6 clever healthy diet hacks for busy women

Want to eat well but too rushed to keep a food diary or count calories? These diet hacks are a busy girl’s guide to healthy eating with minimum effort.

If there’s one thing us girls don’t have enough of, it’s that most elusive of four-letter words – time.

The 2021 Household, Income and Labour Dynamics survey found around a third of Aussies experienced chronic time stress, with women generally feeling more rushed than men.

And the last thing we want to do in the few minutes left in our jam-packed day is to follow lengthy recipes – or painstakingly calculate calories – in our bid to eat a nourishing and well-balanced diet.

Which is why we bring you the busy girl’s diet hacks to eating healthier.

1. Say hello smoothie bags

“Prepping pre-measured smoothie bags and having them in the freezer ready to go is an absolute game changer in kickstarting your day,” nutrition coach and personal trainer Luke Hines says.

Instead of making one smoothie, prepare multiple at once — pack your pre-cut fruit, veggies, powdered supplements and any add-ons neatly into ziplock bags and pop in the freezer, ready to be added to the blender with your liquid of choice, whenever you want, Luke advises.

2. Embrace ‘ready chopped’

Supermarkets are doing their bit to help time-poor diet hack hunters, dietitian Geraldine Georgeou says.

“These days, you’ll find a lot of ready-chopped and ready-to-cook vegetables in the fresh food aisle, and also among the canned and frozen foods,” Geraldine says.

“These are an easy way to add extra nutrients, fibre and bulk to a meal, which can help you feel more full and satisfied, and less likely to snack after a meal.”

3. Try breakfast for dinner

Shake things up and try some of your favourite easy-to-cook and healthy brekkie meals at the other end of the day, dietitian Teri Lichtenstein suggests.

“For example, try a two-egg omelette with some mushrooms, tomato and spinach or capsicum on wholegrain bread, and you have a simple but nutritious dinner that can be ready in just a few minutes,” Teri says.

4. Love your leftovers

Using leftovers wisely can totally save you money – and time, Geraldine says.

And no, we’re not talking about three-day-old pizza.

“Turn your extra pasta or cooked veggies into a frittata, or create burritos with leftover rice, meat and vegetables,” Geraldine suggests.

“Leftover roast meats can make a delicious toastie on wholegrain bread with some mashed roast vegetables and rocket; or puree leftover veggies into a soup.”

5. Master the art of ‘dress up’

Teri suggests busy (clever) girls start with something simple like two-minute noodles or microwave brown rice and pair with stir-fry vegetables and shredded chicken for a quick, delicious and healthy meal.

“Or pair your microwave rice with a piece of grilled salmon and a packet of salad leaves from the supermarket, which you can throw together super quickly,” Teri recommends.

6. Fake it ’til you make it

Instead of giving in to cravings for treats that can derail your wellness success, make healthier versions in bulk and cut them into single portions to have on hand in the fridge or freezer for whenever temptation kicks in, Luke advises (kindly remembering that we need treats, too).

“That way, when you’re craving something that’s a little bit naughty, you’ve instead got something within reach that is packed with nutrient-dense ingredients to keep you on track with your healthy eating goals,” Luke says.

So there you have it – six easy, sure-fire ways to tick the healthy meal (or snack) box with minimum effort.

Now put your feet up and relax.

Written by Liz McGrath.