The number one excuse that most people have when it comes to healthy eating is that they simply do not have enough time to prepare healthy food. This does not have to be the case however. As long as you are willing to be a little creative and do some advanced planning there should be no problems sticking to a fairly healthy menu throughout the week. Not only will these tips help you to save money since you won’t be buying take-out or restaurant meals but they will also help you feel much better physically since your body will be getting the nourishment it needs.
1. Cut Up Raw Vegetables On The Weekend
Always try and have a selection of raw vegetables cut up and ready to go in a Tupperware container in the fridge. Then you can just pack some into a bag before you run off to school or work and you will have a quick and nutritious afternoon snack. If you cannot tolerate raw vegetables plain, try taking a packet of low calorie salad dressing to dip them in. Low fat homemade dips with sour cream and mayonnaise are also a great option but can be slightly hindering when you need something quick.
2. Pre-Plan Your Weekday Dinners
This is a popular scenario. It’s 6:30, you’ve had to work late and you are going home to a houseful of hungry kids. The easiest choice to turn seems to be the fast food drive thru. Unfortunately this will provide a great deal of calories and saturated fat without a lot of vitamins or minerals. If you took the time to plan out your weekday dinners on Sunday and prepped any food you could ahead of time, the stress of making dinner would be greatly reduced. For example, if you know you are planning meatballs on Thursday, cook them on Sunday but then store them in the freezer until Wednesday night. Take them out to thaw Thursday morning and then all you have to do when you get home is cook some minute rice, make a salad and your meal is on the table. It’s quick, easy and much healthier than a hamburger and fries.
3. Look Into Packaged Meals And Canned Soups
While packaged meals and canned soups are not really your best option since they tend to be rather high in sodium and low on vegetables they can come in handy on days when you need something particularly quick. To make this a more complete meal however, simply toss in some chopped or frozen vegetables before cooking. This will up the nutritional content as well as help you reach your fiber intake for the day. If you are choosing a basic soup such as canned chicken noodle, try cutting up a cooked chicken breast to increase the protein content as well. It’s always a good idea when you are preparing meats such as chicken breasts and lean steaks to cook a little extra and store them individually in the freezer. They will be perfect for days like this when you need a little extra protein.
4. Don’t Bypass Eggs
Far too many people shy away from eggs because of their cholesterol content. You can safely eat one or two eggs a day without having to worry provided you are currently in good health. Additionally, if you choose to consume more eggs than this you can simply separate the yolk from the white and eat the white alone. They are an excellent, quick source of protein. Try adding them to your soups, salads (hard-boiled), sandwiches or cook them using any of the other popular ways such as omelets or scrambled eggs. Eggs make for a much better breakfast than some sweetened cereal or worse yet, no breakfast at all.
5. Always Carry Portable Snacks
You never know when you are going to get delayed, whether it is a meeting at work, being stuck in traffic or any other change of event. In any situation, you need to be prepared in case hunger strikes. A great idea is to always carry a few portable, healthy snacks with you for times like these. Excellent options are low sugar granola bars, a small bag of pretzels, an easy open can of tuna or air popped popcorn. All of these can be stashed away in your bag and forgotten about until a time of need arises. Since they do not need refrigeration and don’t expire you will not have to worry about those factors.
Next time you are trying to use the excuse of being short on time for lack of a healthy diet, reconsider how valid this is. As long as you are putting in a conscious effort to make little changes in your planning it is perfectly possible to maintain a nutritional diet while carrying on a busy lifestyle.