Updated: Oct 15
The most common excuse I hear for not eating healthy or exercising is, “I don’t have time.” I get it, you’re busy, but guess what? So are your fit and healthy co-workers, neighbors, relatives and friends.
And I hate to break it to you but there’s nothing “more special” or “unique” about them that magically grants them time to cook a healthy dinner or exercise. They simply make it a priority because they know how much better life is when you feel dynamite.
While lack of time can be a convenient (and common) excuse for living on convenience food and practicing unhealthy behaviors, you must know in your heart of hearts that you deserve feel great from the inside out. Right? Good. Let's make it happen!
You can totally rock healthier food habits. Even when you don’t have much time.
And to help you get started, here's 5 tips to help you eat healthy, even when you’re busy or on-the-go.
Tip #1: Be Prepared.
When you’re crazy-busy, the best way to guarantee you'll stick to your healthy diet is preparation. It takes the same amount of time to unwrap a banana and a hard-boiled egg as it does to unwrap a sugar-laden breakfast treat from the vending machine.
Of course, the vending machine or drive thru fare seems easier because it’s always there. This means that your job is the make sure that the banana and hardboiled egg are always there too. You and I both know that you’re already spending time shopping for and purchasing food. So why not use that time more constructively and purchase healthy food that makes life easier?
Schedule time on the weekend (or whatever day works best with your schedule) to do your grocery shopping for the whole week. If you don’t like cooking, buy a rotisserie chicken, remove the skin and turn it into five different meals for the week. Badda-bing, badda boom. Done.
Tip #2: Create Go-To Meals.
Most people habitually eat the same five meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And I'm one of them.
I start every morning with a mug of warm water and fresh squeezed lemon water and a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar. I enjoy it with one of my four regular breakfasts: protein peanut butter toast, overnight oats, egg and veggie scramble, or a fruit smoothie.
What are your healthy go-to meals? Create a list of your own that can be made easily and eaten - even when you're feeling brain dead. When you have these go-to healthy meals in your back pocket, it’s almost like you’re putting your healthy living and weight loss journey on autopilot. Spending two hours on Sunday to plan your meals for the week will save you time, money and calories.
Tip #3: Make It Mobile.
During the week, resist the temptation to order take-out, patronize restaurants, vending machines and conference room potlucks by packing your healthy lunch. When you prepare your own food, you are 100% in charge of the ingredients. And all the cool kids are doing it.
There are many fashionable and functional soft coolers available these days. I have one that matches my purse so I feel fun and fashionable anytime, anyplace. In fact, when I bring it into venues I often get asked where to find one. :-)
If your job keeps you on the road all day, invest in a cooler or hot pot that plugs into your car. Need something even simpler? There’s always the good ol’ Thermos. You’ll be grateful come 3:00 pm when you’ve passed up the salty gas station sandwich for your own homemade salad. There’s nothing worse than an afternoon slump that could have been avoided!
Tip #4: Know Thy Restaurants.
Even with your best intentions and pre-planning, an unscheduled dining out experience could crash your healthy living party.
Thankfully, most restaurants have healthy choices on their menus. And if you don’t see something that fits your plan, don’t be shy: ask them to prepare something. You’re the boss! Over the years I've learned if the ingredients exist on the menu, they'll usually have no problem throwing that healthy request together for you.
Need help? Check out the free app called Healthy Out. Type in your zip code and it will list nearby restaurants with menu suggestions. All the nutritional information is at your fingertips to help you make a smart choice.
Tip #5: Don’t Give Up.
The first week or two of planning will take longer, but once you get into a rhythm, you’ll save time, money and waistline. If you find yourself in a situation where you can’t eat 100% healthy, watch your portion sizes and aim for the healthiest options. And remember: perfection isn't required for healthy living. Just hop back on the horse at your next meal or make it right with the very next bite.
Bottom Line: eating healthy can be done with a bit of simple preparation. I never leave the house without a snack size bag of unsalted nuts or a piece of fruit because when I get hungry, I have to eat. Otherwise I turn into a cranky three-year old who wants to pound sand while throwing a tantrum and eating a bag of chips. Trust me, it’s ugly, so I avoid it at all costs.
Are you an ambitious man or woman who's ready to feel strong, live healthy, and get fit? Discover how to take small steps to get healthy & fit without cutting out the foods you love or spending countless hours on cardio. Come join me inside my online Facebook Community - The Healthy Habits Club. It's where ambitious folks go for the tips, tools and support they need to eat healthy, move daily, and feel good for life!