Eating healthy when living a busy life is tough! So how do you do it? If you’re trying to keep up with a full schedule – whether its managing your home, caring for loved ones, growing your career, or finishing your education – its even more important to fuel your body well. You’re expending energy (and likely experiencing stressful moments) balancing everything and your body needs proper fuel to have a strong immune system to continue with diligence and excellence in each arena of your life.
We certainly do live in a fast-paced culture with so much convenience at our fingertips. This is a blessing in many ways, however, the non-stop rush of life can be incredibly exhausting and damaging to our health and overall well-being. We want to strive to use the gifts, abilities and talents we’ve been given to the best of our abilities in each arena of life we’ve been placed. However, if you’re so busy that you truly can’t make time to prep some healthy meals and take a break to breathe, restore, and enjoy the simple pleasures of life, then it may be wise to take some time to evaluate your responsibilities and schedule to consider if you’ve taken on more than is healthful for you and those you love. I’m certainly no expert in this area, but am trying to grow in the art of slowing down. To aid in this, I evaluate my life as a whole every January 1st – reflecting on the past year and planning for the one ahead – but I always need little “touch ups” throughout the year to keep me focused and adjust if needed.
If you know me, you know…yes, I’m a planner. I kind of geek out in The Container Store. 😉 So planning ahead in the kitchen comes naturally to me. If that’s not the case for you, no need to worry! I’ve got some tips, tricks, and handy resources to get you started! You can plan as little or as much as works for you.
- Start small – If you’re struggling to eat healthfully, you may start by planning two nights a week to make a new, healthful recipe. Check out a list of my favorites here! If you have a large family, make extra for quick lunches throughout the week. If you have a small family, still plan to make the entire recipe for leftovers or freeze it for later. Like my sister always says, “cook once, eat twice.” Wise words from a busy momma.
- Bulk cook – At the beginning of each week I’ll typically make a batch of hummus, cook a pot of a whole grain of choice, make a bean salad, and a loaf of bread as our “staples” throughout the week. If this sounds overwhelming, just choose 1 or 2 items to start. It’s not as time consuming as it may sound. I’ll have my bread baking in the oven, grains are simmering on the stovetop, all while I’m quickly blending a big batch of humus. Making a big pot of quinoa on Sunday can mean a Creamy Quinoa Breakfast Pudding one day, an Almond Berry Salad for lunch, or Mexican Quinoa Salad for dinner. Yum-o!
- Prep ahead – I grocery shop every Friday and when I get home I immediately clean all my produce and put it in containers. This saves time when I need to cook, plus I can easily see and access all my produce throughout the week = less waste!
- Meal plan – Looking at the week ahead and putting a few meals on the schedule can mean less opportunity to grab something unhealthy and actually be quicker since you’ll be ready to dive into cooking! And, as I mentioned, planning ahead enables you to purchase only what you need when grocery shopping. Download one of my free meal planners (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner OR Lunch & Dinner) and make plenty of copies for the weeks ahead.
- Keep Healthy On-Hand – Out with the old and in with the new! If you have healthy options on hand you’ll make healthy choices. That’s why I always have a batch of some type of nut-date balls in my freezer to satisfy every sweet tooth. My current favorite is Dreena’s Lemon-Kissed Blondie Bites.
I’d love to hear from you! What tips and tricks do you have for making healthy choices while living a busy life?