Your schedule is packed enough as it is. You’re swamped with too many responsibilities that eating healthy is just not on the top of your list of priorities. You only have time for the quickest and easiest meal (which might not be the healthiest). In the evenings, you’re too tired to make a homemade meal and end up getting takeout for the third time this week. Sure, eating conveniently can be great for your busy lifestyle right now, but it will eventually negatively impact your health and your budget in the long run.
Eating healthy can be a challenge in and of itself. Add that on top of being busy and trying to minimize your expenses, and maintaining a healthy diet can seem impossible. But despite the challenges that eating healthy might present, it’s not as difficult as you think.
Here are the different ways you can maintain a healthy diet while on a budget and a busy schedule:
Simplify your meals
You don’t have to prepare a complicated homemade meal from scratch to ensure that you’re eating healthy. And when you’re on a budget, complicated meals with lots of ingredients can rack up your food budget. Instead, stick to simple, whole, and (as much as possible) organic meals that can nourish your body without taking too much of your time or money.
For example, instead of an eight-ingredient salad that takes half an hour to prepare, opt for a simple veggie wrap that takes less than ten minutes to whip up. Or when you’re really swamped for time, eat things that require no preparation at all, like a yogurt, whole-grain cereal, and pieces of fruit.
Eat like a senior
This sounds like a weird tip, but if you think about it, seniors are some of the healthiest eaters among all age demographics. When you visit or volunteer at a hospice, you’ll see meals that are nutritionally well-rounded and served in the easiest way to eat. More importantly, you won’t see any fast food, junk food, or convenience foods added to the mix.
So even if you might be decades away from retirement age, you might want to start eating meals that are well-balanced, contain little to no processed foods, and can be easily eaten for your convenience.
Meal prep on weekends
A few hours of sacrifice on your weekend can give you a whole week of nutritious, pre-packed meals that can save you both time and money. Dedicate a portion of your weekend to prepare breakfast, lunch, dinners, and snacks by batches. In this way, you can take your meal from the refrigerator or freezer and reheat it when you’re ready to eat. And when you always take lunch to work, you can fight the temptation of going to the fast-food joint next door for lunch.
Don’t skip breakfast
You skip breakfast because you’re running late, and the next thing you know, you’ve eaten twice as many calories as you would for lunch because you’re already starving. And on top of that, you spend too much money that you could’ve used for healthy groceries.
Skipping breakfast is one of the most common causes of overeating. It can also lead to obesity, diabetes, lowered cognition, and morning grumpiness. Given these effects on your health and your wallet, make breakfast a priority, even when you’re swamped for time. Eat a piece of fruit in the car or a cup of yogurt on your desk if that’s what you’re limited to. The most important thing is to get something in your stomach before your first hour at work.
Drink plenty of water
Dehydration can trick your body into thinking that it is hungry. This can lead to unnecessary munching, leading to unnecessary dollars spent on the office vending machine. To save snack money and keep up your healthy diet at the same time, drink plenty of water throughout the day.
Moreover, avoid drinking sodas, coffee, tea, energy drinks, and sugary fruit juices as much as you can. Even if they are free in the break room, the added sugar in these beverages is not good for your diet. If you want to drink something flavored, opt for drinks with little to no sugar added, such as unsweetened tea or fresh fruit juice.
Being busy and having a tight budget should not hinder you from eating a healthy diet. With these tips, you can ensure that you’re eating nutritious food throughout the week but not without taking too much time or spending more than you have to.