Food Hacks for Busy People

by | Aug 12, 2022 | nutrition

Between work, family, and social obligations, it can be hard to find time to eat, let alone cook healthy food. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here are some quick and easy nutritional hacks that will help keep you eating healthy without spending hours in the kitchen or thinking about food all day.

a fried egg on a piece of toast. An easy food hack.

Eat breakfast to stay satisfied longer during the day.

If you’re always on the go, making time for breakfast in the morning can be challenging. But if you want to avoid that mid-morning slump and stay satisfied longer, it’s worth eating something with a good balance of nutrients before you head out the door. Making sure your first meal of the day has a solid amount of protein, fat, and fiber will set your body up for long-lasting energy.

Try options like:

Oatmeal with blueberries and a tbsp of peanut butter (or any nut butter)

Avocado toast with chia seeds sprinkled on top (add some arugula and tomato for extra credit)

Eggs made any way you like with avocado on the side or mixed in

Pre-cut fruit and greek yogurt, whole grain muffins, or protein bars

Make lunch your biggest meal.

This food hack is a hard switch to make for many. You might be accustomed to saving your largest nosh for dinner time. But do you also find you’re often way too tired to cook when you get home? Having a larger lunch can keep you satisfied and energized through the afternoon and feeling less hungry at dinner. It can also help prevent you from mindlessly grazing throughout the day.

Use frozen veggies and fruit to make quick meals.

If you are short on time but still want to eat a nutritious meal, a helpful hack is using frozen fruits and vegetables. Frozen fruits and vegetables are just as healthy as fresh because they are frozen at their peak of ripeness. Plus, they can be bought in bulk and stored in your freezer for months!

Some quick meal ideas using frozen fruits and vegetables include:

-A smoothie made with frozen bananas, almond milk, and spinach

-Stir fry made with frozen veggies like broccoli, carrots, and peppers (grab a rotisserie chicken at the market and toss that in for some protein)

-A frittata made with frozen spinach and tomatoes


Buy pre-chopped veggies to make a snack in a snap.

Another food hack for busy people is to buy pre-chopped food. Let’s be honest… sometimes taking the time to chop up fruit and vegetables feels like a herculean effort. So you reach for something super easy instead, like pretzels, and *blink* it’s Sunday, and you’re slam dunking that bell pepper in the trash. It can definitely feel like a luxury or a purchase of indulgence. But it’s not. In the long run, we often save money because an already chopped veg will actually be eaten. It’s really ok to make a few things in life easier if you can.

Some snack ideas using pre-chopped food include:

-Sliced red bell peppers and hummus

-Fruit salad

-A salad made with pre-chopped greens, veggies, grilled chicken, and your favorite dressing

A purple smoothie in a mason jar with fruit bursting from the top.

Smoothies for the easy and portable win!

If you’re short on time, smoothies can be a great way to get a quick, nutritious meal. Adding things like fruits, vegetables, protein powder, and healthy fats to your smoothie can turn it into a well-rounded meal.

Some ideas for ingredients to add to your smoothie include:

-Spinach or kale

-Frozen berries or banana

-Protein powder

-Nut butter or coconut oil

-Chia seeds or flaxseeds

How to use themed meal nights to make meal planning simpler

Another great nutritional hack for busy people who want to eat healthy food is to have themed meal nights. This means that each night of the week is dedicated to a different type of cuisine. Having a theme makes meal planning simpler, can help you stay on track with healthy eating, and removes the guesswork and overthinking typical of meal planning.

Some ideas for themed meal nights include:

-Taco Tuesday: tacos, burritos, enchiladas, quesadillas

-Pasta night: spaghetti, lasagna, pasta salad

-Soup and salad night

Meal kits can help make dinner easier.

If you’re really short on time, another hack is to use meal kits. These kits contain all the ingredients and instructions you need to make a healthy and delicious meal. All you have to do is follow the directions and cook! Meal kits are a great way to save time and still eat well.

Some companies that offer meal kits include:

-Blue Apron

-Sun Basket






Batch cook as you go through your week

A day of meal prep may sound like a ton of work. And if it sounds like a lot, we won’t do it. Instead, try preparing twice the amount you plan to eat for some of your recipes or snacks during the week. Making chicken breast on Monday? Make one for tomorrow too. Cutting up some vegetables for a snack? Cut up some extra for later in the week. Make a handful of hardboiled eggs at a time so you can have them for snacks multiple times. You don’t have to spend hours in the kitchen on a Sunday to reap the reward of batching your prep.

Some ideas for foods to batch cook include:

-Chicken breasts

-Roasted veggies

-Quinoa or rice (you can cook and freeze individual portions and heat them up in the microwave when you’re ready to eat)


-Soups or stews

An open pantry filled with ingredients

Collect recipes that use mostly pantry staples

When you’re busy, the last thing you want to do is run to the store whenever you want to make a meal. So a good food hack is to collect recipes that mostly use ingredients you already have in your pantry or fridge. This can help you save time and money.

Some ideas for recipes that use pantry staples include:


-Stir fry

-Minestrone soup

Black bean taquitos are a quick and easy recipe that can be made with mostly food pantry staples. All you need for this recipe is a can of black beans, some spices, and tortillas. If you have cheese and sour cream on hand, you can add those as well.

To make black bean taquitos, simply:

-Mix together a can of black beans, some chili powder, cumin, and salt

-Spread the mixture onto small tortillas

-Roll them up and bake in the oven until crispy

-Serve with cheese, sour cream, and salsa on top

For other great pantry staple recipes, see this list of 100!

These are just a few nutrition hacks for busy people. Following these tips can make healthy eating easier and less time-consuming. So if you’re short on time, be sure to give some of these hacks a try!


Want more ideas for an efficient kitchen? Check out this post!