10/17/2013 12:33 EDT | Updated 01/23/2014 06:58 EST

Busy Schedule? Try These Easy Ways to Eat Healthy On the Go

Demanding professional careers and busy family lives have many of us longing to be healthier. Poor nutrition can leave us over extended, overwhelmed and overweight.

Rushing though meals, eating junk food or snacking late at night are unfortunately too typical habits of our modern day existence. An unhealthy diet has serious repercussions, and can result in depleted energy, stress, and illness.

But being busy doesn't necessarily mean having to forgo healthy eating habits; it just requires some knowledge and organization.

1. Do your best to consume nutrient dense whole foods. Processed foods are low in nutrient value and full of chemicals and additives. Even though the packaging might appear to be a convenience, keep in mind that processed foods are a big no-no when it comes to establishing a healthy diet.

2. Make your own pre-packaged goodies. Invest in some reusable glass or stainless steel lunch containers, and pre-prepare your meals and snacks. Stack in the refrigerator for easy access, and voila, instant healthy nibbles, nothing artificial in sight.

3. Menu Planning. This one is a big one. Not only does it organize meal preparation down to a fine art, but it also reduces ingredient waste (i.e. no more veggies wilting in the crisper!). By looking up recipes and planning out meals and snacks in advance you can ensure that every leaf is used. Why not focus on a couple of seasonal ingredients per week, and prepare dishes that highlight these star players in different ways.

4. Don't forget about leftovers. Store uneaten food in an airtight container and enjoy a fuss free meal later. Leftover mains often translate well into delicious sides; warm pesto pasta makes for a great pasta salad served cold the next day!

5. Smoothie lovers can prep in advance too. Hate washing the blender every time you liquefy your lunch? Although one good scrub is unavoidable, you can cut down on dishes by making an extra batch, and organizing tomorrow's breakfast at the same time.

6. Make less coffee runs and save time and money! Brew your own tea or coffee before you leave the house, and store in an insulated thermos. Some travel brands are so efficient you can make your beverage in the morning and enjoy it steaming hot at noon!

7. Take your time. Savouring the flavour of the items on your plate really is the best way to consume your food. Chewing each bite a number of times makes your meal easier to digest than if you were to simply swallow each piece whole.

8. Eat regularly. Skipping meals or depriving yourself of food can often result in an unhealthy late night snack fest. If you choose to chomp in front of the TV, go for healthy options; hummus and veggies, kale chips, or a couple of handfuls of homemade tail mix are all nice, nutritious treats.

9. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so make it count. A hearty breakfast fuels the body for the day's activities, and a fast food muffin just won't cut it. A plant based protein shake is a great option, as are filling flax and chia cereals, or whole grain toast with nut butter and a piece of fruit. Remember, each day is a new opportunity to make smart meal and snack choices, giving you the opportunity to improve your health one bite at a time!

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