AAHHC Q3: “I feel like I’m too busy to prepare healthy meals. How do I set myself up to eat better?”
This is such a great question and so relevant to all of us who may be working and/or managing various priorities. In a world where there is so many demands for our attention, time and energy, eating healthy (and our overall well-being) can take a back seat. The best way for us to set ourselves up for success is to be proactive and not reactive.
What are some ways we can do this?
1. Really evaluate where your time goes. We spend so much time being distracted by something–our phones, the tv, sleeping in, etc. If eating well is really what you value, you’ll make time to create healthier options for yourself, whether it’s 30 min a night to cook dinner or a few hours each weekend to meal prep. Be honest with yourself and align your actions with your intentions.
2. Consider meal prepping each week. There are so many different ways to meal prep depending on your preference, whether it means preparing meals just for lunches (what I do to save money), preparing key ingredients separately to have ready to throw together each day or preparing containers of complete, balanced meals to just reheat when needed. Be realistic with what you need from meal prepping and what you don’t want. I like to have variety in my meals so I just make 5 portions of lunches and commit to spending 30 mins a night preparing dinner. I’ve also prepped veggies and grains in different containers and taken 10 mins each night to make a grain bowl with various toppings as well. This is a great time to try out new recipes! Pick 1-2 a week you can try and base your meal prep around that.
3. Keep a grocery shopping list. When deciding what to make each week, make sure to add it to a shopping list so that you’ll have it handy when you make a grocery run. Check your fridge and pantry for overlaps so that you’re not buying more than you need. Alternately, once you run out of a staple ingredient, make sure to add it to your list. Ideally, you’ll only have to grocery shop once a week—pick a day when the store won’t be crowded by other people doing their own grocery run for the week.
4. Use canned and frozen ingredients when necessary. I always have canned pumpkin, canned beans and roasted tomatoes and frozen fruits and veggies in my fridge to use in my meal prep whenever I need them. Frozen produce can actually be good alternatives to fresh produce as they are often picked at peak ripeness and stored to preserve all the nutrients. When selecting canned foods, try to buy organic, salt-free options with little additives so that you’re not ingesting excess sodium and preservatives. Shortcuts can be your best friend.
I hope these tips help! Setting a intention to eat healthier is going to take time no matter what. However, it’s possible to streamline the time that you do have so that you can create healthy, easy meals that will make you feel better and give you more energy and motivation to continue.
**I am a Holistic Health Coach. I am not a registered dietitian or nutritionist. Those with major medical concerns should consult with their doctor.
***If you would like to submit a health question, please follow me on IG at @sanghaofgrace and tag me to submit your question.