Hey, all my busy friends out there! This post is for you! Whether you're working crazy long hours, taking on a huge course load this semester, or juggling lots of kiddos, it can be downright H A R D to prepare yourself a decent meal.
I feel you, sister. That's why today I'm sharing 5 tips for maximizing nutrition without sacrificing time. I know this is something everyone can appreciate, especially those of us who are extra short on time. Let's get started!
1. Add meal planning and grocery shopping to your weekly routine
Pencil in time to plan out your meals, create a grocery list, and take a trip to the grocery store just like you would pencil in yoga class or watching your favorite TV show. Click HERE to access my free Google doc template to help walk you through this process.
2. Purchase “convenience” whole foods for quick & nutritious meals
“Convenience” doesn’t always mean lacking in nutrition or full of “empty calories.” It is possible to find food that is nutritionally-dense AND also ready to serve in a matter of minutes. Usually, these foods are still in or close to their “whole” form. This means they are minimally processed with minimal added ingredients. Some examples include:
- Bagged salad greens and/or salad kits
- Canned beans
- Canned tuna and salmon
- Frozen produce
- Frozen, pre-cooked whole grains like brown rice and quinoa
These foods are great to have on hand when you need to whip up a meal that’s quick and nutritious.
(Discover the recipe for this Greek Grain bowl, healthy meal-prep inspiration, and other wellness resources by joining my Lunch Club!)
3. Prep your food as soon as you arrive home from the grocery store
When you get home starving from a long day at work or school, the last thing you probably want to do is wash, peel, and chop all your ingredients for dinner. And if you’re like me in the mornings, you’re usually running late and don’t have time to pack healthy snacks to power you through the day. This is where prepping your food comes into play! I prefer to do this immediately after I arrive home from the grocery store to prevent the “I’ll do it later” syndrome and also because all my ingredients are easily accessible.
Here are a few ways I like to prep my food:
Wash, chop, and peel your vegetables to use in future recipes. Here are a few examples to help you see what I mean:
- Slice onions and bell peppers for fajita night
- Chop potatoes for a stew or curry
- Trim green beans to sauté or steam as a side dish
Cook a big batch of slow-cooking dry goods like rice, quinoa, or lentils to use for future meals. When I prep my food after I get home from the grocery store, cooking a big batch or rice or lentils is the first step I take. I use the 20-30 minute cooking time to prepare other food...like snacks! Which brings me to my next tip...
Pre-portion your snacks for easy grab 'n go. Some of my favorite snacks to prep ahead are:
- Trail mix
- Carrots + cheese sticks
- Celery + peanut butter
Invest in appliances that do the work for you
One of the best things busy individuals can do for their diet is to purchase a crockpot or instant pot. These appliances are also perfect for those who lack confidence in their cooking skills. All you have to do is simply add the ingredients, set the temperature and the amount of time, and let the appliance do the work! Spend less time worrying about dinner and more time tackling your to-do list.
Add variety to meal prepped foods by making the same dish but with different variations
- Bake a large pizza that has been sectioned into different topping variations. For example, you could top half the pizza with pizza sauce, mushrooms, and bell peppers, and top the other half with pesto, olives, and tomatoes.
- Enjoy a different burrito bowl each day of the week by mixing and matching mixed greens, fajita veggies, salsa, cheese, guacamole, and jalapeños over a bed of rice and beans or ground meat.
- Bake a few potatoes and top with broccoli + cheddar for one day, then bacon bits and chives the next!
Which method do you see yourself using the most to maximize nutrition without sacrificing time? What other methods have you tried? Feel free to share them below in the comments!
Hungry for more?
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