Are you trying to eat healthily but struggle when life gets busy? Today we have some healthy eating tips that can help!
September is here and summer is ending. As the kids head back to school, we all settle back into a regular routine. But the end of summer means the end of a more relaxed schedule. It also means your schedule will be getting a lot busier in the weeks ahead. There will be lots of extra rehearsals, practices, activities, meetings, lessons, and more, all demanding your time and attention. And we know that a busy schedule can often derail the best healthy eating plans.
If you’re trying to balance your schedule, along with your kids and their activities, it can get overwhelming quickly. Before you know it, you get so overwhelmed that you skip fixing healthy meals and snacks. These busy times can make it tempting to choose foods that are convenient, but not the healthiest. It is much faster to drive through the closest fast-food restaurant after an exhausting day.
But you can fix healthy meals and snacks for the same or less time than it takes to fix that frozen dinner or go through the drive-thru. Eating healthy doesn’t have to take a lot of time. It just takes a little planning! And we’re going to give you some simple tips, tricks, and meal ideas to help you stay on track with your healthy eating plan.
Quick and easy breakfast ideas
It’s always good to start off your day with a healthy breakfast. Starting your day with healthy foods gives your body the energy it needs to face a busy day. But during the school year, trying to get the kids and yourself out the door can mean crazy mornings with a lot going on! And you may find it challenging to find the time to prepare a healthy breakfast. It can be easy to skip breakfast or to grab a donut instead. But neither of these options gives your body the nutrients it needs so that you have the energy to last until lunch. Planning ahead can help you to have a healthy breakfast ready, even on busy mornings.
Here are a few simple options, that taste great too!
Egg bites are small, individual crustless quiches. They are eggs that have been scrambled then baked in muffin pans. You can add the combination of vegetables, meat, and seasonings you like to the eggs. They freeze well and so it is easy to make a large batch or two and store them in the freezer. Then thaw what you need the night before or defrost them in the microwave that morning. Egg bites are also portable, so you can take one or two with you!
Overnight breakfast bowl with chia seeds
Chia seeds are nutritional powerhouses! Whip up a batch of chia seed overnight pudding with your choice of flavors. Let it sit overnight. In the morning, add some cut-up fruit or nuts for a tasty and quick breakfast.
Baked oatmeal cups
If you like oatmeal, but don’t have time to make a bowl of it, baked oatmeal cups are a good option. These can be customized with the spices, sweeteners, or fruit of your choice. Like the egg bites, baked oatmeal cups freeze well. So, it’s a great idea to make a large batch and freeze them. They are also portable and make for a quick and simple breakfast on the go.
Quick, easy lunches
It is common to hear from clients that they just never know what to fix for lunch. And that leaves many reaching for foods that tend to be less than healthy. But there are lots of healthy options for lunch now! These can all be made in advance and require little preparation time!
Here are some easy options for you!
Mason jar salads
For this easy salad, simply layer your favorite salad ingredients in a glass mason jar. Put the wetter ingredients in the bottom layers and the drier ingredients towards the top. Keep the dressing in a separate container and add when ready to eat. This salad is portable and is meant to be made in advance. Avoid using ingredients like avocados or apples. that turn brown quickly after being cut. They will oxidize too quickly.
Sandwiches or wraps
Sandwiches or wraps are always a good choice for lunch! They are portable and easy to take when you’re on the go. Have dietary restrictions? There are plenty of bread and wrap options that can help! Or skip the bread or wrap altogether and use lettuce! There are always options so you can customize according to your health needs.
Hummus with dippers
Select your favorite flavor of hummus. Cut up some veggies to dip! Serve it with some fresh fruit for a light and easy meal. Need some additional protein? Add a hard-boiled egg to your meal. Easy!
Tuna/egg/chicken salad with crackers or cucumber slices
Whip up a batch of homemade tuna, egg, or chicken salad and serve it with some crackers or cucumber slices for a simple and quick lunch.
How often do you have leftovers after you fix dinner? As you are planning what to fix for dinner, plan to make extra servings so that you have leftovers. Leftovers always make for a quick and easy lunch option. And it’s always better to spend time cooking once and getting more than one meal from it.
Making dinner easy
Planning meals for dinner every night can be exhausting! But cooking dinner doesn’t have to be difficult! In fact, when you have the right tools, and a good collection of recipes, you can make dinner with little fuss.
Kitchen must haves to make your life easier!
There are a few small appliances that can make dinner prep a lot easier! The top two we recommend are a slow cooker and an electric pressure cooker. Both of these make fixing dinner a lot easier!
The slow cooker
The slow cooker is meant to cook food at lower temperatures for a longer period of time. Many slow cooker recipes require as much as 8-10 hours to cook a meal. Look for recipes that allow you to add all of the ingredients to the crock, turn it on, and let it cook on its own all day.
You will want to choose recipes that require as little prep time as possible. The recipes you choose shouldn’t take any more than 10-15 minutes to prepare. The idea is to make dinner easy! If your slow cooker has a removable crock, you can add all of the ingredients the night before and keep the crock in your refrigerator until the next morning. Then put the crock back in the base and turn it on! Look for a slow cooker that has a warming function to keep your food warm until you get home. Then it doesn’t matter if you get home a little later than expected. Your hot and healthy meal will be ready for you!
The electric pressure cooker
But what if you haven’t planned far enough in advance to use the slow cooker? Let’s say it’s time for dinner. But you haven’t even taken any meat out of the freezer, and you don’t know what you’re going to feed the family. That’s when the electric pressure cooker comes in handy! An electric pressure cooker allows you to cook meals much more quickly. The good news is that you can even cook meat that hasn’t been thawed. Like with the slow cooker, look for recipes that allow you to throw all of the ingredients in the pot, set it, and forget it! Remember that cooking time will increase a bit if you do use frozen ingredients. And you need to include time for the pressure cooker to pressurize and depressurize after cooking.
Meal delivery services
What if you don’t have a lot of time to search for recipes? Now there are meal delivery services that can help. These services allow you to select the recipes you want for the week. They send you all of the ingredients you will need for each recipe. And there are services that offer options for people with dietary restrictions as well. There are plenty of healthy meal service options as well! A few popular meal delivery services include Home Chef, Blue Apron, Sun Basket, Green Chef, Gobble, Hello Fresh, and Fresh and Easy just to name a few.
Healthy eating for snack time
What do you do when you’re hungry, but need something to tide you over until the next meal? That’s when a healthy snack comes in handy.
Here are a few simple healthy eating snack ideas:
- Apple slices with almond butter
- A handful of nuts
- Half a banana with nut butter
- Hummus with baby carrots
- A smoothie
- Celery sticks with peanut butter
- Roasted chickpeas
- Greek yogurt topped with berries
- Hard-boiled egg
- Egg bite
- Baked oatmeal cup
- Organic tortilla chips and fresh salsa
- Homemade trail mix
- Sunflower seeds
- Deli meat and cheese roll up
A busy schedule doesn’t need to undermine your healthy eating plans. A little preplanning can help you stay on track. You’re worth feeling great again! And reaching for fast food or junk food won’t help you reach your health goals!