How to Eat Healthy with a Busy Schedule

Try these easy healthy eating tips suited for a busy schedule.

You’re living like a superhuman trying to do it all! Between a career, family, friends, school, traveling, and so on, healthy eating can quickly seem less important. Yet it’s times like these when you need it the most. Rather than letting health goals slip aside or add more stress to your already busy schedule, start with these easy healthy eating tips.

Life happens

We get it! When life goes full blast, looking and planning for a healthy meal may be last on the to-do list. Scarfing down a meal before rushing back to the grind or calling your favorite take-out before passing out and starting it all again the next day may seem like all you can manage. 

This is sometimes necessary and ok on occasion, but over time, it can take a toll on your health goals. A diet that’s high in saturated fat, sodium, and sugar can lead to obesity and related chronic diseases, especially if you’re living a stressed or sedentary lifestyle (1). So, how do you take simple steps to eat more healthily when you have no time? 

Tips to eat healthy with a super busy schedule

Plan in pieces 

If possible, aim to dedicate one day per week to meal planning. This includes recipe collecting, grocery shopping, and some basic meal prep. If a day is too much to dedicate to your busy schedule, break it down into smaller pieces. 

Perhaps you can swing by the store every Monday and Wednesday after work. Can you use your commute time searching for recipes? If this also seems too overwhelming, consider a healthy ingredient or grocery delivery service to save on the time it takes to get to the store.

Meal prep in a moment

Did you know that you can make lots of simple meals with simple ingredients? The trick here is to stock up on shelf-stable or frozen healthy stuff. Keep frozen vegetables, frozen lean proteins (fish, poultry, tofu), canned beans and lentils, and dry whole grains, herbs, and spices on hand. 

Our in-house chef, Julia recommends always having green beans and crushed tomatoes in your pantry. This way you can make a quick and tasty meal! For instance, if you add lentils and seasonings to the green beans and crushed tomatoes, you can make a nice curry. Or, add whole grain pasta for a simple Italian-inspired dish. 

Water all the way

Staying hydrated is super important for your overall health, energy, and even your metabolism (how effectively you break down and use food). It can help decrease cravings since oftentimes we can confuse thirst signals for hunger. Staying hydrated will also help you feel more alert and productive during your busy day (2).

Choose water over sweetened drinks to save on sugar and beware of too much caffeine, which can end up making you feel more tired and stressed. Set up reminders for water tracking with the Lifesum app.

Make take-out basic 

When you need to go for take-out, make it healthy with some simple switches. If you aim to lose weight, start by checking if the restaurants offer lighter meals on their menus. One way to avoid extra calories is to choose other options than sauces that contain ingredients such as creams, BBQ, and teriyaki. Go for grilled or steamed versus fried foods and skip the sides or swap it out for fruit or a side salad.

Make sure your meal is balanced, containing a vegetable, whole grain carbohydrate (brown rice, whole grain bread, quinoa), lean protein (beans, tofu, eggs, fish), and healthy fats (avocado, nuts, seeds, olive oil). For example, choose a vegetable-based entree with broiled or grilled fish and brown rice. For a sandwich, you could go for whole-grain bread with avocado, egg, and fresh vegetables.

Take micro-breaks

It may seem counterintuitive, but taking quick breaks can help increase overall productivity. Even if you have a busy schedule, it is important to take a break from your screen when you eat. That’s because when we eat mindfully, it can help us feel more satisfied sooner, control portion sizes, and even improves our digestion.

Make the meal a reason for focusing on just eating and limit distractions such as your phone, the computer, or TV. Focus on the food you’re eating by enjoying the colors, flavors, smells, and textures. 

Make your life a little easier 

You know the saying, “out of sight, out of mind?” The opposite holds true for healthy habit change. Make your healthy changes even easier by setting up prompts in your environment (3). 

For instance, always bring a water bottle with you, have nutritious snacks available, make sure to fill up your kitchen with nutritious foods, and place the less healthy foods in less available places. Lastly, log your meals and set up notification reminders with a helpful nutrition app like Lifesum to make sure you’re eating well.

All of the content and media on Lifesum is created and published for information purposes only. It is not intended to be used as a substitute for medical advice or treatment. Users should always consult with a doctor or other health care professional for medical advice.

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All of the content and media on Lifesum is created and published for information purposes only. It is not intended to be used as a substitute for medical advice or treatment. Users should always consult with a doctor or other health care professional for medical advice. If you have or think you are at risk of developing an eating disorder, do not use the Lifesum app and seek immediate medical help.

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