Eating healthy can feel like a part time job on its own, but when combined with a busy week at work, eating healthy can feel next to impossible.
There’s the planning, deciding what you’re going to eat for the week, researching recipes, making a grocery list, shopping, and then all the prep work and cooking. That’s a lot of energy dedicated making food decisions and 5+ hours of your valuable time gone, which is the last thing you need when you’re time-crunched and juggling the stress of a busy week at work.
It’s this point when most people would throw in the towel and default to fast food to get them through the workweek. But with that low quality food comes the exhausting rollercoaster energy ride, the poor sleep quality, the gas and bloating, the brain fog, and the draining weight of failure, none of which will help you increase your performance at work. So it’s a good thing you’re not most people!
Instead of giving up on your clean eating habits when you’re time-crunched and derailing your health goals, delegate the work of eating clean – the same way you would a project at office!
Here are 8 strategies to save you valuable time and keep your healthy eating on track during a busy week at work.
8 TIME-SAVING HACKS TO EAT HEALTHY WHEN YOU’RE BUSY AS HELL
1. USE A MEAL DELIVERY SERVICE
Simply order the type and number of meals online the week before and boom, meals you can simply heat-and-eat in the office break room microwave or at home after a long day will arrive on your doorstep as if dropped from the heavens above.
(Use code TRIPLEPEAKPALEO on your first True Fare order for 10% off!)
2. USE A MEAL PLANNING APP
Meal planning apps like Real Plans take the exhausting decision-making and time-consuming planning out of eating healthy. For a small monthly fee ($6-$14 depending on the plan you choose), you can create an account in the app, simply specify your diet preference, any additional ingredients you want to avoid, numbers of meals you want to plan for, and then each week the app will create a customized meal plan complete with recipes and a shopping list you can take to the grocery store.
I love Real Plans because they have recipe collections from some of my favorite Paleo recipe bloggers like Steph Gaudreau (Stupid Easy Paleo), The Paleo Mom, PaleoOMG, and Nom Nom Paleo so the meal plans never get boring.
3. GET YOUR GROCERIES DELIVERED
Grocery shopping is one of the most time consuming pieces of the eat healthy puzzle. First you have to get to the grocery store, then walk through the store questioning and re-questioning what you actually need to purchase (often winding up with a number of tempting items that aren’tpart of your diet), and god forbid the lines are long…
Take the stress and time out of grocery shopping by using a grocery delivery service like Amazon Fresh or Instant Cart. Choose your groceries online and like magic, they’ll appear on your doorstep! Better yet, combine this strategy with the previous strategy by inputting the shopping list generated by your meal-planning app into the grocery delivery app.
4. USE A MEAL KIT DELIVERY SERVICE
Maybe you enjoy cooking or use it as a stress reliever, but simply don’t have the energy to research recipes and grocery shop. If so, then a meal kit delivery service like Sun Basket is for you! Sun Basket will deliver a box of pre-portioned ingredients and recipe cards to your doorstep so all you have to do it cook your meal and eat.
Not only does Sun Basket offer real food-friendly menus, but they also strive to use 100% organic ingredients, anti-biotic and hormone-free meat and eggs, and wild-caught seafood, ensuring you’re getting the highest nutrient density with every meal. And the icing on the cake – each meal takes just 30 minutes or less to prepare.
5. HIRE A PERSONAL CHEF
If you have the budget, hire a personal chef! Though each chef works a little differently, in general, personal chefs offer the highest amount of customization from dietary preferences, to meal frequency, to delivery schedule.
To find a personal chef in your area, Google phrases like “healthy/ paleo/ etc personal chef [insert your hometown here]” or “paleo personal chef near me.” Scroll through the search results and once you find a chef that offers what you’re looking for, give them a call.
6. MEAL PREP THE WEEKEND BEFORE
If you don’t have the budget to hire a personal chef or use a meal delivery service, you can still save valuable time by batching all your meal prep for the week into a couple hour block of time the weekend before. Though it takes a little more planning, those couple hours spent prepping on a free day could ultimately set you up with breakfasts, lunches, and dinners for the week ahead so all you have to do is heat-and-eat when you need a meal.
Here’s what to do:
- Find 2-3 easy real food recipes (look for recipes that take less than 30 minutes to make – the prep time should be listed at the top of the recipe and adjust the recipe to make 4-6 total servings) or use a meal-planning app like Real Plans.
- Block out 2-3 hours in your schedule for meal prep on the free day before your busy week begins.
- Meal prep efficiently. Start with the recipe that has the longest cook time. Prep the ingredients and get it cooking. As soon as recipe #1 is cooking, start prepping recipe #2 (the recipe with the 2nd longest cook time). Once recipe #2 is cooking, start prepping recipe #3, etc.
- Once a meal is finished cooking, portion it out into single-servings and place in an individual storage container. This will make it extremely easy to grab and go when you’re time-crunched!
This strategy is extra effective at saving time when paired with strategy #2 (a meal planning app) or #3 (grocery delivery).
7. STOCK UP ON FROZEN PRE-MADE REAL FOOD MEALS
Frozen pre-made real food, paleo-friendly meals are starting to appear on the shelves of grocery stores. If you miss the order cut-off time for a meal delivery service, stock up on frozen pre-made meals at your local Whole Foods, Target, or even Walmart instead. Look for high quality brands like Beetnik and Tastefully Plated.
8. USE A FOOD DELIVERY APP
If all else fails and you’re out of options, instead of settling for the McDonalds around the corner from your office, use a food delivery app like UberEats to have a healthier option like a steak salad or roast chicken and veggies delivered.
In fact, before your hectic week, make a list of 3-5 cafes or restaurants within delivery range, along with real food menu items from each that you can order without having to think about it.
PUT THESE HACKS INTO PRACTICE
Not sure where to start? Pick the strategy above that feels like the best fit for your upcoming week and give it a try. Take note of whether it makes eating healthier on your busy schedule more convenient, more difficult, etc. If you decide the strategy is beneficial, keep using it. If not, try one of the other hacks listed above and put it through the same assessment.
If you’re still feeling overwhelmed and unsure of how to keep up your healthy habits so you can stay feeling your best despite a demanding schedule, I invite you to sign up for a free 15 minute Interest Call to discuss if the support, accountability, and step-by-step system of a customized health coaching program could be the right fit for you.
Ellen Jaworski is a holistic health coach passionate about helping busy, overstressed professionals lose stubborn weight the healthy way via a nutrient dense diet and relaxing self care practices that work with their busy schedule so they can heal their bodies, quiet their minds, and feel their best at the office and in their free time. Ellen also loves to hike, road trip to national parks, cook delicious meals, and is currently doing 200 hours of training to become a member of Explorer Search and Rescue!