Healthy Shortcuts

Submitted Aug 20, 2003   Updated Sep 26, 2010
By Ronda Smith, RN


  1. Evaluate your schedule and see how creative you can be to arrange time to be healthy. Some schedule changes that save time may be:
  1. Eating only two meals per day—a good size breakfast and a late lunch.
  2. Eating your big, savory meal in the morning for breakfast. Then the second meal may be easier to pack with you.
  1. Cook a few dishes on the weekend that you can take to work and heat up.


  3. Cook enough to be able to freeze some in small containers for several meals at later times.


  5. Planning is one of the most important aspects of eating healthfully. By planning menus, you can know ahead of time what needs to be done. Make a shopping list so you can get everything you need for the week in one trip.


  7. Buy in bulk (if you have storage space), so you will have supplies on hand and won’t have to shop as often.


  9. Use your crock pot and/or pressure cooker. These are real time savers once you get used to using them.


  11. Eat simple—not a lot of casseroles and loaves. Use spreads and sauces that can be used on several different foods.


  13. Choose some ready-made items which you can get readily and are still healthy to intersperse with your cooking from "scratch". (i.e. soy milk, sugarless jams, whole wheat bread)


  15. If you must use some frozen entrees or packaged foods, here are some guidelines: 
  1. Realize that these will usually be higher in fat, sodium and sugar than what you can make and enjoy at home.
  2. Reading labels is a must. Many foods that are advertised as being healthy in one area are quite a bit less healthy in another. For example, a low sodium food may be very high in fat. Or a vegetarian food may be high in cholesterol (from cheese or milk). Or a low fat food may be very high in refined sugar and other refined sweeteners.
  3. Health Valley, Nature’s Path, Barbara’s make healthy breakfast cereals. Shredded wheat, and Grapenuts are good choices as well.
  4. Health Valley also makes instant soups in individual servings. Be sure to read the labels and know what you are getting.
  5. Casha and Fantastic Foods have good burger, pasta, and spread mixes that take minimal prep time. Again, read labels.
  6. Frozen vegetarian entrees from Morning Star (savory breakfast foods), Amy, Green Giant, Health is Wealth and Cascade Farms are available. However, some are very high in fat or salt, or have cheese, cream cheese, milk or buttermilk.