Eating healthy is time and budget consuming, and the last thing we want to do after a long day at work is cook. But with a little pre-planning, you can totally have it all. Here are five ways to eat healthy when you’re busy at work.
Be a prepper.
Meal prepping ahead of time is the most efficient way to eat healthy all week long- and save money while you’re at it. For a grab-and-go lunch, check out bowl recipes like the Mediterranean quinoa salad or sweet potato and black bean burrito bowl that can sit in the fridge for a few days. Then, buy your groceries, cook and prepare everything on Sunday, and you’ll have a week’s worth of healthy and delicious lunches ready to go.
Take the same approach with dinner and freeze extra portions for the future so you’re not stuck eating Paleo meatloaf five nights in a row.
Plan it out.
Similar to prepping, healthy meal planning means you decide on your weekly meals ahead of time. It also helps you mix them up so you’re not eating the same thing every single day.
Find recipes that call for similar fresh ingredients, such as roasted garlic pasta salad, strawberry basil chicken, bruschetta chicken bake, and strawberry basil ricotta ice pops. This will allow you to reduce food waste, save money, and enjoy a few different dishes throughout the week. To keep flavors from getting too matchy matchy, look for complimentary recipes that call for pantry staples like beans, tuna, and canned vegetables.
If you’re craving simplicity, opt for the time-tested formula of having a specific meal each night of the week. Your weekly menu can look like chicken on Tuesdays, Mexican on Wednesdays, fish on Thursdays, and cauliflower pizza on Fridays. Liver and onions fan? Do it up!
While the type of meal may be the same, you can easily swap out your recipes weekly to mix it up. By setting a routine, you’re mentally prepared and ready to go home and cook it up.
For days when you ain’t got time to cook, it’s okay to opt for take-out. Find a few restaurants near your home and office that offer healthy options, and keep their contact information as well as your top orders in one document so you have everything ready to go when you call. Most chain establishments also offer apps that record your favorite orders, so all you have to do is click.
Have a quickie.
Quickly prepared dinner that is. Quick meals are ideal for nights when you have no motivation to cook or wait for the oven to come to temp. And forget frozen, pre-made meals. They’re loaded with sodium and other not-so-healthy additives, so keep a stash of recipes handy that are ideal for situations when you don’t want to cook but want something delicious that’s also healthy. Oh yes, it’s possible.
More of a willy nilly chef? Raid your pantry and check the freezer for frozen vegetables. Toss an assortment in a pan and cook stovetop, then top with your favorite sauce for a stir-fry style meal that’s ready in 5 minutes flat!
With a bit of foresight, you can say goodbye to questionable leftovers and greasy take-out and hello to fresh, flavorful meals- even during a busy workweek.
Meg is a dreamer, entrepreneur, and homesteader based in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. She loves her cats, feasting, and road trips in her green VW Bug.