Entering into a healthy lifestyle is a conscious choice for many, but for some, it may be a result of medical advice. Healthy eating goals involve more than just fitting into your favorite pair of old jeans—it’s an opportunity to feel better, live better, and support your body and mind long-term.
The ‘right’ diet boosts your physical health, helps maintain energy levels, and positively impacts your mental well-being. Essential nutrients, antioxidants, and fiber are all important to maintaining a healthy gut and healthy brain.
You may have tried following a healthy lifestyle but a packed work schedule makes things more difficult—tedious planning, and under preparation may take you far from the starting line. By understanding your body's needs and working within your available time, we'll help you get started on the path to maintaining dietary consistency.
What makes eating healthy all week long difficult?
Just like any other wellness goal, you need to plan ahead of time and actually follow the plan to achieve your desired outcome. Some of the most common barriers to healthy eating we've found are:
Feeling overwhelmed: Big changes take time and it can take a long while to settle into a new routine—especially if you’re cutting out foods that have become sources of comfort.
Lack of time: The major reason for being unable to follow everyday healthy eating is not accounting for preparation time, especially for those who work a physical job, long hours, or have an inconsistent schedule.
Complex plans: If it's too tough to follow, or involves too many eliminations, you probably won't stick to it.
Being too rigid: You can have a few days' worth of cheat days in a month, but it's paramount to maintain a positive outlook toward the end goal, without becoming fearful of falling back into old dietary patterns.
Making big changes: Expecting results too fast is a mistake that leads to dropping a new dietary regimen without seeing it through long term. It takes time for results to show.
Tips for a healthy eating plan that works and how to stick to it
When making an investment in your body and mind, there are bound to be distractions. But with the right mindset and proven dietary habits, overcoming these challenges is easy.
Week after week of healthy eating requires simplicity—when it comes to planning, preparation, and execution. As time progresses (and armed with a deeper understanding of your dietary needs), you can have a perfectly healthy ready-to-eat meal in 20 minutes or less.
Schedule your time: Set a fixed time for planning the current week's or next week's meals and snacks. Prep as much as you can ahead of time.
Pre-cut preparation: To help cook or prepare daily meals faster, preparation is key. Wash, cut, and store your ingredients in the fridge, in handy locations, so you can get started on meals without spending extra time making trips to the grocery store for that one missing spice or vegetable. With pre-boiled or pre-cut veggies (that you’ve done yourself), meal preparation is a whole lot faster.
Repeat the week: There’s no need to have a completely different meal plan every week if you're comfortable with the meals you’re already cooking. Obviously, these should be nutrient-dense meals to ensure you’re not missing any key nutrients and there needs to be some diversity, but there’s nothing inherently wrong with eating the same meals throughout a prolonged period of time given that they’re healthy.
Fixed portions: By preparing your snacks and meals in fixed portions, you prevent overeating and maintain a balanced dietary plan that is geared toward weight gain, maintenance, or weight loss.
Get rid of distractions: Stock only the things you need for preparation and eliminate unhealthy snacks and junk food. Initially, this forces you to stay focussed only on the healthy options you have in front of you—but this further pushes you to avoid unhealthy titbits even when you see them in stores.
While by no means a rigorous eating plan, these couple of recipes show you how easy it is to incorporate healthy foods into a daily schedule—without compromising on time.
Grilled Chicken Salad
Prep: Straight from the refrigerator and onto the plate for a quick healthy salad. Get veggies, cherry tomatoes, and cucumber, and toss some light vinaigrette over grilled chicken breast.
Tip for faster preparation: Slice grilled chicken into batches and store away in the refrigerator. Wash and chop the veggies into airtight containers separately. Your salad is ready in under 15 mins for having.
Roasted Veggies with Quinoa
Prep: For this snack, you'll need cooked quinoa and some roasted chickpeas, paired with veggies—good options include bell peppers, zucchini, and carrots given a quick roast to maintain their flavors with a dash of olive oil.
Tip for faster preparation: Roasted chickpeas and pre-cooked quinoa can be stored in separate containers from the veggies, so you can use them in combination for other meals. Store well-cooked quinoa in the fridge for the remainder of the week. Canned chickpeas offer a super-fast alternative to dried beans that are healthy and ready to use without hour-long cook time.
Cauliflower & Broccoli Soup
Prep: With some olive oil, lightly fry some garlic. Later add cauliflower and some light spices for taste. Once the cauliflower is easily mashed, add broccoli, and carrot and simmer a bit. Add vegetable broth and blend with an immersion blender. Add cheese while continuing to stir.
Tip for faster preparation: You can pre-cut and refrigerate the broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots ahead of time (or use frozen) so you can shorten the soup prep time. Provided you have an immersion blender, this soup is pretty easily prepared and stored in containers in your fridge or freezer to be later re-heated throughout the week.
Quinoa and Veggie Stir-Fry
Prep: If you can separately have pre-cooked quinoa and tofu, you have a quick and healthy meal ready in minutes. Fry diced tofu with bell peppers and carrots. Add some peas if you'd like to bring some green color. The flavorful vegan dish is delicious and great for a nutritious meal.
Tip for faster preparation: Quinoa and tofu when pre-cooked help save time in preparing this healthy meal.
Baked Lemon Herb Salmon
Prep: A well-prepared salmon for lunch or dinner is the perfect meal for a healthy eating journey. On a baking sheet, add olive oil, a sprinkle of lemon juice, and herbs to the salmon— bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes.
Tip for faster preparation: If you want to prepare this for lunch, marinate the salmon in the morning—depending on your work schedule, you can prep this ahead of time for the week, put it in BPA-free containers, and store it in the freezer.
Grilled Chicken in Whole-Wheat Wrap
Prep: This is super easy, and a great option for lunch or dinner. Marinate cut chicken strips with salt, pepper, paprika, garlic, onion powder, and olive oil—and then grill them. If you don’t have access to a grill, pan-frying will work just as well. They can also be baked.
Peel avocado and sprinkle lime juice. Pour sour cream and cheese on the warmed-up wraps, after you’ve already added the grilled chicken and avocado. You can easily replace the chicken with tofu or tempeh (and the cheese with dairy-free) to make it vegan.
Tip for faster preparation: Refrigerated and stored pre-cooked chicken can help to cut the prep time dramatically, and make this a super simple recipe.
Prep: Start your morning with an overnight oat bowl. With almond milk (or any other plant-based milk alternative), take chia seeds, rolled oats, and some small-cut fruits (think: low sugar options, like blueberries and blackberries) and place them in a 250mL - 500mL mason jar, then in the fridge before going to bed. You can easily prep this in a couple of minutes before bed for the next morning.
Tip for faster preparation: Cut fruits and store them in the fridge ahead of time—which can also be used for other snacks/meal prep, or buy frozen fruits. Rolled oats and steel-cut oats are the healthiest options, but if you’re really strapped for time, quick-cooking varieties are still healthy and don’t require the same length of time overnight in the fridge to become softened.
It's possible your journey toward healthy eating may have some hiccups along the way—but remember, that the key is always to look at the end goal and the long-term benefits it will have on your mind and body. These recipes are just a couple of small recommendations—which you can always improvise upon, based on the seasonal availability of local veggies. We encourage you to be mindful of these tips when creating your own personalized plan for healthy eating every week.