5 Tips for Eating Healthy in a Time Crunch
The most common excuse I hear for not eating healthy or exercising is, “I don’t have time.” I get it, you’re busy, but guess what? So are your fit and healthy co-workers, neighbors, relatives and friends.
And by the way, there’s nothing “more special” or “unique” about them that magically grants them time to exercise and cook a healthy dinner. They make it a priority because they know how awesome life is when you feel dynamite.
While lack of time is a convenient (and common) excuse for living an unhealthy lifestyle, you must know in your heart of hearts that you deserve better. Right? I thought so!
Oh, and by the way? You can totally eat healthy even when you don’t have much time. Here are 5 tips to eating smart even when you’re constantly on the go.
Tip #1: Be Prepared.
When you’re crazy-busy, the best way to guarantee adherence to your healthy diet is preparation. It takes the same amount of time to unwrap a banana and a hard-boiled egg as it does to unwrap a sugar-laden breakfast treat from the vending machine.
Of course, the vending machine fare seems easier because it’s always there. This means that your job is the make sure that the banana and hard boiled egg are always there, too. You and I both know that you’re already spending time shopping for and purchasing food. So why not use that time more constructively and purchase healthy food?
Schedule time on the weekend to do your grocery shopping for the whole week. If you don’t like cooking, buy a rotisserie chicken, remove the skin and turn it into five different meals for the week. Badda-bing, badda boom. Done.
Tip #2: Create Go-To Meals.
Most people habitually eat the same five meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Count me as one of them.
I start every morning with a Cafe Mocha made with black coffee and chocolate protein powder. YUM! I enjoy it with one of my five regular breakfasts: peanut butter toast, cereal, egg white scramble with quinoa and vegetables, a fruit smoothie or a banana and hard-boiled egg.
What are your healthy go-to meals? Create your own that can be made easily and eaten even when you’re brain dead. When you have these go-to healthy meals in your back pocket, it’s almost like you’re putting your weight loss journey on autopilot. Spending two hours on Sunday to plan your meals for the week will save you time, money and calories.
Tip #3: Make It Mobile.
During the week, resist the temptation to patronize restaurants, vending machines and conference room potlucks by packing your healthy lunch. When you prepare your own food, you are 100% in charge of the ingredients. All the cool kids are doing it.
There are many fashionable and functional soft coolers available these days. I have one that looks so much like a purse that I may have inadvertently snuck a healthy lunch into a venue that prohibited outside food. If there’s a will, there’s a way! ;-)
If your job keeps you on the road all day, invest in a cooler or hot pot that plugs into your car. Need something even simpler? There’s always the good ol’ Thermos. You’ll be grateful come 3:00 pm when you’ve passed up the salty gas station sandwich for your own homemade salad. There’s nothing worse than an afternoon slump that could have been avoided!
Tip #4: Know Thy Restaurants.
Even with your best intentions and pre-planning, an unscheduled dining out experience could crash your healthy living party.
Thankfully, most restaurants have healthy choices on their menus. If they don’t have something that fits your plan, don’t be shy: ask them to prepare a special dish. You’re the boss!
Need help? Check out the free app called Healthy Out. Type in your zip code and it will list nearby restaurants with menu suggestions. All the nutritional information is at your fingertips to help you make a wise choice.
Tip #5: Don’t Give Up.
The first week of planning will take longer, but once you get into a rhythm, you’ll save time and money. If you find yourself in a situation where you can’t eat 100% healthy, watch your portion sizes. And remember: perfection isn't required for healthy living, just hop back on the horse at your next meal.
Bottom Line: If you choose to eat healthy, you can do it with simple preparation. I never leave the house without a protein bar because when I get hungry, I have to eat. Otherwise I turn into a cranky three-year old who wants to pound sand while throwing a tantrum and eating a gallon of ice cream. Trust me, it’s ugly, so I avoid it at all costs.