11 Simple Ideas For How To Eat Healthy When You Have No Time

A woman is trying to eat healthier and looking in her fridge for healthy foods

One of the biggest complaints I hear (and have had myself) when it comes to eating healthy is the amount of extra time it can take to eat healthier.

When we get busy, our healthy habits are often times some of the first that we sacrifice.

Fast food or easy prep meals are some of the worst kinds of food for our bodies, but they are also the fastest and can take the least amount of effort.

So if we are trying to improve our physical health or physical self-care, it can feel easier to fall into the trap of not eating the way we know we should.

Personally, I have used this excuse for years, that I simply don’t have the time in the day to eat healthily.

But it is worth it.

Eating healthier has been proven to reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer.

Luckily, there are several things we can do to eat healthier when we don’t have the time.

10 ideas to help us eat healthy when we have no time

1) Cook in batches

One of the most helpful things I have done when I find that I don’t have much time to cook at home, is I make larger batches of meals that I am normally making, and then I fridge them, or even freeze them, for a later date.

Leftovers are always eaten in my home, and doubling or even tripling a recipe doesn’t take much more extra time than only doing a single batch.

This way whenever you are struggling with what to eat for supper, you will already have a healthier choice for a meal that just needs to be warmed up.

2) Keep healthier snacks on hand

When our only convenience option when we are starving or running out of time is unhealthy options, of course, that is what we choose since it is the easiest option.

However, having some healthier options on hand it can help us to make smarter decisions when it comes to our nutrition.

I try to stock these items all over for when I get hungry (as long as they are temperature appropriate). You can usually find trail mix in my car, or protein bars in my locker at work.

Some examples of healthier snacks to keep on hand could be:

  • Hardboiled eggs
  • Precut veggies and fruit
  • Protein bars
  • Protein drinks
  • Veggie chips
  • Nuts
  • Yogurt
  • Hummus
  • Trail mix

3) Plan ahead

When we become more organized and plan ahead, it helps to keep us on track and helps make eating healthier easier.

Mealing planning and prepping the night, or even the week before, can help us to have healthy choices on hand and ready to go. For example, many people like to meal prep healthy meals on Sunday night so they have healthy meals to take to work or eat for supper every night.

Having a healthy meal when you are stressed or pressed for time, stops us from making a decision of convenience over our health.

4) Use a crock pot or slow cooker

This post is all about setting ourselves up for success, and my slow cooker is one of the most used kitchen appliances in my home.

I find it so easy to throw something into my slow cooker in the morning before I head out the door to work, that way when I come home it is ready to go and only needs some minimal prep before we are ready to eat.

Things like chili, soup, or roasts all do great in the slow cooker, and again you can also use the slow cooker to make large portions of recipes to freeze for later.

5) Make healthy additions to convenience food

One of the things I have only started doing recently, which I am kicking myself for not having tried sooner, is to start adding healthier things to any convenience food I make.

For example, I lived off of ramen for years, but I have only started to recently add veggies or more protein to it to make it a more satisfying and nutritious meal.

And there are so many more examples of foods you could do this with.

6) Make your healthy food as convenient as possible

One of the big reasons I didn’t want to eat healthier when I was experiencing burnout, was I didn’t have the energy or motivation to cook or prep in the kitchen.

Buying convenient healthy foods can help with this.

What do I mean by this?

Buying already prechopped veggies and fruits, or things like bagged salads, can cost more money, but they are healthier choices and are better than ordering a pizza.

I love buying things like spiralized butternut squash or zucchini, frozen cauliflower rice has been an absolute lifesaver, or sometimes I even buy prechopped frozen onions to make things easier on myself and save time.

7) Use a meal kit delivery service

There is no shame in using a meal kit service if you feel it is a good fit for your family and lifestyle.

In fact, I have tried several in the past like HelloFresh and GoodFood. And no this isn’t an advertisement for them. I have actually used them in the past.

While I do think they can run on the expensive side, I do think they can be worth it when you don’t have a lot of time to prepare healthier meals.

The food was always delicious, and I do think they give you such a great selection and expose you to foods that you might not have tried on your own before.

If you struggle to decide what to cook, they could be a great option for you!

8) Make healthier choices at fast food places and restaurants

There are ways to get food to go or to sit down at restaurants and still make healthier choices when it comes to what you are eating.

It is all about making the healthiest choice that you can at that moment. Those small choices might feel like nothing, but they add up and compound over time.

This could include things such as: substituting veggies or salad for carb-heavy sides like fries, choosing grilled or baked options instead of deep-fried, or having a soup or salad first so you aren’t as tempted to eat the free bread that they bring to the table.

9) Make sure you are well hydrated

Did you know that often times when you think you are hungry you could actually just be thirsty instead? By drinking enough water, you help to prevent that, and it is also making another healthy decision.

10) Try not to skip breakfast

If you are already running late, or in a rush to get out of the house, it can be easy to think you will just skip breakfast, or pick up something quick on the way.

However, did you know that skipping breakfast is actually linked to an increase in diabetes and obesity?

11) Eat smarter, not harder

This can sound like such a weird tip, but I find it is one of the easiest to follow. Eating healthier doesn’t have to be more difficult, it is just about making healthier choices or substitutions.

For example, in order to eat healthier, I substitute certain foods for other foods. Instead of pasta or rice for many of my favorite recipes, I will substitute cauliflower rice. In many casseroles, or under sauces, you can’t even tell the difference.

Or if I am craving chips and dip, I will reach for whole grain chips and salsa instead.

If you have read any other articles I have written on this website, you will know that I am all for starting small. I used to get overwhelmed at the thought of goals that felt too big or overwhelming for me to achieve.

Things like eating healthy felt like such a big task that took so much energy to sustain, energy that I didn’t have at the time.

But by making small changes and taking things slow, you really can change your entire life.

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