5 Healthy Food Tips for Busy Lives

  1. Plan Ahead



Pre-order your food from a place that prepares it fresh.  It takes a tiny bit of foresight, but you can walk in- walk out in no time at all with a meal that is far tastier than a fast food combo meal.  We have our favorites scattered around Madison and now, wherever we are, we know a place to pick up food on the way and we know the menu so we call ahead and it doesn’t slow us down.


Eat snacks out, eat meals in:  As much as Cory and I sometimes cringe at the thought of sharing a sandwich or meal when we are starving and in-between appointments, we are always satisfied and glad we did afterwards.  When eating out, follow the 80% full rule more strictly and you’ll feel better and the wallet will take a smaller hit.  Typically, the better the quality, the less you need to feel satisfied!

Quick Bite Spots We Frequent:

Downtown: The Good Food Cart, Sunroom Café, Himal Chuli (CASH)

Verona:  Jordandal Cookhouse, Tuvalu, Sow’s Ear

Madison South West:  Gino’s, Barriques

Madison West: Metcalfe’s (Hilldale/West Towne), La Baguette (CASH), La Brioche, The Nile, Yola’s Café

Middleton: Willy Street Co-Op West

North Side: Manna Café

Monona: Crema Café

East Side:  Ironworks Café, Bunky’s Café, Willy Street Co-Op, Jennifer Street Market, Alchemy, Weary Traveler, The Spot.


  1.  Grocery Stores


An often overlooked spot to grab a quick meal for the family, and nobody can argue the variety.  Stay away from extra additives, such as corn products, nut and seed oils, fish oils, and un-natural sugars if you can.  We like Metcalfe’s and Willy Street Co-op and Whole Foods for their ingredients visibility at the deli.      3.  Quick liquid carbohydrates

While running your child from one activity to another, they need quick energy to keep going strong.  Give them 100% juice (fresh if possible) or good old chocolate milk.


  1.  Involve the entire family


Encourage your kids to help prepare food.  You don’t have to wait on them hand and foot!


Here are some energy packed snacks that will keep your family running in tip-top shape:


Hard-boiled eggs.  Garnish with brown mustard, salt, or another seasoning of your choice

Greek Yogurt.  Add honey and fruit yourself.

Cheese, fruit, and cured meats

For dairy and eggs, chose local options with the fewest ingredients (for example, your cottage cheese doesn’t need guar gum.  In fact avoid any ingredient with “gum”).  Lots of dairy products have nasty additives that can actually be the cause of a lot of dairy intolerances.

Make your own Granola Bars or Power Bars

Chocolate fixes: Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies, Bliss Balls

Here are some resources for Quick Meals from food blogs love:

Smitten Kitchen: Quick & 101 Cookbooks: Quick

If you are carnivorous like us, use the dishes as a meat compliment, or add meat!  We especially like Moroccan Carrot Salad.  We couldn’t find pluots, and used dates instead.  For quality, un-sulfured dried fruits go to Willy Street Co-op or Whole Foods.

Freezer Friendly Recipes!

Once you get comfortable with a recipe it will become even quicker AND you can get creative and put your own spin on things or substitute ingredients that are available to you.

  1.  Join CSA’s

Do all of your good intentions wither away at the grocery store?  Does convenience beat wholesome every time?  Join a CSA and you won’t have to spend as much time making lists and decisions.  We like:

Jordandal Farm

Crossroads Community Farm

Use REAP to search other options.  Now you can get a CSA for just about anything!  Bread, Beer, Cheese, and more!

In Conclusion…

I don’t believe fast food is cheaper than organic, local food.  Why?  It leads to health problems, other poor decisions, and isn’t actually giving you and your family the nourishment their bodies and brains need to thrive.  Compared to local spots, are Fast Food Chains really cheaper?  Many value meals are around the same price or a dollar or two less than the average local deli or sandwich spot.

You don’t sacrifice quality in other areas of your life; don’t sacrifice the quality of your food.

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