These days, eating healthy can seem impossible. Juggling work responsibilities and family schedules make picking up a meal at the nearest fast food restaurant or grocery counter an attractive option.
But eating fast food regularly, and eating on the go can have harmful health effects. According to the Cleveland Clinic, food choices is among the “big four” factors that cause 75 percent of chronic disease, along with tobacco use, stress and inactivity.
Preparing a meal (and eating it) at home is easier than you think. Here are a few simple ways to eat better healthy on a busy schedule:
Planning ahead is an easy way to make healthy choices, and keeping healthy staples on hand makes putting together a healthy meal simple. If planning ahead seems overwhelming, think of it this way: You’re going grocery shopping, so just take a few extra minutes beforehand to plan out meals for the week.
To keep things simple, you can eat the same things for breakfast, lunch and snacks all week, and add variety to your plate at dinner.
You can save even more time by preparing everything you need for the week when you get home from the store. If your lunches for the week will be salads, for example, wash and cut all the veggies and prepare the meat ahead of time so you can just grab everything and go in the morning.
Frozen Items are Your Friends
Using frozen fruits or vegetables can save on prep time and they’re often just as good as their fresh counterparts.
Fresh Items that are Cheap, Too
It may seem costly to have fresh ingredients on hand, but the American Heart Association has put together a list of healthy foods that come to $1 or less per serving. These include things like:
- Baby carrots
Create a Healthy Plate
Follow these tips from choosemyplate.gov for creating a healthy plate:
- Make half of your plate fruits and vegetables
- Choose lean protein like chicken, seafood or tofu
- Eat slowly and savor your food
A busy schedule doesn’t have to keep you from making healthy choices. Planning ahead and keeping a few healthy staples on hand are simple ways to ensure you’re eating healthy meals. For more tips on how to eat healthy on a busy schedule — including ways to make fast food work for you, cooking tips, sample meal plans, and more — download our free guide.