Have you ever been so busy that you had to skip breakfast or lunch?
Busy people such as shift workers in the healthcare industry, travel and hospitality, and other schedule intensive jobs, have no time to scout for recipes, shop for groceries, and prepare meals.
Many settle for light snacks on the go, take-out, or frozen meals that are not healthy and do not contain the necessary nutrients to fuel the body.
How can busy professionals eat well despite their busy schedules?
By creating a meal plan.
Below is a guide to the best meal plans that will enable you to stay focused on your job while maintaining a healthy diet. Take a look!
1. Shop for groceries in advance
When you have a busy schedule there’s usually no time to go shopping regularly.
Before you get started on buying groceries, you need to plan what you will eat. Get a blank calendar or open a spreadsheet and fill in all the meals you will have for the week.
Once you know what you need, you can easily walk into a grocery store and shop or get an online service to deliver to you.
Detailing everything down prevents you from buying unnecessary and unhealthy things. It also ensures you don’t forget anything important.
2. Don’t skip the first meal
Breakfast is very essential, especially for a busy professional. Without a good breakfast plan, you won’t have the energy required to kickstart your busy day.
Chances are you will get busier as the day progresses that you may not have the time for lunch – and if you do, it will be a light one.
The good thing about breakfast is that it is not a complex meal -that is if you don’t make it so. Your breakfast should not contain high-calorie or high-fat foods. Instead, try to eat foods rich in fiber and proteins.
Your breakfast can be hard-boiled eggs and fruit, or toast with nut butter. A cup of coffee is great for boosting your mood and increasing alertness.
Whatever meal you choose, make sure it fills you and fuels your body and mind, to enhance your alertness and cognition.
3. Cook in bulk
Most professionals do not have time to cook three meals a day. In fact, many may not even have the time to cook once a day.
So, how do we ensure that we still get to eat healthy food?
By cooking in bulk.
Try cooking once and eating the food two or more times. For instance, if you roast a chicken for your dinner, save some and eat it the next day. You can also grill meat, eat some, and use the leftovers for salads, sandwiches, tacos, and soups.
You can also cook large quantities over the weekend and then freeze in smaller portions ideal for one or two meals. There are many foods that can be cooked in advance including stews, roasts, and soups. Come mealtime, you simply defrost a batch, heat it up, and serve.
4. Use leftovers
Do not let any food go to waste.
Leftovers can save the day when you are too busy or tired to prepare your meals. Unless the food has gone bad, don’t be in a hurry to dispose of it.
Leftovers are great especially for mid-day meals (lunch) and can be easily carried to work for a quick lunch. Many offices have a microwave that comes in handy when warming up a quick meal.
If you do not have a microwave, you can still get creative in using your leftovers for lunch. For instance, making a roast chicken sandwich.
The main secret of this meal plan is to use one recipe to make many meals that will serve you for a few days. But, of course, creativity is essential when using this hack.
5. Nutritious snacks
Sometimes, you get hungry before lunchtime or dinner.
Your day may be so long and busy that you will require a quick energy boost between meals. Healthy snacks come in handy to keep your hunger at bay until you can have a proper meal.
However, you need to eat nutritious snacks and avoid mindless snacking. Things like pizza, burgers, fries, candy, and soft drinks should not be part of your meal plan.
You can try out some Greek yogurt, mixed nuts, kale chips, or apple slices with peanut butter. These snacks are both nutritious and healthy for your body.
6. Avoid recipes that need special ingredients and preparations
You have no time to prepare complex meals that require special ingredients. Remember, the reason you are having a meal plan is to save time.
Some meals will require you to boil them before you deep fry. Others need to be warmed for some time, allowed to cool, warmed again, deep frying – which is likely to take most of your time.
The good news is that there are many tasty and nutritious recipes that are also easy and straightforward. You only need to spend less than 30 minutes in your kitchen and the food will be ready. Such meals are great for busy professionals.
You should also teach your children, if you have any, to prepare simple meals. This will save you a lot of time, and will also equip them with life-long skills that will serve them well when they are ready to branch out on their own.
Importance of meal planning
Unless you realize the importance of a meal plan, everything you’ve read above will just go to waste. Here is why busy professionals require meal plans.
a. Saves time
This is the primary reason for meal plans – saving time. With the grocery list, you won’t spend a lot of time shopping at the grocery store.
A meal plan will also save you the struggle of having to figure out what you should eat.
Also, you won’t need to cook every time you feel hungry, you can cook once and eat twice.
b. Saves money
What happens when you have no time to prepare your meals? You will go to a nearby restaurant or call for take-out. Frequently eating out is expensive and this racks up over time.
All this can be eliminated by having a simple meal plan.
Remember, a penny saved is a penny earned.
Having a meal plan is very crucial for busy professionals. It helps you save time and money while ensuring that you eat a healthy diet. A meal plan gives you an idea of what you should cook and at what time of the day.
Remember, you don’t have to stick to your meal plan. If you feel that you have some extra time to get busy in the kitchen, you’re free to do so.
About The Author:
Mr. Christopher G. Aiello has a reputable 30+ year trajectory in law practice. Having been selected for multiple recognitions and awards, he practices in the Superior Court of New Jersey in both the trial court section and the appellate divisions, the Workers’ Compensation Court, and Municipal Courts. He has appeared in dozens of televised, print, and internet media. Now, he’s dedicated to full to his law firm Aiello, Harris, Marth, Tunnero & Schiffman P.C.