Fueling our bodies is important for our mental and physical health. Food gives us the energy to live each day to our fullest potential. Despite knowing its importance, it may feel challenging to make time to eat with a busy schedule. You may find that the day has slipped away and because you felt too busy to eat you did not put much food in your body until the evening.
At Best Within You, we want you to feel well, live well, and be well! As a group of psychologists who specialize in mental and physical wellness, we created this list of tips for those who feel too busy to eat. We hope that these 10 quick and easy tips help you find time to fit eating into your busy schedule.
1. Subscribe to a Meal Delivery Service
Instacart will deliver meals and groceries to your door with the press of a button. With Instacart you can shop online and in as quick as 2 hours, your food will be waiting for you on your doorstep. This service is great for those of us whom it is hard to find the time to prepare foods or pick up groceries.
Amazon Fresh is another food delivery service that is FREE with Amazon Prime memberships! Amazon Fresh prides themselves off of selection, value, and convenience which users love. If you already have Amazon Prime and find yourself in a hurry, order your groceries/meals on Amazon Fresh to make meal time that much more convenient!
Some people do this weekly, while others do it on more busy weeks, or if they have been out of town and do not have time to run to the grocery store.
2. Take Advantage of “No Cook” Meals
On days when we just do not have time to cook, you can eat meals that only take seconds to minutes to prepare. Some ideas of tasty no cook meals include already prepared sandwiches, salads, soups or cold pasta dishes. These meals are perfect for when you only have minutes between activities to eat a meal and want something delicious but fast.
3. Meal Prep
Planning and preparing meals ahead of time will make for a very convenient meal later on. For example, if you are suspecting to have a busy week, take some time during the weekend to plan what meals you are going to have each day, purchase the necessary ingredients, and prepare the dishes ahead of time. You can store these already prepped meals in the fridge or freezer and enjoy them later on during your busy week.
To make things even easier, you can download free meal planner templates. Planning meals ahead of time will help remind you to eat on your busiest of days. In addition to being convenient, you will save money by only purchasing ingredients you need for that week. If you find a day comes and you are not in the mood for the meal you planned for that day, that is okay just switch it with another days meal!
4. Embrace the Slow Cooker
When you feel too busy to eat or prepare a meal, a slow cooker can be helpful. Nowadays, slow cookers can make breakfast, dinner, dessert, and everything in between. Throw some ingredients in the slow cooker before you go to bed and you will wake up and have a delicious breakfast waiting for you. Likewise you can wake up and throw some ingredients in the slow cooker, and when you come home in the evening, your dinner will be waiting for you. How easy is this for someone with a busy lifestyle?
If this idea interests you, here is an example of a slow cooker on Amazon.
5. Use Reminders
If you find the days are just slipping away and you are forgetting to eat meals, make yourself some friendly reminders! Put a post-it note where you are likely to see it with some easy meal ideas and words of encouragement. Stick it on your workplace, mirror, table top or anywhere you are likely to view it.
You can also set reminders on your smartphone! Setting just a few minutes aside to sit down and eat is great for your mind and your body. Your smartphone can give you a notification as a reminder with a list of easy meals you love attached!
6. Keep Microwavable Meals on Hand
A microwave can warm up a delicious meal in seconds. On days where you want a warm meal but do not have a lot of time, it is easy to grab a microwavable meal from the freezer and heat it within minutes. Purchase a handful of microwavable meals from a meal delivery service and store them in your freezer. You can also keep staples in your freezer like frozen vegetables and protein sources. They will be there waiting for you on days you need them.
7. Keep Bars and Shakes Nearby
Do you ever find yourself running out the door in a hurry with no time to make a meal? If so, you are definitely not alone. For days like this bars and shakes can help you to get some nutrition in. Keep them on the countertop or in a space in the fridge that is accessible so you can grab one on your way out. Eat/drink your bar/shake in the car or save it for later! These are a great source of energy on your busiest of days and require zero prep.
You can also have a bin that you keep bars and shakes in at your desk. If you are someone who does not want to stop working when you are in the zone, eating a protein bar or drinking a protein shake will allow you to continue working.
8. Chop/Wash Produce Before Putting in in the Fridge
Fresh produce is delicious, but some produce does require some work before you can enjoy it. So, how about we wash/pre-slice it before it even goes in the fridge? As soon as your produce is picked up or delivered, take some time to wash it all and slice it ahead of time before putting it away. This way you have a fresh fruit or vegetable waiting for you without any work.
9. Keep Meals Simple
Meals do not need to be complicated! Grab a slice of bread, a handful of nuts, a prepackaged yogurt, and some deli meat and put it in a lunch box. You can also heat up some leftovers from the previous day. You do not need to spend hours making a meal that will nourish your body.
10. Plan to Eat a Meal with a Friend
What better way to spend a lunch break than with a friend? Text a friend or family member and see if they want to eat with you. This way you can hold each other accountable in great company. You can also do zoom calls or phone calls during lunch or dinner instead of going out for those meals.
While these tips are a great place to start if you find it hard to eat throughout the day or feel overwhelmed about what to eat, we recognize these tips may not be enough. We also get so many messages from social media, different diets, our friends, and our family about what to eat and what not to eat that it can feel overwhelming. Additionally, many of our clients have been on so many diets they have lost trust in their bodies. At Best Within You Therapy & Wellness, all of our psychologists are specialists in helping clients improve their relationship with food. We specialize in eating disorders, emotional eating, and weight and body image related concerns.
You are welcome to schedule a free consultation or appointment with one of our psychologists or registered dietitian to help improve your relationship with food or overcome challanges related to eating.
Note: While we linked products and companies throughout this blog post, we are not affiliated with any of these companies. We do not receive any compensation for you purchasing these services or products. We are just recommending some ideas.
Thank you Maura Johnson, Best Within You Therapy & Wellness, intern