Do you often say ‘I don’t have time to eat healthy?’ Let's be honest... a little tough love here... It’s more like ‘I won’t MAKE the time to eat healthy’ .. if you really WANT to do something, you will find a way. It’s true. You find time to do other things like watch TV or attend a sporting event or read a book or go to the mall.
I realize I am fortunate to work from home and I probably have more free time than someone with kids or a regular job but there are MANY people that do have full time jobs and families and go to school and all sorts of other things that manage to eat well and exercise.
You do what is necessary if you want to do it.
A couple hours of prep time during your free time is really all it takes to put habits into place that can keep you on track for the week. Making a weekly meal plan is a great first step. This way you know what you’re having so there is no last minute panic to pull something together. Plus, it makes shopping easier and you tend you use up ingredients if you make a plan. I sketch out a basic weekly plan on what I want to have and then each day I decide what I’m in the mood to make from my weekly list.
Where to find the time?
Place a TV where you can see it in your kitchen so you can do prep work while watching your fave TV shows.
Get the kids or hubby involved!
Get up an hour early on your days off to get a little prep work done. It really doesn’t take much time.
Crockpot! It’s an important tool to utilize. It can cook meals for you like a personal chef! You can come home, have dinner and then freeze the leftovers!
If you can afford it, buy some pre-prepped items like baby carrots, bagged lettuce, shredded carrots, jarred garlic, prepared hummus. Of course, it’s cheaper to do it yourself but decide what it’s worth to you to cut a few corners.
Use frozen veggies. They are just as good as fresh. Limit canned veggies tho. (except beans)
Buy canned beans if you can’t make the time to cook from dry. They cost more than dry but they are still pretty cheap!
Using a jumbo muffin pan is a great way to freeze individual servings of oatmeal and bean dishes. You just need the freezer space to allow it to freeze. I like to use Ball freezer jars or Gladware mini containers as well.
If you take a lunch each day it’s easier if you take the same stuff every few days to limit what you have to think about. Did you know Jennifer Aniston ate the same salad every single day for 10 years when she was working on Friends?
When you are making a meal, make extra and then you have instant leftovers that can be reheated later on or tossed into a lunch.
What to prep?
Make a bowl of brown (never white) rice that you can use for quick stir fry and bean dishes. A rice cooker is a great investment. I make rice twice a week.
Make a bowl of pasta (penne works great) and toss it with a little olive oil to keep it from sticking together. Then you just need to toss it with some hot marinara and sautéed veggies for a quick meal.
Make a pot of soup or chili at the beginning of the week and eat it all week long. You can even take it in your lunch.
Make a batch of steel cut oats in the crockpot and then portion it out into individual servings and freeze. You are about 2 minutes from hot oatmeal in the morning. It's really good with a diced banana and a little nut butter mixed in.
Make veggie burger patties and keep them in the fridge or freezer, then just cook one up when you want it.
Make a pot of rice and beans and freeze into individual servings. They can be eaten alone, with chips as a dip, or turned into tacos and burritos!
Chop up salad fixings so it’s easy to toss together a salad or a quesadilla.
Chop up veggies for stir fries ahead of time. (I always keep thin sliced mushrooms and chopped green onions in my fridge and then toss in a handful of frozen peas)
Mix up your own salad dressings. They are fresher, less fattening and won’t contain crappy ingredients. I make a couple kinds at the beginning of the week.
Make a couple healthy dips or spreads (like Mexican tofu dip, muhammara or hummus) and then you have a quick snack with carrots for dipping or to spread over crackers. You can also use them to make a veggie wrap.
Have a healthy dessert or cookie made up to snack on when you want something sweet. I like to have brown rice treats on the counter each week. Perhaps oatmeal cookies! I always keep fresh granola around too.
Keeping healthy habits.
The most important thing to remember is this - Don't buy junk and you can't eat junk.
The same goes for the hubby and the kids. Just stop buying crap and bringing it into your house. If you want to eat junk then you should have to make the effort to go and get the junk. Buy one serving so you can’t overeat it. Surround yourself with healthy foods and you will grow to love eating them. Like the old saying goes “if you aren’t hungry enough to eat a piece of fruit, you aren’t hungry”.
Only buy wholesome foods like whole wheat breads, whole grains (brown rice, quinoa, barley, whole oats), whole grain pasta, sweet potatoes, fresh veggies and fruits, beans and nuts.
Commit to trying to new things and ingredients or things you’ve disliked in the past. If you hated a certain veggie as a kid, buy it and try it again. Cook it in a different way. Almost every veggie is delicious roasted. You may discover that you love it! But whatever is in season and find something to do with it. It’s usually priced really well and the best time to eat it!
Buy healthy snacks like nuts, veggies, and fruits. Again, don’t bring crap into your house. Pack healthy snacks in your bag or desk drawer. Temptation is everywhere so don't ever allow yourself to be caught without a healthy choice.
Stay away from anything packaged and processed. It’s garbage and it’s full of sugar and crap. Eat whole foods.
Educate yourself on what is good and bad for you. Make the decision to take control of your own health. Strive to get off or stay off medicines by choosing the right foods!
Google for new recipes! There are millions of great blogs and websites that are literally a few clicks away on the internet. If you have kids, invite them to plan a meal once a week by looking for recipes they’d like to try.
Challenge your kids to try new things. Let them choose a veggie or fruit at the store and then come home and Google for a recipe to make with that ingredient. If you make veggies, fruit and whole foods a normal part of your lives, your kids will grow up eating them and they will actually like them.