Let’s face it; eating healthy can take a lot of time and effort. Even if you live by yourself and don’t have much external responsibility, it can still be a real struggle to find the time to prepare healthy, sustainable meals for the week adequately. So, imagine the time constraints if you have a family to provide for, all the while trying to manage and improve your eating habits. It’s near impossible sometimes. Thankfully, there are many great ways you can speed up the process of meal preparation and simplify your cooking processes, thereby ensuring you have access to nutritious, healthy meals daily. If you’re currently struggling with your eating habits and you feel like you don’t have time to improve your meal preparation, check out the following tips.
Have pre-prepared meals delivered
While this is a slightly more expensive option, if you can afford to have meals delivered to your home, it is certainly something you should consider. You won’t have to give up the foods you love either since you can easily stick with great meals like burgers, pasta, rice dishes and curries. For all the cheese lovers out there, you can even opt for this pan-fried haloumi cheese dish, which takes only 35 minutes to prepare, yet allows you to get your cheese fix.
Long gone are the days when healthy, pre-prepared meals plans were basic, poorly assembled and not filling. These days, you can get in touch with some fantastic delivery providers that offer high-class, nutritious recipes at affordable rates.
Assemble but don’t cook
Sometimes the hardest part isn’t the cooking – it’s getting everything together, ready to be assembled. To help with this, make sure you have heaps of freezer packs, which you can easily use to store food that can be used for later meals. As a tip, if you have leftover chicken in the fridge, consider breaking it down into different portions and freezing them for later use. You can even marinate them when you know how you want to use them. For all the busy mothers who cook for their families, this saves you the effort of having to head to the store and purchase the necessary ingredients.
Cook large portions
Another great way to minimise your time spent on meal preparation is to cook large portions when you do have time to cook. By cooking large portions or extras, you’ll have enough leftovers that can be used for meals later in the week. It’s perfect if you hate having to buy lunch when at work and it’s also a great way to save money (since we all know that work lunches can be rather expensive).
Smoothies can be filling
Preparing breakfast is probably one of the hardest meals to adequately prepare for. Those early morning wake-up calls can make it hard to be functional and efficient right from the outset. A lot of people tend to skip breakfast entirely. However, it’s undoubtedly essential that you have at least something in the morning (and no, coffee doesn’t count). Smoothies are always a great option.
If you have all the ingredients there in your fridge, like milk, fruit, yoghurt, nuts and vegetables, then it’s just a matter of blending it all together. It’s an excellent way to get your fruit/veggie intake while stimulating your energy levels and saving you time in the morning. Buy yourself a portable smoothie cup so you can drink it on the way to work or while dropping the kids off at school.
Invest in a slow cooker
One of the best kitchen appliances you can buy if you continually lack time to cook is a slow cooker. Imagine coming home from a long day at work and smelling a freshly cooked meal, just waiting to be served. A slow cooker makes this possible. All you need to do is place whatever meat you’re cooking (e.g. chuck steak), vegetables, potatoes and whatever else you’re including and drizzle it all with your chosen flavoured stock. Simple as that!
Sub out fast food for supermarket feeds
Instead of hitting up KFC, McDonald’s or your local kebab shop when you’re too tired to cook, swing by your local supermarket instead. You can easily pick up a roast chicken, some dinner rolls and a few side salads. Not only will this be a relatively cheap meal, but it takes no preparation time at all. Cut up the chicken, serve the salads you purchased and butter a few dinner rolls. You can easily skip the dinner rolls if you’re cutting out bread or make yourself some chicken rolls/sandwiches if you want to use it.
When it comes to developing better eating habits, it’s often about being smart with your time and being a bit creative beyond the traditional idea of mealtimes.
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