We’re all in a hurry these days. Whether you’re working nonstop at a startup, trying to build your side hustle, or shuttling the kids to a dozen different activities, it’s easy to feel like you’re too busy to diet, even if your weight has become a major issue. 

So, what’s a harried professional to do? These 4 simple strategies can help you maintain a healthy diet no matter how much time you spend rushing from point A to point B.

Make Prep A Priority

Social media tends to make food prep look a lot more complicated than it is – we promise, you don’t need to chop all the ingredients for a week worth of meals to take advantage of meal prep. No, all you really need to do is use an hour or two of your weekend to pre-chop some fruits and veggies. Portion healthy snacks out into containers so you can grab them on your way out the door, reducing your reliance on convenience foods.

Spot Sabotage Foods

One of the worst things you can do for your “healthy” diet is to latch onto trendy foods packed with tons of hidden calories. Take smoothies, for example. Smoothies are regularly billed as a great way to get lots of fruits and vegetables, and while that’s technically true, smoothies are also high in sugar and calories. Similar rules apply to smoothie bowls, which are often worse because of the addition of tons of nut butter, juice, granola, and other food fads. While these foods are all nutrient dense, don’t confuse that with them being good for you and keep them to a minimum.

Learn To Eat Out

When you have a busy schedule, eating out – at least occasionally – is almost inevitable. Sure, you could be one of those people who bring packed meals wherever they go, but that can have a negative impact on our mental health over time. It’s also just unrealistic. Instead of stressing yourself out about always eating fresh, homemade meals, it’s much more helpful to learn to make healthy choices when eating out.

If you’re eating at a restaurant, there are several things you can do to reduce the impact on your waistline. First, be sure to choose a lean protein; you’re actually better off opting for a lean protein than a vegetarian entrée since most vegetarian choices are heavy on simple carbohydrates and fats like cheese. Then, once your meal arrives, divvy things up. Restaurant portions are almost always too large, so split your meal in half, or even into thirds, and take the rest home.

Pencil It In

Whether you prefer your iPhone calendar or a traditional paper planner, we’re all hanging on by our carefully calibrated schedules. That means that if you want to fit a workout into your daily routine – or even a few times a week – you need to put it on your calendar. Having a workout buddy can also help, because that will help keep you accountable, though fitness classes are a good replacement if you can’t find someone to sweat with. You also want to make sure that your workouts are convenient. Pick a gym that’s near your home or office so that you’re forced to pass by as you go about your daily travels.

Diets don’t work, but lifestyle changes do, so as you reevaluate what you eat or your activity levels, be sure you’re making sustainable changes. If you don’t rethink your entire lifestyle, including how much stress you’re under, you’ll regain that weight and more. 

But if you’re flexible, allow for indulgences, and make healthy choices the easy choice, you’ll be sure to succeed.