Many people find it hard to find the time to eat healthy and I understand this can be an issue if you are super busy, or not experienced in the kitchen and feel like you have limited knowledge of foods and what to do with them. It is true that preparation does take a little time, but if you make the time to prepare for the week or even for a 3-4 day period, then you can save yourself time (and stress) throughout the week. This is especially helpful if you are working outside of the home. As a busy mom with two daughters, planning and prepping my meals meant there was always quality food in the house for all of us to enjoy.
- Plan your meals
Set aside 20-60 minutes to sit down and decide what you are going to eat over the next few days. This includes breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks for each day.
- Make a shopping list
This sounds like an obvious step but having all the correct ingredients in the house saves time and reduces the stress of having to ‘pop-out’ in the middle of cooking to get a forgotten item.
- Keep it simple
Sometimes we get so worried about eating ‘perfectly’ that we over complicate things. You don’t have to throw out everything in your pantry and all your cookbooks. Eating clean is the simplest way to eat. Quality protein (animal or vegetarian), 2-3 servings of vegetables and a clean carbohydrate. Don’t worry about creating Michelin-chef inspired meals (at least not at first!). You will find that your shopping will actually take less time because you are more organized, and you can completely avoid most of the ‘central’ aisles in the grocery store as they are generally filled with processed food. One lap around the perimeter and you’ll find most of what you need. Don’t forget the frozen food section as the fish and vegetables there are frozen almost immediately after being caught/picked so they will retain more of their nutrients.
- Prep Vegetables
When you return from shopping, prep your vegetables. If you are eating them raw, slice them and store them in a glass ‘Tupperware’ like container with a bit of water to help keep them fresh. Broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, green beans and spinach can all be pre-cooked ‘al dente’ so when you re-heat your meal they won’t be over cooked.
- Prep Meat
Pre-cooking a large batch of meat is a great time-saver. Get the oven or outdoor grill pre-heated then prep your meat. Buying minced lamb, chicken, turkey and beef also saves time. Put each meat in a separate bowl, add an egg and desired seasonings then form into ‘hamburger’ shaped patties (especially if grilling) or into ‘meatball’ sized balls if baking. If you don’t have time to make your own patties then you can find pre-made (preferably hormone free, organic) ones in most grocery stores. After your meat is cooked and cool, you can either place it directly into a glass storage container and continue assembling the rest of the meal, or individually wrap and label it and store in the fridge or freezer to assemble the night before.
- Prep Grains
If you are eating grains such as rice and quinoa you can pre-make these as well, season as desired and allow to cool completely before storing in the fridge.
- Kitchen organization is key
Set aside fruit on the worktop so it’s easily accessible. Organise your cupboards so you know exactly where to look when you want ingredients to cook with, such as pulses, grains, condiments, supplements, spices etc.
The time you invest in planning and preparing your meals in advance will help you stay on track and free-up extra time for you to do other things that are really important to you.
I’m here to help with this – contact me if you’d like to book a kitchen organization session with me!