You’re never too busy to take care of your basic well-being—especially when all it takes is smarter choices
When discussing weight loss techniques in seminars or in private practice, one of the most frequent excuses I hear from people is that they’re too busy or it’s too difficult to eat healthier.
Time may be short for most of us, yes. But throughout my years of teaching and dealing with weight-loss clients, I have gathered some very helpful nutritional “tricks” to help even the busiest of people lose weight permanently.
1. Learn to Shop
It takes just as long to go to the grocery store for a bag of chips as it does for an apple. You have to grocery shop anyway, so why not learn the basics of nutrition and fill up a healthier cart?
Healthy food basics to stock up on:
- Fresh fruits: fresh or frozen berries, apples, oranges, kiwi
- Vegetables: broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, tomatoes (go for color!)
- Omega 3 rich foods: wild salmon, omega-3 eggs, walnuts
- Good fats: olive oil, avocados
- Lean meats: chicken, turkey, ham slices (look for low-sodium, nitrate-free)
- Low-fat dairy options: light cottage cheese, yogurt, milk, and low-fat cheese
- Nuts, seeds—raw, unsalted varieties are best
- Healthy spreads: hummus, light cream cheese, organic nut butters
- Whole-grain breads and pastas: kamut, spelt, rye, oats, flax, and multi-grain
- A small amount of dark chocolate (70 percent) for a treat
- Protein powder—free of aspartame and sucralose
- Healthy snack bars—low-sugar and made from real food ingredients
Foods to keep out of your grocery cart:
2. Pack a Lunch
A balanced meal includes the proper amount of protein, carbohydrates, and fat. Save time, money, and calories with a proper lunch. Here’s an example:
- A whole-wheat sandwich wrap with lean turkey, lettuce, tomato, avocado, mustard, and organic cheese
- A small container of organic yogurt (organic soy is an option), that’s low in sugar and fat
- A dark chocolate square to enjoy for dessert
3. Know Your Healthy Fast-Food Options
Too busy to pack a lunch? Luckily, there are more healthy fast-food options now available, such as salads, wraps, or sandwiches. What’s more, many of these outlets have posted the fat/calorie/sodium content of their menus online. Use your smarts when choosing healthier options by avoiding foods likely to have chemical additives, unhealthy fats, refined carbs, and added sugars. Bottom line, if you’re going for something ‘fast,’ you can do your best to make it healthy, too.
4. Keep Weight-Loss Protein Staples on Hand
The problem with weight loss is typically due to an overconsumption of carbohydrates, not enough fruits and vegetables, and too little protein in the diet.
Protein staples that won’t land on your waistline:
- Organic cheese cubes or cottage cheese
- Protein powder (keep a container at work and home)
- Lean slices of meat (chicken, turkey)
- Egg whites can be added to any shake, recipe, or made as an omelet (hard-boiled eggs are great to keep in the fridge, too)
5. Make Dinner Your Smallest Meal
This is often the most difficult habit to break, but it can be done. For starters, get into the habit of eating a larger breakfast and a mid-sized lunch with a healthy snack or two in between. This way, you won’t be overly ravenous come dinner time.
Some dinner ‘tricks’ to try:
- Use a smaller-sized plate to automatically reduce your portion sizes
- Make two-thirds of the plate a colorful salad or steamed veggies
- Include a portion of lean protein that’s about the size of a deck of cards
- Enjoy low-glycemic, high-fiber carbs such as wild rice
- Add flavor without calories with cracked pepper or hot sauce
Suffering from cravings at nighttime? Try drinking watered-down juice, herbal tea, or chewable vitamin C. If you need to munch, go for veggies.
6. Find an Activity That You Enjoy
Let’s face it, hitting the gym nightly isn’t realistic for most busy people. Luckily, there are many home options now available to fit into your lifestyle. Elastic bands, home weights, videos, and a yoga mat can fit into any budget. For morning types, set the alarm a bit earlier, lay your shoes out the night-before, rise, and go.
And if none of that appeals to you, join a sport, take up biking, or volunteer to walk your elderly neighbor’s dog. Find something physical you enjoy—and do it.
Dr. Joey Shulman is a chiropractor, registered nutritionist, and bestselling author. She is the founder of Shulman Weight Loss Clinic, a facility dedicated to long-term and healthy weight-loss results. This article was originally published on NaturallySavvy.com