The Busy Person’s Guide to Healthy Eating

Healthy Eating

I want to eat healthier, but I find that I just don’t have to time. I have an off-campus apartment, so I was hoping that this year I’d be cooking a lot for myself and making myself eat better than I have before, but it just hasn’t worked out that way. I’m busy, I’m tired, and the last thing I want to do during the week is spend time cooking. But on the weekends, I want to go out with friends and enjoy myself, not stay at home eating alone! Experts, do you have any advice for eating healthy with a crammed schedule?

Eating healthy isn’t easy, at least not at first. We are all creatures of habit, and studies show that part of the reason so many diets fail is that they’re just that: temporary diets, not true changes in lifestyle. The reality is that we need to create real lifestyle changes and permanent habits if we are going to eat the way we should. And, unfortunately, that’s not easy to do--especially if our current habits work a whole lot better in our busy schedules!

But there are a few things that you can do in order to cut down the time that it takes to eat healthy and give yourself a fighting chance at a better diet. Let’s start with a few.

One popular option is to prepare your meals ahead of time. People have been doing this for ages, but a recent surge in popularity has given the practice a catchy nickname--”meal prep”--and a subculture all its own. You’ll find tips on message boards and blogs across the internet, but the basic idea of meal prep is to prepare food less often. Often, meal prep devotees will make a large batch of food on Sunday, divide it into multiple meals, and freeze or otherwise store it so that they can have it on multiple days of that coming week. Of course, some more extreme meal preppers might make more food and eat it over a longer period, while less devoted meal preppers might simply make a meal or two’s worth of food whenever they feel as if they have enough time.

Another big help to would-be healthy eaters is our growing ability to outsource our grocery shopping. There are many services that will let you order food from the local grocery store for delivery. Others may send you ingredients to encourage you to cook. And some combine delivery with the meal prep trend--like Muscle Up Meals, a service that encourages meal prep los angeles.

Of course, mealtimes aren’t the only times that we’re making food-related decisions. Health-conscious folks should also keep an eye on snacking. Snacking is by its nature a quick and easy thing, so don’t think that any amount of time-saving cooking measures is likely to make a big difference in your snack habits! Instead, try to prepare for your inevitable cravings ahead of time. Shop for food when you’re not hungry, and make wise decisions to stock your pantry with healthy snacks rather than chips and ice cream. Sure, your hungry self may later be tempted to run to the store for something less healthy--but by planning ahead, you can turn your busy schedule into a reason to eat healthy (by snacking on the healthy stuff you already have in your fridge) rather than the other way around!

“There is no sincerer love than the love of food.” -- George Bernard Shaw

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