Time Saving Tips: Making Healthy Meals Easy
January 13th, 2020
A common complaint when it comes to eating healthy is that it takes too much time. While it may be tempting to stop at the drive-through on the way home from work, the convenience of a burger is traded for all the nutrients that our bodies need. These time-saving techniques are simple ways you can score easy wins with healthy eating, without having to spend a lot of time in the kitchen.
Map out your meals
It may seem counterintuitive. Spend extra time planning what I’m going to eat? But mapping out your weekly meals can increase the efficiency of your grocery shopping and ensure you are eating nutritious foods. Plus, once you’ve planned a few week’s meals you can easily refer to past recipes for on-the-spot ideas.
When chopping up veggies for a meal, chop more than you need. Take extras and place them in a reusable container. Then next time you need that ingredient, you can skip a step. Freeze leftover soups, sauces, or gravies in small reusable containers and heat them up whenever needed.
In a similar vein, try doubling the size of your next casserole and put half in the freezer. Try and prepare enough of your meal to eat multiple times a week. This works great with things like salads and soups. Not only does eating leftovers save time, it can also help your wallet as you buy ingredients in bulk.
Keep frequently used items close at hand. Things like cooking oils, spatulas, cutting boards and spices should all be nearby so you don’t have to go looking for them. Similarly, clear your cooking space of clutter and junk. This allows more room for prep space, and it creates a less stressful environment that encourages you to cook.
Leave it to the pros
Subscribe to cooking blogs. Many of the major newspapers send out weekly easy-to-cook recipes you can sign up to receive. Alternatively, leave the meal planning to the experts. USDA’s MyPlate has recipes for all types of meals that you can filter by course, food groups, cooking items needed, and more.
Keep it clean
Arguably one of the most time-consuming parts of cooking, cleaning time can be reduced by filling up the sink with soapy water and tossing dishes in as you go. Not only will greasy pots get time to soak while you cook, keeping a clean cooking space keeps things organized and ensures you don’t miss any important steps. Also, if you cook large meals and save the leftovers, that means you get many meals and only have to clean once.
Cooking and eating healthy foods is a lifestyle choice that is born of good habits. While it may seem like a lot of work at first, setting yourself up for success and utilizing some of the tips above can take a lot of the work out of it. If you don’t normally cook at home, start small. Maybe aim to cook one meal a week and go from there. Before you know it, it’ll be as easy as ordering a pizza!