Hungry? Busy? How to eat healthy when you are short on time

I don't know about you but when I am super busy it is really hard to eat healthy. It is easier to grab something quick versus thinking about what to cook and making sure it is healthy. When this happens, it makes me feel like I am not taking care of myself (and others) which is disappointing. So how can you overcome this fact of life? I know it is not going to be manage how busy we are! Especially during the holidays. The next two months are going to be crazy busy between holiday parties, work, school events, seeing relatives and some of us are even traveling.

There are two key principles to eating healthy when you are hungry and short on time. The first is to have a few go-to healthy recipes that can be made ahead of time. The second is to stock up on healthy snacks and take them with you. If you can follow those two tips 80% of the time, you will be able to balance and manage those days when you are so busy you can't even think of cooking or serving a meal.

Below are healthy go-to recipes as well as ideas and products for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I've selected a mix of plant-based and meat dishes. I am mostly plant-based 3 to 4 days a week. That means I eat fruits and vegetables and stay away from meat. If you can't do that or have family members who prefer to eat meat, try to influence them to eat one plant-based meal for dinner during the week. Most plant-based recipes are so full of healthy ingredients that even meat eaters don't miss the meat.


Breakfast can be really difficult to do during the week. But we've all heard the news, breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day. After you've been sleeping, your blood glucose is low because you haven't eaten anything for an extended period of time. Blood glucose helps to provide energy to the body. After you wake-up, eating something breaks the fasting from sleeping and kick starts your blood glucose, which then creates energy in the body. If you skip breakfast, you are prolonging the fasting cycle which means you will get really hungry later in the morning and (mostly likely) will overeat. Some ideas for an easy, weekday breakfast?

Overnight oatmeal. This is the best recipe invention ever. Simply combine oats and your choice of dairy or non-dairy milk, let it soak overnight and in the morning, instant breakfast. You can add all sorts of healthy mix-ins such as nuts and fruit. I usually make 3 of these on Sunday for the workweek. They can be eaten cold or warmed up. Recipes below:

How to make Overnight Oatmeal Tutorial with Recipe from Hurry The Food Up.

Overnight Oats 5 Ways from Modern Honey.

8 Ways to Eat Overnight Oats from Fit Foodie Finds

overnight oatmeal with strawberries in a glass jar

Pancakes or Waffles. I don't mean buying the frozen kind. Although there are organic and healthy options available in grocery stores. I will make a batch of pancakes or waffles on the weekend and eat them during the week for breakfast. They are portable and taste great cold. You can even top them with sliced fruit or organic fruit preserves. Plus, I am going to encourage you to try the Sweet Potato Waffle recipe below. So good! It's a perfect way to get more veggies into your day. Recipes below:

Gluten Free Sweet Potato Waffles from A Mind "Full" Mom

Banana Oatmeal Pancakes from Well Plated by Erin

Clean Eating Pancakes from Healthy Seasonal Recipes

pancakes on a plate with syrup

Protein bars are also a great grab and go option. I look for organic options that don't have too many ingredients or sugar. Orgain and Health Warrior are two of my favorites. Both are USDA organic and are made with plant-based proteins. Protein keeps you fuller longer so these bars are quick and filling, perfect for busy mornings.


Lunch can be tricky because if you don't make yourself something, your only option will be to buy it. When you buy food while on the go, it is really hard to find healthy options that are not loaded with sugar, salt or fat. While it may seem difficult to prepare lunches ahead of time, it can be very simple.

Soup. I can eat soup all year round! Even in the summer time I enjoy eating soup. Soup can be packed with a lot of veggies to make it a very healthy option. If you have time to make soup over the weekend, that is great! But if you don't have time to make it, there are healthy organic products in the grocery store that you can buy. Below are some recipes and products I love.

Imagine Foods Organic Soups are a great lunch. There is a wide variety that I am certain can please everyone! Click here to go to the website.

Frontier Soups is another company I really like for making soup. They have a wide variety of soup mixes. So you would need to take a little time to cook the soups but then you will have lunch ready to go for the week. Click here to go to the website.

Crock Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup from The Creative Bite

Turkey Meatball Tortellini Soup from Skinny Taste

The Yummiest Vegetable Soup from Hummus Sapien.

vegetable soup in a bowl with bread

Vegetable mash-up. This is so easy and so healthy. On the weekend, I will buy a variety of organic vegetables such as eggplant, zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, yellow squash, red onions, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, peppers and Brussels sprouts. I simply chop them up, bake them and then mix them together in a lunch container. Add some arugula or baby spinach leaves and you have a healthy and satisfying lunch. This can also be really affordable because you can select vegetables that are on sale when they are in season! Also, this idea can be tweaked to your liking. If you don't like broccoli, don't add it.

Salads are another easy option for lunch. You can make them at least 2 or 3 days in advance if you keep the dressing on the side. If you put the dressing on it, I find the salad gets soggy and is not such a great experience. Make salads with or without meat depending on your tastes. Below are some recipe ideas.

The Best Greek Salad Recipe from The Endless Meal

Quick Basic Chopped Salad from Table for Two Blog

Pesto Chicken Salad Recipe from Primavera Kitchen

pesto chicken salad in a bowl


You may think dinner always has to be cooked the evening you are going to eat it but that is not necessarily true. You can make a casserole, lasagna, stir-fry and even a ham on the weekend to quickly create a healthy weeknight dinner. Another option is using a crock-pot to slow cook a meal during the day so it is ready to eat when you come home.

During the week I rely a lot on organic frozen and canned vegetables. It helps make dinner come together really fast. Often, I will serve two vegetables as side dishes which also cuts down on time but increases the healthiness of the meal. Below are recipes that can be made on the weekend if you have time or during the week if you don't since they are ready in 30 minutes or less.

Tuscan Chicken Skillet from The Wanderlust Kitchen

30 Minute Skinny Orange Chicken from Chew Out Loud

Barbecue Cauliflower & Chick Pea Tacos from She Likes Food

barbecue cauliflower chickpea taco

I hope you enjoyed this post and learned a few tips and tricks to eat healthy when you are hungry and busy. If you would like to receive recipes and healthy living tips for free, follow my blog on Bloglovin.

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