There’s no doubt the world would be a much healthier place if convenience foods consisted of healthy, fresh meals and sugary, salty snack were few and far between. Unfortunately, eating well can sometimes mean a time commitment, and when we get busy with work, school, kids activities, home maintenance, and so on, it can be difficult to prioritize fixing healthy meals. So, if you’re looking to making eating healthier a priority, there are some simple steps you can take to make life a little easier, and a little healthier. Here are our top three tips for how to make time for fixing healthy meals.
Plan Ahead (Meal Prep)
As the famous quote says, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” You simply have to allocate a block of time to prepare healthy meals and snacks. Physically write it into your calendar. Set an alert on your phone. Put a sticky note on the fridge. And, most importantly, follow through with your planned prep time. There’s no doubt that failure to plan time into your schedule for making healthy foods will negatively affect your life and your health.
There are few different ways you can go about your pre-planned healthy food times. Each day, you can allocate a block of time for fixing pre-planned dinners that are quick, healthy, and simple. Then, for either yourself or everyone in your home, you can pre-pack healthy snacks and lunches for the following day before going to bed each night. This helps ensure that when lunchtime roles around, you can make smart choices and avoid eating unhealthy snacks or going out for calorie-packed meals.
Alternatively, some people fall in love with the concept of having a “cooking day”. On your designated cooking day, you spend an average of 2-4 hours prepping, cooking, and freezing or refrigerating pre-planned meals and snacks that you consume the rest of the week with no prep-time needed. Meal planning is one the best ways to maintain a healthy diet while making life simple. (netdoctor)
Choose a handful of healthy snacks that keep well. Nuts, dried fruits, carrots, and granola bars are all great examples of healthy snacks that have long shelf lives. You can stock up on these kinds of items to have at the office or at home when you need a quick bite. This helps keep you from reaching for unhealthy foods, or picking up the phone to order in.
You can also apply the stock up principle to meals. Keeping a pantry well stocked with things like rolled oats, brown rice, beans, and whole wheat pasta means you have dinner staples on hand. Keeping frozen veggies handy in the freezer is a fast and easy way to round out a meal and keep it nutritionally sound. (zenhabits)
Perhaps the best way to save you time in the kitchen while cooking in a healthy way is to use a slow cooker. These countertop appliances, as the name implies, slowly and safely cook foods while you are out being busy. There are infinite slow cooker recipes to try. You can always choose to have your protein of choice (chicken, pork shoulder, roast, etc.) slow cooking all day so that when you get home a quick saute of veggies means dinner is done. (Wikipedia)