How to eat healthier when you have no time to cook

When we’re busy it’s all too easy to reach for quick foods that are often lacking in the nutrients we all need. There’s no need to stress about that anymore, though, as you can eat healthily all week long as soon as you’ve got a plan. From avoiding high cholesterol foods to making a meal plan, here’s how to eat healthier when you have no time to cook.

Foods to avoid

Processed foods often come with high sugar, high salt and high fat content, so they are certainly best avoided. There are also plenty of high cholesterol foods to avoid, including butter, full fat cream and cheese, fatty meats, fried foods, packaged cakes, doughnuts and pastries. Now that we’ve covered the type of foods to avoid let’s look at how you can create a healthy meal plan to eat well throughout the week. 

How to make meal plan

The best way of eating healthily is to be organised and make a plan. The time you put in planning and prepping will be well worth it, and will often actually save you time in your busy schedule. So, with that said, let’s look at how you can put together a healthy meal plan. 


  • Audit your cupboards


The first step in making a meal plan is to get the products you need. That starts with checking what you have and then making a list of what you’re missing. A good rule of thumb to follow when putting together recipes is to go with a combination of complex carbohydrate, lean protein and healthy fats. Let that guide your shopping list. This could include:

  • Carbohydrate: couscous, brown rice, wholemeal pasta, wholegrain bread, quinoa.
  • Protein: chicken or turkey breast, lean beef or pork, fish, soya or other vegetarian option, beans, lentils.
  • Fats: Omega found in oily fish like tuna and mackerel, nuts and seeds, olive oil, avocados, eggs.


  • Think about what you like to eat


Eating healthily doesn’t mean eating flavourless food, so write down what you like to eat before making your shopping list. You’re far more likely to stick to a healthy diet if you’re enjoying it, so match up your shopping list to the foods you like – making sure you steer clear of processed foods wherever you can. 


  • Work your plan around your schedule


Check your diary to figure out how your week is looking before making a plan. Are you going to be out some nights? Are there days when you’re going to need to eat on the go? When will you be able to prepare meals? Once you’ve established that you can work out how much you need to do in advance. For example, making meals that you can pack in the fridge or freeze for later in the week for days when you’re really short on time.


  • Make double portions


Whether you’re prepping meals for the week at the weekends or one evening in the week, it’s a good plan to make extra. That way you’ll always have healthy leftovers in the fridge or freezer. Then, you can just grab and go, or reheat your nutritious meals when you need them.


  • Healthy snacks


Snacking is a big part of any healthy eating plan, just as long as you make good choices. Fresh fruit is a great option, along with seeds and nuts, protein bars, Greek yogurt and more. The key is to plump for highly nutritious snacks that’ll stave off hunger for a few hours, rather than the short-lived insulin spike you’ll get from sugary snacks.

When time is short, planning becomes vital, and if you’re well prepared there’s no reason you can’t follow a highly nutritious diet. Follow these key steps to ensure you’re eating healthily every day!

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My Take On Life is a UK Men's Lifestyle Blog. You can expect to see content posted about a range of topics such as Lifestyle, Health & Fitness, Food, Travel, Music & Much more!

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