart you don’t need. Make a meal plan of healthy meals. Write your list from that meal plan and then stick to it. You’ll know what you need to make for dinner each night and won’t be tempted to order fast food or pick a less healthy dinner option.
- Learn to read labels. Anyone can stick the word healthy on the front of a box. Understanding what the nutrition label means will help you make the best choices when you shop. Just take a quick second to turn the box over and scan the first few ingredients. If they include sugar or words you cannot pronounce, put it back.
- Buy pre-cut foods. Slicing, dicing and chopping can add extra minutes to meal preparation. When you’re truly short on time, don’t be afraid to buy pre-cut bags of fruits and vegetables. Just be certain that there are no other added ingredients like sauces, sugar or salt.
- Don’t skip meals. I know that when you’re really short on time, it’s tempting to just skip a meal and grab a coffee or something from the vending machine. You’ll be less likely to load up on snack foods if you eat a healthy meal instead. Consider a cup of yogurt and fresh fruit or a salad from a fast food restaurant if you’re really busy.
- Keep healthy snacks on hand. Snacking is the hardest thing for me to control. It’s much easier to choose a healthy snack when you have them on hand. Keep nuts, pre-cut fresh vegetables, grapes, berries, sunflower seeds and cheese sticks on hand for easy snacks.
- Use your slow cooker. On my busiest nights, I make sure to start a healthy meal in the slow cooker for dinner. All I need to do is come home from work, set the table and serve a hot, healthy meal that’s waiting for me.
Eating healthy doesn’t have to take a lot of your precious time. Planning ahead can make all the difference when you’re tempted to make choices that are less than healthy.
How do you eat healthier when you’re busy?