We tend to make our worst food choices when we’re in a hurry. Too often healthy, balanced eating takes the backseat to whatever is going on in our lives. But it doesn’t have to be that way. By taking a few simple steps, you can ensure yourself a nutritious, delicious meal no matter how rushed your day seems.
Plan a Menu
The easiest way to avoid making spontaneous, stressful food choices is to plan a menu. Find a day or even a few hours where things are less hectic and sit down with your favorite cookbook(s) or recipe website(s). Pick recipes that appeal to you for the coming week and write down anything you may need to purchase in order to prepare them. Try to choose recipes that focus on wholesome foods like whole grains, fresh vegetables, and plant-based protein sources such as beans or tofu.
By planning your menu when things have slowed down, you’ll be able to focus on making healthy choices. Having a menu in place can also help avoid unnecessary repeat trips to the store and impulse buying of more expensive items.
If any of your chosen recipes require long-cooking ingredients like brown rice, consider doing a little food preparation. Grains like rice and quinoa can be cooked ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator to be warmed up as needed. Some vegetables can be chopped or sliced in advance without losing their crispness. And protein sources like tofu can be cut into cubes when purchased and stored in the freezer.
Avoid “Panic Purchases”
The worst thing you can do for your health is buy food when you’re in a hurry. Panicked purchasing often leads to choosing highly-processed foods with poor nutrition content and potentially harmful chemicals. These convenience foods are anything but when it comes to your health, as they tend to be high in sodium, saturated fat, and preservatives.
Making sure there is healthy food on hand for every day of the week doesn’t take a big time investment. With simple planning, smart purchases, and a little preparation, you can eat well—and nutritionally—all week long.