Eating healthy is always a struggle when you’re busy. Cooking three meals from scratch every single day seems like something to aspire to but remains out of reach for most of us.
If you’re strapped for time (and possibly money), there are several tricks you can use to make eating healthier a bit easier. It’s all about finding creative, fun ways to eliminate (or at least shorten) prep time and clean up, so you can enjoy your healthy meal without the stress.
1. Have a Non-Rigid Plan Filled With Backup Plans.
It can be challenging to stick to a plan when your days are full of uncertainties. Instead of stressing over being organized, keep a few meals in your pocket that require less than 20 minutes to prepare and cook. When shopping, always keep your go-to meals stocked.
Alternatively, you could compare different meal delivery services and choose one that offers flexible delivery options. That way, you’ll have a meal at your front door when you need it.
2. Prep Ingredients in Advance or Buy Pre-Cut Food.
Fresh ingredients are usually the healthiest options, but they hardly ever come pre-cut. Instead of shoving your ingredients in the fridge, prep them when you can. When you cut your ingredients in advance, you’ll be able to quickly and easily get a meal cooking on the stove.
There’s still a way to get healthy food on the table when you’re truly short on time. Buy pre-cut or pre-bagged foods, like salads or vegetables, for days when you can’t even spare a minute.
3. Take Advantage of the “Snack-Meal” Trend.
The Millenial and Gen Z generation hardly have enough time to sit down and eat a meal, let alone one that’s nutritious. This phenomenon birthed the “snack-meal” trend, which is where young professionals pack their lunch bags with healthy snack food to create a whole meal.
What makes this trend attractive, even for people who have the time to cook, is its variety. Stock up on things like raw veggies, crackers, dried fruit, string cheese, and nuts and switch it up daily.
4. Batch Cook Your Weekly Meals and Freeze Them
While it’s true you can’t pre-cook everything; you can batch cook most things. For example, if you plan on having pasta one night this week, batch cook a pot full of sauce and stick it in the freezer. Now, all you have to do is boil some pasta and microwave or pan-fry your sauce.
Put that slow cooker to work by cooking everything from meatballs to soups. If you don’t have a slow cooker, we recommend every busy professional has one to make tasty crockpot chili.
5. Don’t Be Afraid to Buy Store Bought-Condiments.
The healthy eating trend has made many people shy away from store-bought condiments due to their perceived deficit to our health. However, condiments, spices, and sauces can make clean eating much easier because it saves you a bunch of time from cooking your own sauces.
A good condiment can turn any meal from boring to delicious, so stock up on salsa, raw tahini, mustard, hummus, vegetable ketchup, sweet relish, plant-based mayo, and oil-based dressing.
6. Keep One Breakfast Meal Prepared and Ready to Eat.
Prepping and planning are incredibly easy to do with breakfast food, especially if you aren’t a fan of eggs. One breakfast food that’s incredibly healthy and takes 2-minutes to prep is chia pudding. Just add 1 cup of oat milk and 3 teaspoons of chia seeds for 16 grams of protein.
You can also prepare egg and veggie muffins, oatmeal, smoothies, salads, sweet potatoes, burritos, and cookies the night before, so you have something ready for you in the morning.