Healthy Eating Hacks for People Who Don't Have Time

Simple and quick tips for healthy eating, even if your schedule is busy beyond belief

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Despite what many busy people like yourself might think, healthy eating doesn’t have to be a crazy complicated ordeal that requires hours of time you don’t even really have.

It’s the opposite, actually. If you use the right strategies (like the tips we’re about to share) and spend just a small amount of time planning ahead, eating healthy on a regular basis—even when you’re schedule is busy beyond beliefcan become a practically seamless part of your life.

“My number one nutrition tip for busy people, or anyone really, is making sure to have what I call ‘CPF’ every single time you eat,” says Megan Ware, R.D.N., L.D., owner of Nutrition Awareness and a nutrition coach and counselor. “The C stands for complex Carbohydrate, the P is for Protein and the F is for healthy Fat.”

This is important, Ware explained, because your body needs to maintain a healthy balance of all three of these essential macronutrients pretty much all of the time.

“A typical breakfast of a muffin or donut on the run with coffee, or even cereal and almond milk is severely lacking in protein and healthy fat,” she explained. “A few short hours later, your body is famished.”

At this point, you’re most likely to crave something high in fat and protein. “A lot of times, that means comfort food or fast food drive through,” Ware said. “Get ahead of those cravings by making sure that you are eating something from all three categories every time you eat.”

This might seem like an overwhelming feat to conquer at first, especially if you’re always on the go, but if you slowly start using this strategy to build your meals (for example, try using it just at breakfast or lunch for a few weeks and then build up from there) you’ll likely notice a big improvement in your eating habits.

Plus, if you pair the "CPF strategy" with the following healthy eating hacks, you’ll have your healthy eating habits so on track it’ll hardly matter how busy your schedule really is. 

Make Your Own Trail Mix

Having healthy, satisfying snacks on hand is one of the best ways to make sure your healthy eating habits will stay on track at all times. “Make your own trail mix in bulk and portion it out in single-serving snack bags,” suggest Jenny Petitti, R.D., an American College of Sports Medicine certified personal trainer. She recommends making it with whole grain cereal, dried fruit like raisins and salt-free nuts. 

Get a Lunch Box

“One of my best friends is my insulated lunch box,” says Carol Phillips, a national health and wellness expert and the award-winning author of 52 Simple Ways to Health. “I always have it on hand to make it easy to keep healthy snacks, meals and drinks available to avoid becoming too hungry and being tempted to raid the sugar- and sodium-filled vending machine at work. Having it in my vehicle ensures I'll avoid buying an unhealthy meal when traveling and it can be a lifesaver when you are stuck in traffic.” Phillips suggests turning the habit of packing lunches and snacks for the following day into a nightly family ritual. “Preparing your lunchbox the day before is also a great way to reduce morning rush stress,” she said. “Take your stocked lunchbox with you every day, not only to work, but also on long errands during the weekend.”

Click here to see more time-saving hacks for healthier eating.

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