10 Healthy Eating Tips for Busy People

Healthy Eating Tips for Busy People

As a registered dietitian, many of my clients often want to know how to eat healthily with a busy schedule. And yes, it can be difficult to eat nutrient-dense foods when you’re busy. Between work, errands, and social obligations, there isn’t always time for a nutritious meal.

But with a little planning and a few quick recipes, you can make healthy eating part of your routine. Here are 10 healthy eating tips for busy people to help you get started. I also give you some ideas for easy meals and no-cook ingredients to prepare an effortless but complete meal. Keep reading!

10 Healthy Eating Tips for Busy People

  1. Prepare meals ahead of time: One of the best ways to ensure you have nutritious and satisfying meals on hand is to plan ahead and prepare meals. For example, you can spend one day a week cooking several meals in advance, and then store them in the refrigerator or freezer for easy access throughout the week. This way, all you have to do is heat up a prepared meal instead of going from place to place. This will not only save time; You’ll save money too!
  2. Plan for leftovers. When planning meals, be sure to include some leftover foods. Having leftovers on hand is a great way to save time and money: you can eat them for lunch the next day or freeze them for an easy meal later.
  3. Opt for quick-cooking ingredients: Another great way to eat more balanced meals without spending hours in the kitchen is to opt for ingredients that cook quickly. For example, canned beans or frozen vegetables can be added directly to a dish without requiring additional steps such as soaking or thawing. You can also try using instant microwaveable rice or quinoa packets. By choosing quick-cooking ingredients, you can prepare delicious dinners without spending too much time slaving away in the kitchen! Some additional convenience options are:
  • Jarred Pasta Sauce – Cook your noodles, add the sauce, and serve an instant meal!
  • Canned Beans and Legumes: Canned beans are very versatile. You can use them in soups, stews, salads, or puree them into a sandwich filling or hummus.
  • Rotisserie Chicken – Another super convenient ingredient that requires no cooking. Grind it and add it to wraps, sandwiches, soups, stews or salads.
  • Instant Oatmeal Packets – These are a great on-the-go breakfast option. You can also keep some packaging in your office and use it as a convenient snack.
  1. Get out your slow cooker –I LOVE slow cookers ! They can be a lifesaver on busy days, allowing you to throw all your ingredients into one pot and let it do the work for you. You can also make larger meals in a slow cooker and use the leftovers for other meals throughout the week.
  2. Try one pot/pan/tray recipes: One pot/pan/tray meals can be a great solution because they are quick and easy to prepare. Plus, they often require fewer dishes, which means less time cleaning up afterward. They also allow you to have a nutritious meal on the table without spending hours in the kitchen. For example, chicken breasts with potato slices and Brussels sprouts can go together on a cookie sheet and pop in the oven for a complete, easy meal.
  3. Have frozen meals on hand: Make sure you have some frozen meals that you can heat up and eat. I love these plant-based sandwiches that are ready in 2 minutes!
  4. Pack your own snacks: Having snacks prepared and ready to go can be a game-changer for busy people who don’t have time to prepare food during the day. Meal prepping can also be helpful when it comes to packing snacks: If you plan meals ahead of time, you can double up on ingredients like protein, fruits, and vegetables so you have enough to snack on throughout the week. When packing snacks for work or school, it can be helpful to use containers with dividers to fit multiple foods in one container without mixing; This is especially useful if your schedule doesn’t allow for a break between meals.
  5. Create a capsule pantry: This is a collection of non-perishable foods that can be used to prepare quick and easy meals. A capsule pantry typically includes items such as pasta, rice, canned goods, and spices. Having everything you need in one place makes meal planning so much easier. And if you ever find yourself in a pinch, you’ll know that your capsule pantry has everything you need to get by.
  6. Use meal delivery services: These provide you with ready-made meals and eliminate the need to make multiple trips to the grocery store. If you’re looking for a convenient way to save time and money on grocery shopping, consider signing up for one of the many meal delivery services available online. Here are some that I love:
  7. Check out meal kit services: These companies (like Blue Apron) send you all the ingredients you need to prepare a meal, along with instructions. All you have to do is cook and enjoy. Meal kit services are becoming increasingly popular as they offer a convenient way to eat healthy without having to meal plan. Plus, they take the guesswork out of cooking, which can be especially helpful for busy weeknights.

Healthy recipes for busy people


In healthy eating for busy people, it’s helpful to have a few simple meals that you can easily prepare at any time. Here are some meal ideas you can prepare quickly when you’re short on time:

  • Breakfast Smoothies: Too busy to eat breakfast in the morning? Prepare some smoothie packs beforehand and in the morning, simply blend and go!
  • Overnight Oats: Protein powder makes these overnight oats especially filling.

Lunches and dinners

  • Spaghetti and meatballs: This classic dish is always a hit. Plus, it’s easy to prepare and freeze for future meals. Buy frozen meatballs and save time (I like to use plant-based meatballs). Then, it’s just a matter of cooking them in jarred spaghetti sauce and serving with pasta.
  • Quinoa Bowl : This healthy and hearty dish can be made with any vegetables you have on hand. Simply cook the quinoa (use precooked to save time) and top with your favorite vegetables, protein (roasted chicken or canned salmon work great), and some dressing.
  • Chicken Noodle Soup: You can make this comforting soup by chopping and freezing all the vegetables and using leftover roast chicken. Then it’s just a matter of sautéing the vegetables and adding the rest of the ingredients to the pot the day you are going to cook it.
  • Bean Enchiladas: This vegetarian dish is hearty and satisfying. Plus, it freezes well, so you can make a big batch and enjoy it for weeks to come. Simply combine refried beans, taco seasoning, and cheese, and fill flour tortillas with the mixture. You can freeze them if you want to use them at another time. Then, it’s just a matter of pouring enchilada sauce and shredded cheese over them and baking until bubbly. Easy!
  • Mason Jar Salads: Mason jar salads are perfect for meal planning for busy days. They are an easy way to get a variety of nutrients in your diet. Plus, they are convenient and save time.

How to eat healthy when you don’t have time to cook

If you don’t have the time or inclination to prepare meals, there are still plenty of ways to get nutritious meals without too much effort. For example, most supermarkets offer a variety of prepared salads, sandwiches, wraps and other fresh snacks that allow for quick and nutritious eating on the go.

Something I recommend to my clients when I teach them about healthy eating for busy people is to stock up on no-cook items (or items that you only have to cook minimally). You can simply put these ingredients together to make a complete meal, like the ones below.

Here are 3 meals you can easily make with these ingredients:

Chicken and rice bowl: Pre-cooked chicken, microwave vegetables and microwave rice

Pasta with Meatballs and Salad: Ready-to-eat pasta with jarred sauce, cooked frozen meatballs, spinach and cherry tomatoes tossed with salad dressing

Tuna Salad Wrap: Canned tuna, spinach, chopped cherry tomatoes, salad dressing, tortillas

Easy, huh? Just what you need when you come home exhausted from work but the day isn’t over yet (anyone else with kids here?)


I hope the healthy eating tips and ideas for busy people have inspired you. Did any of the advice resonate with you? What easy, grab-and-go meals will you make this week?

Abbas Jahangir

I am a researcher and writer with a background in food and nutritional science. I am the founder of Foodstrend.com, our reputable online platform offering scientifically-backed articles on health, food, nutrition, kitchen tips, recipes, diet, and fitness. With a commitment to providing accurate and reliable information, we strive to empower our readers to make informed decisions about their health and lifestyle choices. Join us on Foodstrend.com's journey toward a healthier and happier lifestyle.

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