I love healthy food. I love veggies and fruit. I even like wheat bread better than white bread. So why don't I ever eat healthy? Time. I feel like I never have the time to cook and I really don't like prepackaged or frozen meals. Does anyone have any good time saving tips or tricks that might help me out?
Cook large batches of food when you do cook. You can store leftovers in the freezer or you can eat leftovers throughout the week. You can also prep meals for the future like prepare a casserole that all you need to do is pop it in the oven and then put it in the freezer until you are ready.
I just finished making my salads for the week. I found it time consuming to make lunch/dinner salads every night so once or twice a week, I make salads for multiple days.
You can't out-exercise poor eating habits.
I only cook really once a week. The store ads come out on Monday, I plan my meals and go shopping for ingredients on Friday. Saturday is cooking day and no it doesn't take all day either. I get a coule of main dishes made, my lunches for work and my brakfast for the week all made. During the week to break up the leftovers, I always have batches of turkey burgers and chilis etc I ahve prevoiusly made in the freezer.
It takes planning but I don't have time to cook during the week really. I get up at 4:30am and home around 5pm. Sometimes after work I'll make a stir fry, but I already have all the veggies etc prepped and ready to go so if I choose to cook, it takes me 10 minutes.
The freezer is your best friend!
"What are you REALLY hungry for?"
I don't like frozen foods and I hate to cook ... but I get by. As long as I stay away from refined sugar ... I usually can get by eatting pretty healthy without many cravings.
During the work day, I usually have a cup of chicken or veggie broth for lunch and some of the following snacks: crunchies dried fruit, dried tomatoes (justtomatoes.com), an apple or an orange.
At night, I almost always have a salad. I buy things that make the salad yummy, but require little prep work. Artichokes, feta cheese, hard boiled eggs, sundried tomatoes, red peppers in a jar, roasted beets, hearts of palm, pine nuts and olives. Then I use a fabulous low fat dressing. If I am still hungry, I will eat pita chips and hummus. (Pita chips are my huge weakness)
Other nights: a baked potato with vegetarian chili; a bean, cheese and avocado burrito; a spinach and cheese omelet; or a big bowl of soup. These all take under 10 minutes to prepare.
I cook dinner every day, but anything I make is done in half an hour, and really requires much less hands on time (probably 5-8 minutes). My formula is simple -- my meals consist of 3 things: a lean protein, 2 cups of veggies, and a starch.
I buy jarred prepared sauces that contain only natural, chemical-free ingredients. These include a favorite non-sugar tomato sauce or a curry simmer sauce, or salsa (for when I was making fajitas).
I toss the protein and veggies in the sauce, and cook it up. I cook the starch(boil some pasta or cook some rice). Voila! Dinner! Yum!
When I made fajitas, I'd just sautee the protein, add some frozen pepper and onion strips, then place it on a warm tortilla with some salsa. Yum!
BTW -- frozen veggies are the best thing ever. I consider them the secret of fast meals! I usually by a nice broccoli stir fry mix or some mixed peppers/onion mix. They're precut and just as nutrient full and healthy as fresh veggies. I wish I would have realized this a few years ago. They save sooo much time -- no cuttinng up, no worrying about wasting food or whether they're going bad in the fridge.
It can be challenging to cook every day, but you know what? If you plan ahead, and cook in batches when you have time, you can eat healthy meals that you prepare yourself.
If, however, you really don't have the time to cook, have you considered any kind of diet meal delivery service? The food quality may be one step up from frozen meals.
You can get some great things at a deli, too...take a whole rotisserie chicken, eat the breast meat for dinner one night over a salad of cut up veggies (buy them pre-cut, even, or cut them over the weekend and store in a ziptop baggie) and greens. You can then take the rest of the chicken and make a quick soup for the next day...shredded chicken, canned chicken broth, canned beans or diced tomatoes, whatever veggies you have on hand. Two meals, from one grocery store chicken, canned goods, and chopped veggies. Better yet, make things in batches and freeze extras, so you'll have a stockpile of meals standing by, waiting for a quick reheat.
Yeah, I'd highly recommend cooking easy stuff. My usual rule is - no more than 30 minutes, no more than 2 pots. Pasta sauce over pasta, stir fry over brown rice, quesadillas. I also love big batches that you can eat for days - or freeze half and have a couple nights ready to go in the freezer for those days you just don't feel like it.
SIX YEARS at maintenance weight!
You guys are awesome. I've been trying to cook all at once and then separate it into individual meals and freeze it. It just isn't the same out of the freezer though. I think I'm turning myself into a food snob.
I think frozen veggies are a lifesaver. We buy fresh also, but frozen are always there when needed. Canned beans are also a staple in our home. Take help from the grocery stores. I like to buy rotisserie turkey breast. I don't care for dark meat chicken, so if I buy rotisserie chicken the pup gets a nice meal the next day.
Bagged salads are fabulous. So many veggies and fruits can be purchased now that are already in bite sized pieces and ready to eat. I have noticed some deli's beginning to offer healthier choices. Last time I bought coleslaw they had one made with lowfat mayo.
I like to cook just enough extra to be able to have leftovers for lunch the next day. My own home cooked meals are always better than any frozen meal.
Dinner tonight was Trader Joe's turkey/chicken andouille sausage cut up in a skillet with an onion and frozen green/red/yellow peppers and black beans. I opened a bag of salad greens, added grape tomatoes and grated cheddar cheese. We used a mixture of light sour cream & salsa verde as our "dressing". It was a fajita inspired dinner salad. It took me about 10 minutes to prepare this.
Just one example of how quick cooking can be.
"Blessed is the person who has earned the love of an old dog." Sidney Jeanne Seward
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