Feel Like You Have No Time To Eat Healthier? You Need These Tips!

Lack of time is a common reason for avoiding healthy eating and cooking. I've read so many articles that dismiss this complaint as saying that it's not enough of a priority, but I disagree in a lot of cases.

I think 'lack of time' is an easy excuse, but that the problem really isn't time or priorities. Most people have plenty of time. Healthy eating and cooking can be really challenging, even if you want to make it a priority. The problem could be that it doesn't come easily to you, that you haven't found a way to enjoy it and that you don't know how to do it simply.

Without structure, or an easy approach to healthy eating and cooking, it can seem really difficult. There are endless ideas out there on Pinterest, blogs, social media and in magazines, which just add to the clutter and overwhelm. All this health content can be unrelatable and remind of how far you have to go or make you feel like you have to do things perfectly; so it's often easier and more comfortable to put it off.

If healthy eating and cooking is overwhelming for you, use these tips to get started! 

  1. Keep It Simple

    Avoid trying too many new recipes or getting overly ambitious. It's common to start a new exercise AND eating routine all in one day. Making too many changes from your normal at one time is a setup for failure.

    Stick with what you know and are comfortable with but think of ways you can make it healthier. You don't want to start a whole new lifestyle and routine in one day, that's too far outside your comfort zone. Simply filling half your plate with vegetables at each meal can make a huge difference.

    When I first started to eat healthier I didn't change my routine too much. I would make an omelet for breakfast and added whatever vegetables I had on hand; I'd add steamed broccoli to tortellini Alfredo and made pizza at home instead of getting takeout. Small changes were the most effective for staying motivated and on track.
  2. Get Organized

    Meal planning is hands down the best thing I started doing in my own health journey. I didn't start out doing this, and it was hard to come up with meals each day. Simply take 10-15 minutes each week before food shopping and plan breakfast, lunch, dinners and snacks for the week ahead. Make a list so you have everything you need that week, and when shopping, stick to the list (to save money and avoid having extra temptation on hand). 
  3. Do What You Enjoy

    You'll make time for and do things you enjoy. Plan healthy food and meals you'll actually want to eat. Make things you enjoy cooking, or that are lower effort. Through trial and error you'll find healthy meals and habits that feel comfortable and enjoyable.

    For example, I love to walk. Walking isn't 'the best' workout for fat loss but it helped me lose my first 10 pounds. Crossfit, high intensity interval training and lifting are better for fat loss, but I don't enjoy them as much as walking and jogging. The best thing for you is what you can do consistently. 
  4. Clean Out The Clutter

    Analysis paralysis. If you follow health content online, you're likely exposed to a steady stream of workouts, advice, recipes, food photos and fads. Sometimes it's conflicting and oftentimes, it can make you feel bad about what you are and aren't doing, and lead to giving up or inaction. It's important to remember that what works for one person probably won't work for you, so try to follow what feels best.

    I started my health journey before social media was a thing, and I'm thankful for that because I trusted my gut and did what felt right for me. For an example, white potatoes are often frowned upon because it's a 'white carb' and not a 'healthy choice'. When I eat white potatoes (often mashed!) I feel lean, energized, clear minded and healthy, so I eat them when I'm in the mood to. Instead of waiting for a better time, just get started and let how you feel be your guide.

With so many different ways to be healthy (and people telling you their way is best) it can be overwhelming and paralyzing. Instead of putting it off, just start doing something healthier each day that makes you feel good. The more normal and comfortable your changes feel, the more you can add on and adjust as you go.

Kate Martino