Make Time for Healthy Eating

We live in a very fast-paced world, and it can be difficult to make time for healthy lifestyle changes like cooking, healthy eating and exercising. It’s easy to use lack of time as an excuse for falling back into unhealthy patterns like skipping meals or grabbing fast food on the way home from work. But if you look at the habits of people who have successfully lost weight and maintained that weight loss, or people who maintain a healthy lifestyle in general, one pattern becomes apparent–healthy eating is a priority. Time is made for things like grocery shopping, meal planning, meal preparation, cooking, and eating breakfast.

I recently came across this article (click the link) that talks about the importance of making time for exercise and healthy eating. What I enjoyed most about the article was a video clip from a dietitian who gives 5 tips for saving time when it comes to healthy eating. I realize that making time for healthy eating is a lot easier said than done. Life, jobs, children, work, and other stress can interfere with our best intentions. So time-saving tips can be helpful for many of us. Of the 5 tips discussed, my two favorites were:
  1. Buy healthy convenience foods--you can buy things like pre-cooked brown rice, bags of frozen veggies that just need to be microwaved, or pre-cut, washed and ready-to-eat fresh fruits and vegetables
  2. Batch cook–make big recipes ahead of time that can be used throughout the week. Many recipes we serve at the Resort can be cooked and frozen for future use. Chef Cameron’s soups are a good example of foods that can be made in one day and then frozen in individual containers to use throughout the coming weeks.
Many guests who stay at the Resort find it helpful to choose one day of the week that will be their menu planning day when they return home. This day is usually on the weekend, as that is when many people have some free time, but it certainly can be any day that is practical and works best with your schedule. On this day, the week’s menu is planned out, grocery shopping takes place, and any food preparation or batch cooking occurs. For example, fruits and vegetables might be chopped and placed in containers for easy access, or big batches of soup might be made and placed in the freezer to use throughout the week. This strategy can be a very useful way of helping us to make healthy eating a priority.
As someone who has lost a large amount of weight and kept it off for the past 17 years, I understand the importance of prioritizing healthy eating. I know that life is busy and can be stressful at times. But I also know that if I didn’t take the time each week to plan out my meals and grocery shop for healthy foods, I would not have been able to successfully maintain my weight loss.
One of my favorite time-savers is using the crock pot for cooking. I love to get something like a whole chicken or pork sirloin roast, place it in the crock pot with a bit of water and let it cook slowly all day while I am away at work. When I come home in the evening, I just shred the chicken or pork and can then put it in any number of dishes like tacos, enchiladas, salads, sandwiches or pasta. It’s a very quick and easy way to have a hot, healthy meal at the end of the workday.
Making time for healthy eating can really assist us in achieving a healthy, balanced lifestyle. Find time-saving strategies that work for you so that healthy eating can be a priority. You won’t regret it!
Rachel Cope MPH, RC, CD