One of the most common obstacles in the way of eating healthy meals, is not having the time to fuss over recipes in the kitchen. After a long day many people are starving and don't want to spend the extra hour chopping vegetables, and allowing the time for grains to cook. It's completely understandable, and while I cannot offer a suggestion quicker than fast food (really, who can compete with 30 seconds!) these tips are a compromise between eating gourmet every night, and eating junk food.
Tips For Preparing Meals When You're Busy
Make a Plan
On Sunday night, or whenever you get ten minutes or so, plan a work week meal plan Try to make something for dinner that will make good leftovers for lunch. Plan for more time spent on a meal when you get off work early, and a really quick dinner when you get home late. Planning is great for eating more healthy food, not having to hit up the food court, and fitness programs with specific goals.Make Food in Advance
Breakfast like Swiss Muesli, or the delicious lunch or dinner option, Lemony Lentil Soup (I like mine pureed!) are meals that can be made in advance and either frozen (soup) or refrigerated (oatmeal). I'm really big on this because I get home late. If it weren't for preparing meals in advance I'd be eating pizza every night!
Ask for Help
It's so simple but rare. If you have a teenager home before you, ask them to chop vegetables. If you know your husband/wife is passing by a grocery store on the way home, have him/her pick up ingredients. A combined family effort really makes a big difference. Preparing veggies always seems like 90% of the struggle. If you come home to everything ready to be stirred together in a pot, dinner can be on the table in 20 minutes. Who cares if the carrots look like they were chopped by a blind woodsman? They're ready to go, and that's what counts!
Use Frozen Vegetables and Canned Beans/Pulses.
Frozen veggies are (usually) just as nutritious as fresh. Sure, a frozen green bean won't look as fancy on the plate as a fresh one, but it's not important if you're not entertaining. Canned beans, legumes and pulses such as fava beans or chickpeas just need a rinse and they're ready to go. Again, you sacrifice some flavour but if the choices are between soaking chickpeas 24 hours or a drive-thru dinner, I'd say the canned food is the best choice.
A rice cooker, food processor, vegetable chopper, hand blender, pressure cooker, and crock pot are all kitchen appliances that make your job easier, and reduce cooking time. Consider investing in one or more of these appliances to aid your meal prep.
Do you have meal prep suggestions you would like to share? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'm always looking for new ideas!