How to Eat Well with a Busy Schedule

We all want to eat well. We know that fruits and vegetables are better choices than packaged snacks. We know to avoid fast food and processed meals. Knowing all this is one thing, yet actually eating well can be a whole different story.

So many of us live lives full of back-to-back meetings, soccer practice, and grabbing quick meals to eat on the go. With everything we have to juggle, taking time to cook three healthy meals a day just isn’t always feasible. So, how can busy people realistically eat a healthy diet?

Here a few habits to help busy people eat well:

1. Evaluate

First of all, you’ll want to pinpoint when you typically are the most likely to make poor eating choices. Are you always rushing out the door in the morning and grab whatever you can eat in the car? Do you tend to buy lunch rather than bring your own? Identifying these types of trends will help you know what changes need to happen.

2. Meal Prep

When we’re left to choose in the moment, many of us often make emotional choices rather than logical ones. When it’s lunchtime, your stomach is growing, and someone suggests pizza, it can feel near impossible to resist. Instead, consider meal and/or snack prepping.

This doesn’t have to mean cooking up a giant casserole that you’ll be stuck eating for every meal. It can mean creating a dinner calendar, pre-portioning snacks, or making your lunch the night before. Depending on what you’re trying to improve upon, reducing choice like this can help simplify healthy eating.

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3. Buy Better Groceries

It’s a simple concept but it can be difficult to do. When you’re grocery shopping, avoid foods you know you’ll over-indulge in later. Instead, try to find healthier alternatives to the foods you crave. If you love a crunchy after-dinner snack, consider bell peppers and hummus rather than chips. If you love dessert, how about fruit and cream instead of ice cream? If you don’t have it in your house, you’re less likely to eat it.

4. Take Advantage of the Office Kitchen

If you work in a traditional office, don’t be shy about bringing in food to keep there during the week. Many of us end up eating a meal or two at work, so don’t get stuck in the processed microwave meal mindset.

Grab a bowl and fill it with fruit to keep at your desk. Or bring in a tub of Greek yogurt and granola for breakfast or snacks. Why not bring in the supplies for a week’s worth of turkey wraps and just keep it in the fridge?

5. Eat Slowly

Being busy can make this one harder, but try to slow down for mealtimes. This will not only help you appreciate your food more, but it can also help you manage your portions. Eating slowly can help give your body time to recognize that full feeling sooner, so you’re less likely to overeat.

Step away from your desk for lunch, eat dinner at a table, and try not to eat meals while driving. Setting your fork down between bites can be helpful to train your brain to slow down. You may even want to look into mindful eating as a way to help create a healthy relationship with food.

Taking even small steps towards a healthy lifestyle can impact your overall wellbeing. Remember that there will be times when you don’t meet your goals for the day and that’s okay. Knowing that there will be missteps will help you stay motivated to get back on the track towards long-term health.

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