Alright we all know when it comes to eating healthy, prep is key! You’ve probably heard it a million times, when you fail to plan, you plan to fail! The reason so many of us eat crappy junk food in the first place is because it’s convenient! Whats more convenient than stopping at Little Caesars on your way home and picking up a $5 pizza? Hot and ready for the whole fam to stuff their faces with. Or a bag of chips you can just pop open and enjoy the salty greasy goodness ;)
Well I’m hear with some good news! Eating healthy doesn’t have to be an all day in the kitchen kind of thing. A lot of us work full time, or have mommy duties all day, I mean who has time to cook these days? Well you DO! Let me share a few of my tips for cooking healthy, quick, and efficiently. Don’t get caught up and overwhelmed with people posting about making exotic beautiful meals from scratch everyday, thats not reality, thats social media.
First of all, you have to accept the fact that it’s never going to be quite as fast, cheap, and easy as Mcdonalds, those are just the facts. But with a tad more effort, you can have a healthy, filling meal, that won’t break the bank and taste AMAZING. It takes a bit of planning & effort, but everyone can do it! It takes commitment and deciding that you’re going to live a healthy lifestyle, feeding you and your family healthy meals. Don’t beat yourself up if you have to throw in a frozen lasagna occasionally, but just do your best! Here are my tips that should help:
Tip #1: Invest in a Crockpot.
If you don’t currently own a crockpot, I highly recommend you get one. This will save you time in all sorts of ways. I have so many recipes that I can just throw into the crockpot, turn it on, set the timer, and walk out the door, coming home to an amazing smelling house and dinner all ready to go. It gives you the convenience of going about your day without having to watch the oven or stove. Also, you’ll always have left overs, which will save you time throughout the week. Bonus, you’ll spend less time doing dishes! One pot meals are amazing.
Tip #2: Plan Your Weeks Menu, with Strategy
Find 5-6 healthy dinner recipes you want on the menu for the week, allowing for a night out on the weekend (if you want help with this part reply to this post and I’ll hook you up with all sorts of good recipes). Plan so that the first couple of nights you make a crockpot meal, a soup, or something with lots of leftovers that you can utilize throughout the week for lunches or breakfast. For example, this week I made a big batch of Lentil Soup Monday night, and Tuesday night I made shredded pork in the crockpot. Both were large batches that I’ve been using for lunches, eliminating extra time in the kitchen for sure.
Tip #3: Utilize half prepped ingredients
Thank goodness for Trader Joe’s and awesome ingredients! Ok Trader Joe’s isn’t the only place you can find pre-prepped ingredients, but I’ve just found a lot of my favorites here. Don’t think you have to do everything from scratch. Take advantage of swift time savers such as pre-riced cauliflower (its a mess to do it on your own!), sliced jicama, or pre-cubed and peeled butternut squash, or awesome low-sugar sauces (enchilada sauce & curry sauce from Trader Joe’s are awesome for crockpot meat recipes) that add flavor to any meal. I’ll be posting a lot of these products in my Friday Favorites post this Friday so stay tuned! Still go for whole, unprocessed ingredients, but take advantage of a little pre-prepped help.
Tip #4: Always make extra
When you’re making a meal, always think about what you can do to save you time later on. If you’re making a salad, get out a few tupperware containers while you’re at it and just make multiple salads in one setting, packed and ready to enjoy that week. If you’re slicing vegetables for dinner, slice more and put them in baggies for a healthy snack while you’re at it. If you’re boiling water, get some eggs out and hard boil a few for the week. If you’re making rice or quinoa, double the batch and put what you don’t eat in the fridge. This will become second nature with experience and practice.
Tip #5: Multi-task your cooking
This tip is geared towards having success with a 20-30 minute meal. I start by getting all of my ingredients out that I will be using for the meal and figuring out what part of the meal is going to take the longest to cook or bake and I get that going first. So if I’m having sweet potatoes with my meal, I’ll get those in the oven first thing, then I prep everything else while those are baking. Or if I’m having fish, I’ll prep that, get it in the oven, then in those 15-20 minutes of bake time I make my salad or veggies, and then everything is done at once!
Well there you have it, my 5 tips for being quick and efficient in the kitchen. It may seem overwhelming and daunting at first if you’re not used to cooking or if you don’t even like it. But trust me, practice makes perfect, and by cooking your own meals you will always know what you’re putting in your body, giving you control. You will also save money! Don’t get caught up with thinking it needs to be perfect or thinking every meal has to be fancy. Just keep it simple and try new flavors! Enjoy! leave a comment with any questions or recipe requests