Everyone loves the idea of healthy eating, but putting your plan into action is easier said than done. Between working full time, taking care of your family, looking after an older adult, and other day to day activities, putting a healthy meal on your dinner table might be the last thing on your mind. The good news is that there are tons of ways to make simple meals that are fast and healthy. All it takes is a little planning and a few, simple cooking techniques.
Plan to fail or fail to plan
Surely you've heard this one before, but it's true. Having a plan is essential to taking control of your kitchen, even during the busiest of times. Setting aside 30 minutes a week to figure out what you're going to cook for the week can save you a bunch of headaches throughout the week. When planning your meals, figure out what main dishes you're going to prepare, which nights you're going to eat leftovers and which nights you're going to eat out. Try to cook at least three nights a week and eat out no more than once a week. Be sure to plan out what you're going to purchase at the grocery store, to help avoid extra trips during the week.
Make use of your freezer
On weekends, take advantage of your free time and cook up a storm in the kitchen! There are plenty of foods you can make in giant batches and freeze in smaller portions for later use.
Foods like meatballs and pasta salads hold up especially well. If you're feeling adventurous, try this savory herb and bean stew that's full of folate, vitamins, and fiber. You can even make this Malaysian chickpea curry that takes only 20 minutes! With meals like this, all you need to do is boil some water for whole-grain pasta or brown rice, add a salad of pre-washed greens, and you instantly have a healthy meal.
Have easy breakfast ingredients
Sometimes it seems like breakfast is a mad dash for the door. If you're trying to take care of your family in the morning and get ready for work, it can be difficult to balance all of your responsibilities.
It helps to have healthy items on hand that you can easily mix and match for tons of different breakfast ideas. Some healthy items include:
- Whole-grain cereals with less than nine grams of sugar per serving
- Instant oatmeal (buy the plain variety so you can control the sugar and calories)
- Fresh fruit like apples, bananas, oranges, and berries that are easy to eat on the go
- Low-fat, low-sugar dairy options like milk and Greek yogurt
- Raw nuts like almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, etc.
- Seeds like flax and chia that can be mixed into cereals or smoothies
- Free-range, organic eggs
- Sprouted grain, whole-grain, or gluten-free breads, bagels and English muffins
- Grass-fed butter and coconut oil for cooking and baking
With these foods, you can make dozens of different items for breakfast. Toss Greek yogurt, berries, and some chia seeds into a blender for a healthy smoothie that takes five minutes to make. Whole-grain cereal with a little cow's milk or almond milk, some chopped walnuts, and a sliced banana is a fiber-rich meal that will definitely keep you full all morning. If you like something more savory, eggs that have been cooked in coconut oil or grass-fed butter (yes, butter) is a fantastic way to burn fat and lose weight.
The key to making breakfast simple is to have lots of these items on hand so that you'll always look forward to the most important meal of the day!
Eating sensibly and healthily doesn't need to be an arduous task. Having an arsenal of recipes, ingredients, and simple cooking tips can determine whether your day is filled with wholesome, rich nutrition or fast food and take out. Empower yourself with the right tools to make healthy choices each and every day!