5 tips to eat well when life is busy

We know we should prioritise eating well, but life gets busy and sometimes you feel like you just don’t have the time or energy, right?  

With hectic schedules, meeting deadlines, and juggling so many responsibilities, taking care of your nutritional needs often takes a backseat. But with a few smart tricks, eating well can be made easier!


1. Planning 

Planning is key when time is tight. It is much easier to eat well when you in a good routine and have healthy options at hand.

Try to plan your meals the same day each week as this helps to make planning become a habit. You can jot down your plan on a piece of paper, in a diary or on a meal planner stuck to your fridge. In my house, I have a calendar reminder for a Thursday at 8pm which is when I plan, then I shop on a Saturday morning. Find a routine that works for you.

Use this meal planning tool to easily create your own online meal plan and shopping list using Healthy Food Guide recipes.

Keep it simple! There’s nothing wrong with having a few of the same meals on rotation each week – you can change them up based on what produce is in season. You can try one new recipe each week on a night when you have more time if you are ready to mix things up!

If you live with others, see how you can share the load so they can pitch in too and help. Could you allocate others a set day each week to help with dinner prep?

Download this meal planner template here.


2. Nutritious Staples and Speedy Meals  

Create a list of super-speedy meals and be sure to always have items you need for them! This can be a life saver on busy days when cooking from scratch just isn’t feasible. Why not use Healthy Food Guide recipes that are ready in 20 mins for inspiration? 


Staples to have in your fridge and pantry:  

  • Eggs
  • Canned fish (tuna, salmon, sardines)
  • Canned lentils and beans (chickpeas, black beans, cannellini beans, red kidney beans are all great options)
  • Canned tomatoes and tomato puree (a combination of these makes an easy pasta sauce)
  • Frozen vegetables (green beans, edamame beans, peas, mixed veg, potato wedges)
  • Frozen berries
  • Frozen protein – fish fillets, falafels, meatballs
  • Frozen grainy bread and pita pockets
  • Hummus or yoghurt dip
  • Vegetable and lentil soup
  • Pasta and rice
  • Fresh veggies and fruit – spinach, carrots, capsicum, cucumber, broccoli, avocados, bananas and apples are especially versatile and easily available most of the time.


Quick and easy meals you can throw together:   

  • Eggs on wholegrain toast with avocado
  • Omelettes with veggies and cheese – spinach, mushroom, capsicum, tomatoes, zucchini all work well
  • Fresh filled pasta with canned tomatoes and added frozen veggies
  • Frozen fish, frozen veggies and oven-baked wedges (the ones with no added salt)
  • Poke-style bowl – quick-cook microwave rice, any chopped or frozen veg you have, canned or frozen beans, leftover protein or canned tuna/salmon
  • Platter-style meals – with chopped veg, hummus or yoghurt dip, and pita pockets, plus meatballs or falafels cooked or reheated from frozen
  • Pre-made vegetable and lentil soup (either home-made or store-bought) and wholegrain toast


You can print out this pantry/fridge staples and back-up meals list for your fridge HERE. 


3. Prep Ahead 

Set aside prep time on a day when your schedule is not so busy, often a Sunday works.  

Use this time to:   

  • Chop up bite-size veg for healthy snacks, lunchboxes, and to use in your main meals during the week ahead. e.g. containers full of chopped carrot, celery, capsicum, broccoli and cauli are super helpful.
  • Make a basic coleslaw-style salad with finely sliced or shredded cabbage and grated carrot to keep in the fridge for the week – ideal for a lunch or dinner base.
  • Roast a few trays of veggies to use in your lunches and dinners. e.g. potatoes, kumara/sweet potato, beetroot, carrot, cauliflower – simply add some greens and protein to serve.
  • Do a batch of cooking or baking to help with the meals for the week ahead. You could make mince to go with rice, pasta, potato or nachos. In the colder months soup or a hot pot/casserole can work well.


4. Make Snack Packs  

Muesli bars can be quick and convenient, but they can also be expensive! Get a pack of reusable bags and fill them with unsalted nuts, seeds and dried fruit. Try different combos, some ideas:  

  • Walnuts and dried apricots  
  • Cashews, almonds and cranberries  
  • Peanuts and raisins  
  • Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds and sultanas  


5. Shop Online and Save Time  

Online supermarket shopping is super-convenient!   

Get your order in when you have a gap in your schedule, perhaps during a quieter evening or even while waiting for kids at after school activities. It gets quicker each time you do it and you can use the handy ‘shop from list’ and ‘have you forgotten’ tools to make it even easier.

Collect your groceries or have them delivered – ideally before your prep-day, say on a Friday if you’re prepping in the weekend.

If you are still struggling, why not try one of the food subscription boxes every fortnight or during a busy patch to help ease the load?  


With a little planning and preparation, eating well can become a lot easier and more convenient, helping you prioritise your wellbeing even when life is busy!


Personalised 1:1 nutrition advice 

The experienced team at Mission Nutrition can help you understand a healthy balanced diet and good nutrition, PLUS support you to make this work for you and your lifestyle. We appreciate everyone is different, and we want to help you get the answers you are looking for and make healthy changes that are achievable and lasting.  

We offer face-to-face consults and telehealth consults via video or phone call so we can 'meet' you wherever you are located! No traffic or parking hassles, and various days/times for you to choose from.    

Head to our Team page to get to know us! 

If you have health insurance, check your policy - you might be able to claim for the consultation too.  



Published By

Claire Turnbull



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