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The last thing you’re thinking about during a busy week is eating – surviving on convenient drive-thrus and grab-and-go food is easy, but it usually isn’t very healthy. Use our 5 tips below to fit a more balanced diet in on your busiest days.
Do you feel tired, hungry, and anxious more often than not? You’re not alone. More Americans than ever feel strapped for time to devote to themselves between their busy schedule.
Eating well often takes a bit of planning, and it can be one of the first things to go when we’re rushing through the week. In turn, a low-nutrient diet saps our energy and negatively affects our ability to manage stress and anxiety.
We’ve gathered our five best tips to help get you through the week eating a balanced diet without using a ton of your time.
#1: Make breakfast at night
The morning rush can be a blur between getting yourself ready for the workday along with any other little ones you might have to help. On the tightest days, you might step out the door without eating at all or grabbing something quick and unhealthy to eat along the way.
Sometimes getting up earlier to make breakfast just isn’t an option. To ensure you have an excellent breakfast every day, make it the night beforehand.
Here are a few easy breakfasts to make ahead of time:
- Baked oatmeal
- Chia seed pudding
- Overnight oats
- Hash brown egg cups
These are all super simple recipes to make, but if you’re feeling extra motivated, you can even pre-assemble some breakfast sandwiches with eggs and cheese.
#2: Portion your snacks
I’m speaking from experience when I say that it’s all too easy to grab a donut from the breakroom in a moment of weakness at 2 pm. The best way to stop unhealthy snacking is by having easy, tasty alternatives ready when the hunger (or stress) strikes.
Prepare snacks ahead of time and portion them into convenient containers or reusable pouches so that you have a better option when the time comes. If the food doesn’t spoil quickly, portion it out way ahead of time and keep it ready in your cupboard. For fresh foods, prepare them the night before or in the morning for the day ahead.
Some of the best tasty, convenient snacks:
- Trail mix with nuts, seeds, and dried fruit
- Fresh sliced bell peppers, cucumbers, and carrots with hummus
- Nut butter energy bites
- Greek yogurt, granola, and berries
- Boiled eggs
- Roasted spicy chickpeas
- Roasted kale chips
#3: Invest in some meal bars
Eating whole foods is always the most nutrient-dense meal and snack option. While you shouldn’t use snack bars to replace every meal, in a busy schedule, there are going to be times when having a meal is nearly impossible, and that’s okay.
For those extra-busy times, have some good-quality meal bars on hand to get you through until your next meal. Many bars have pretty decent nutrition information, so read your labels and choose accordingly.
#4: Consider a food box
Meal-kit services like HelloFresh and GoodFood have blown up in popularity over the last few years. While heading to the grocery store yourself and meal planning is a more inexpensive option, these food boxes have their place for the busy consumer that isn’t super price-sensitive.
If you order delivery a few times per week instead of cooking, do yourself a favor and try one of these boxes instead. With the ingredients prepped and recipe included, all of the guesswork is out of the equation, and you’ll likely have dinner on the table faster than your takeout delivery would be. Knowing that the food is sitting in your fridge is excellent motivation – you won’t want it to waste.
Plus, you’ll end up eating more “real” food and know exactly what is going into each dish.
#5: Meal prep on the weekend
Meal prepping on the weekend is the best way to set your entire week up for success. Set aside a bit of time on your day off to pick out some meals to make ahead, get your groceries, and portion them into separate portions.
You can make ahead breakfasts, lunches, or dinners – try focusing on whatever meal you struggle to make during the week.
Make a one-pot meal like chili or casseroles, or pull out a tortilla press, prepare some fillings, and roll some wraps. Try to make some foods you can eat cold straight out of the fridge, like Greek salads or power bowls.
Final notes: finding balance when you’re super busy
It’s tough to eat well with the stressors of modern-day life. Don’t beat yourself up about food choices you perceive as “bad,” we’re all doing our best at any given time.
Remember, to incorporate some more balanced meals into your busy week, try to:
- Make breakfast the night before to grab quickly on short mornings;
- Prepare and portion healthy snacks, so they’re ready as you need;
- Get some good-quality meal bars for those times a meal is impossible;
- Try out a meal-kit service to avoid ordering takeout;
- And prepare as many meals ahead as you can on your day off.
We hope you find these tips helpful to add a little more nutrition into your busy schedule!