We’ve taken multi-tasking to a whole new level with jam-packed schedules and mile long to-do lists. Cooking healthy meals might fall somewhere between picking up your kids and going through the dreaded inbox. But let me tell you, you can eat well, even when you are busy! “I don’t have the time”, is no longer a reason not to eat healthy. You do have the time to eat well, you just need to know a few tricks. Try these healthy food hacks that are just as quick as fast food and frozen dinners.

Get healthier, instantly with these ingredient swaps

  • Making a sandwich? Replace mayonnaise with mashed avocado.
  • Instead of store-bought salad dressing, drizzle olive oil and lemon juice on your salad.
  • When making dips and sauces, swap sour cream for plain Greek yogurt.
  • For salads, use dark leafy greens such as kale or spinach instead of iceberg lettuce.
  • For snacks, swap your chips for veggies such as carrots or kale chips.
  • Sweeten your dishes with dates instead of sugar.
  • Wrap tacos in collard greens or lettuce cups instead of taco shells.

Eat well on the go with these five minute meals

  • Smoothies (Blend 1.5 cups of your fave fruits + veggies with 1 cup water or vegetarian milk, and 1/4 cup of additions such as dates, nut butters, oats and hemp seeds)
  • Overnight oats
  • Salad in a jar: Raid your fridge for all the veggies you’ve got, chop them up and load into a mason jar or lunch container. Add extras such as boiled eggs, olives, capers, beans and/or nuts and season with olive oil, lemon and salt and pepper. If using leafy veggies, add dressing to bottom of jar and leaves to top of jar. Shake up to mix at lunch.

Your new favourite meal: toast

  • Toast toppers are pretty hot right now. Create a fancy (but easy to make) toast with a healthy spread or mustard topped with your favourite veggies, fruits, nuts, and seeds. Get inspiration here.

Save time (and avoid waste) prepping all those healthy ingredients

  • A quick trick for slicing tomatoes (via Food52)
  • Easily remove egg shells from boiled eggs by adding baking soda or vinegar to water while the eggs are boiling (via Greatist)
  • Prevent sliced avocados from turning brown by placing it in an airtight container with a piece of onion (via the Kitchn)
  • Remove seeds from your veggies such as squash and eggplant using an ice cream scooper!
  • Cook beans and whole grains while you do other chores, such as laundry. Cool and pack into recipe-sized servings (usually 2 cups) into freezer safe bags, label and freeze. Always have beans, barley, brown rice and wheat berries on hand for quick whole grain meals.

Thank you to my student volunteer, Naomi Oh, for helping me put this blog post together!