Time is a precious commodity. We are all trying to fit many activities into a day to accommodate our needs, but also the needs of our boss, family, friends, and community. At the top of the list of priorities though, should be you and your family, and your families health. Health starts with the food you eat. We all know the difference we feel after eating a greasy, fast-food slice of pepperoni pizza vs. a homemade stew full of root vegetables and slow cooked meat. The slow-cooked stew made by the hands of someone special is warming and inviting, but also satisfies with a feeling of comfort. The pizza fills you up with feelings of bloat and a sluggishness that sticks around all day. Nutrients aside, these meals, just by feeling alone, are at opposite ends of the food spectrum. So, how do we ensure the health of ourselves and the health of our families with limited time everyday? Here are a few tips.
When you cook, always make enough for leftovers.
Grill extra chicken for salad or steak for fajitas. Make a large pot of chili or soup, eat leftovers the next day, and freeze the remainder for consumption in a couple of weeks. Roasted vegetables are excellent added to a leafy green salad or scrambled into eggs.
Use the salad bar at the local grocery store.
Stock up on pre-cooked chicken or salmon, pre-cut vegetables and fruit.
Utilize frozen vegetables.
These come already cut, so prep-time is cut in half. They are best prepared steamed or cooked into a soup or stew.
Prep vegetables and fruit on the weekend when you have more time.
Place veggies in open bowls on the first shelf in the fridge. This way they are the first thing you grab (or move out of the way) when you open the fridge. If you eat on the run, pack veggies into single serving-size containers so that they are easy to grab and go. Dip into guacamole or hummus.
Set your kitchen up for success.
If your kitchen is not organized, it can be a real chore to find the right pan or a garlic press. Take a weekend afternoon and re-organize your kitchen. Arrange it in a way that allows for easy cooking of meals in the evening after a long day. Place a cutting board next to the stove top so that you can cook and chop at the same time. Make utensils easy to grab: store in a large jar on the counter top or in a drawer near the stove. Knives go next to the cutting board. Pans should be stacked neatly or separated using handy shelf organizers, so they are easy to access. If you are re-designing your kitchen, set it up in a triangle with the sink and prep-area, stove, and refrigerator just a shuffle apart.