How Can Busy Clients Maintain a Balanced Diet?


    How Can Busy Clients Maintain a Balanced Diet?

    Balancing a nutritious diet with a hectic schedule can be a challenge, so we've gathered five strategies from top dietitians to help. From planning and having backup meals to combating decision fatigue with scheduled planning, these experts provide actionable advice for maintaining a balanced diet amidst the chaos of busy lives.

    • Plan and Have Backup Meals
    • Utilize Therapeutic Meal-Delivery Services
    • Encourage Meal and Snack Planning
    • Offer Flexible Meal Planning Options
    • Combat Decision Fatigue with Scheduled Planning

    Plan and Have Backup Meals

    One of my most successful strategies for clients with busy schedules is to plan ahead and have backup plans. Planning for a busy week usually involves a combination of prepping some meals and snacks at the beginning of the week, and also planning for convenience foods too. This could be planned meals out or knowing that you will be near a place to pick up healthful snacks. Having backup plans usually means having healthful snack foods in your desk or vehicle so that you never go too long without eating. Sometimes we are late for or miss a meal due to busy schedules. The goal is not to make a habit of that and prioritize fueling your mind.

    Jenna Stedman
    Jenna StedmanCognitive Performance Dietitian, Master Nutrition Lab

    Utilize Therapeutic Meal-Delivery Services

    To help clients with busy schedules maintain a balanced diet, I often recommend meal-delivery services offering therapeutic diet options. These services cater to specific nutritional needs, providing a convenient and effective solution for those unable to prepare balanced meals. Clients can receive meals tailored to their health requirements directly at their doorstep, ensuring they meet their dietary goals healthfully.

    This streamlined approach has significantly impacted many of my clients, allowing them to prioritize their nutritional well-being alongside their demanding lifestyles.

    Danielle Gaffen
    Danielle GaffenRegistered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), Eat Well Crohn's Colitis

    Encourage Meal and Snack Planning

    I encourage meal planning (and snack planning). Always being prepared and having healthy meals and snacks on hand makes it less likely to grab unhealthy options when rushing. Keep various sizes of reusable containers available so you can prep and pre-portion.

    If my client does not have the time or energy to cook daily, I always suggest batch cooking. Cook larger portions that can be stored in the fridge or freezer so that you have multiple meals throughout the week. Frozen vegetables are quick and easy to heat up in the microwave (and inexpensive to keep on hand). Brown rice or whole wheat pasta can also be made relatively quickly or in advance and reheated, so just focusing on prepping their protein makes things a lot easier.

    Michelle Rauch MSc RDN
    Michelle Rauch MSc RDNRegistered Dietitian & Nutritionist, The Actors Fund Home

    Offer Flexible Meal Planning Options

    Meal planning is a general concept that many folks find helpful. For some, batch-cooking for the week can save time and money. Other folks, who get tired of eating the same thing day after day, might do some ingredient prep, like cooking up some meat and rice, and chopping veggies, to be quickly turned into different meals each night. Another option is to plan out (and shop for) what will be prepared each night, while also having a backup plan when things change, such as a frozen dinner, grilled cheese sandwiches, or bean tacos, that can be thrown together at the last minute.

    Heather FioreDietitian-Owner, Free State Nutrition

    Combat Decision Fatigue with Scheduled Planning

    Individuals with busy schedules often experience decision fatigue at the end of a workday, which typically results in a decrease in the ability to make sound judgments or choices. It can lead to making quick or poor decisions simply because the brain is worn out. One strategy I work through with clients is overcoming the daunting question of 'What do we have for dinner tonight?'.

    To overcome this barrier, we discuss setting aside a time of day when they feel well-rested and energized to make sound choices (typically on the weekend) to plan meals for the upcoming week. By simply creating a list of 3-5 meal ideas, it can make the transition from the workday to making dinner that much less daunting.

    Alissa MickRegistered Dietitian Nutritionist, Unbound Recovery, LLC