When life is too busy it becomes really hard to eat healthy. A busy schedule often leads to poor food choices, which then develops into unhealthy eating habits. To deal with this problem you need to learn how to make healthy eating easy and enjoyable.
Unless you want to rely solely on takeout. You are aware that eating healthy requires spending some time in the kitchen.
But what if you have no time to cook healthy meals every day?
Make your health a priority
When you are strapped for time, only what is a priority gets done. So you need to make a conscious decision to put your health as a priority.
Look at it this way. You find time to shower every day, no matter how busy your schedule is. Because you prioritize your hygiene.
The same way. Once you decide to prioritize your health you will find those two, three hours a week to prep healthy meals.
Make it easy to eat healthy
Planning and preparing healthy food is one form of self-care. When you make healthy eating an essential part of your life, it will be easy to make healthy food choices.
The easiest way to eat healthy is to find healthy foods and meals that are quick to prepare, can be made ahead and most importantly are tasty.
Food is a source of pleasure. So it can be really hard to give up all those artificially manufactured treats that make you feel so good while you’re eating them. You know it’s bad for you but it just tastes so good.
That is why you need to find meals that you’ll enjoy eating.
Use spices for a burst of flavor. Harness the power of umami. Umami is described as a pleasant savory taste, in japanese it means “essence of deliciousness”. You can find it in tomatoes, mushrooms, soy sauce…
Once you find healthy food you want to eat. Stop buying or hide away all unhealthy foods you know you shouldn’t be eating. Store them on the highest shelf, or deep in the pantry. Make it really hard to reach. This will help you a lot to stick with your healthy menu.
Choose simple recipes that are healthy and tasty
You want to develop healthful eating habits without feeling that you are depriving yourself.
To do this you need to find delicious recipes you will look forward to and enjoy eating. This should really not be hard. Because there are countless websites, cookbooks, youtube videos giving detailed instructions on how to prepare healthy meals.
Look for meals like soups, stews, stir fry, sheet pan and tray baked meals. Those are meals that can be prepared in advance and stored in the freezer. Make sure they are packed with veggies. Whichever diet you are on you should be eating lots of veggies. These types of meals are versatile, healthy and tasty.
When you want to eat healthy but your life is too busy, healthy homemade freezer meals are the way to go.
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Make a detailed plan
Once you choose the recipes you’ll be making it’s time to make a plan. Write what you’ll eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks for every day of the week.
Here are a few examples of the meals I prep to give you ideas.
- Breakfast egg muffins
- Overnight oats
- Granola, yoghurt, fruit
- Pasta dishes full of veggies
- Stir fry
- Veggie sticks and hummus
- Stew with wholegrains
- Soup with wholegrains
- Sheet pan dinner
- Trail mix
- Fruit and nut butter
- Seed crackers and salad
- Hardboiled egg
- Chia pudding
Have a prep day once a week
When you make your health a priority, then finding a few hours once a week to prepare healthy meals for the rest of the week will not be so difficult.
When you have a plan for what you’ll be eating the following week, all you need is take one day of the week to spend some three hours in the kitchen, prepping and cooking your meals.
Pack them in appropriate containers and refrigerate or freeze.
Now if you are pedantic (like me) this is advice for you. And it’s very important. Don’t waste your time on finely chopping everything! Cut and chop like Jamie Oliver in one of his 15-minute meals. The way he “cuts” those bell peppers was an eye opener. You have a knife to cut and your teeth to chew later on.
Make healthy shortcuts
If you are so strapped for time or just lazy. That’s ok you can still eat healthy. In this day and age there are so many shortcuts. It is harder to decide to eat healthy than it is to actually do it.
To minimize prep and cook time you can buy:
- fresh frozen produce
- canned or frozen soups
- frozen stir fry mixes
- frozen smoothie mixes
- cooked and frozen meals
- cooked meals from the deli (just avoid fried items)
- pre packed salads
- hummus, granola, trail mix, oat bars…
Just remember before you reach for any of these shortcuts. READ THE LABEL. Read it carefully. Just because it says organic or something-free it doesn’t necessarily mean it is healthy. My favorite cookies have a big “organic, 100% integral flour, vegan” label on them. But they are not remotely healthy. In fact they are full of “organic sugar” and shortening.
While keeping up with a busy schedule you often reach for some pretty unhealthy snacks. You want to avoid this at all costs. Even when you eat healthy meals most of the time, these unhealthy snacks will definitely leave a dent on your healthy lifestyle.
Look at snacks as condensed, nutrient packed bites that give you quick energy. And look for such foods.
Trail mix, filled with nuts and seeds is a great example. You can make your own small packages of trail mix. It will take you only two minutes, once a week to prepare them, and you will always have a healthy snack on hand.
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