If there is one thing I could use more of in the day, it’s time. Between working full time, exercising, cleaning my home and keeping up with the activities of daily life, I often don’t get time to eat . Well, no more!
Proper nutrition isn’t just about what you eat, but also making sure you eat! And with our jam-packed schedules, food often gets squeezed out.
Avoid this conundrum by first planning ahead. For starters, go to the grocery store with a game plan. Decide what your meals are going to be before you get in there. This will save you time and ensure you don’t forget anything.
Next, invest in shelf stable products such as peanut butter (or other nut butters), nuts, whole wheat/whole grain products and all-natural dried fruit. These stand-by foods can last at room temperature and be easily transported. You can quickly throw them together to make a home-made trail mix or a delicious peanut butter sandwich for breakfast or lunch.
Plain, unsalted nuts are a fast, easy grab-and-go item and can be enjoyed with some of your favorites, such as nonfat Greek yogurt or tossed over cereal. For a mid-morning craving, try a serving of almonds to help hold you over until lunch. Another quick, yet great snack idea: Hummus and whole grain crackers. I recently came across hummus that did not need refrigeration. This convenient snack can provide protein and whole grains to keep you feeling full.
One of my other favorite tips for saving time in the kitchen: “cook once, eat twice.” Make something versatile and reusable! Grilled chicken breasts can be enjoyed in a variety of dishes. Cook up some extra pasta or quinoa to enjoy hot or cold. Make extra veggies that can be enjoyed as a cold salad, hot side dish or delicious sandwich topper.
Let’s not forget fast-ready options. I am a big fan of breakfast sandwiches (homemade, of course). My easiest recipe? Two slices of 100% whole-wheat toast (or a sandwich thin) with egg whites and low-fat cheese. While your toast is, um, toasting. add the egg whites and low-fat cheese to a microwave safe container. Place in the microwave until cooked, stirring at least once. When your toast is done merely add the egg white/cheese combo and enjoy!
While we can’t plan for everything, making some decisions ahead of time can make it easier to find time for healthy meals. Cooking up extras of your favorite foods will help you save cooking time for later meals as well as give you the opportunity to enjoy more of the foods you like.
Be smart with quick grab and go items; make sure they fit into your healthy meal plan and that you practice portion control.
Remember, just a few minutes can go a long way. Give yourself a little bit of extra time at night to make a sandwich for lunch the next day or wake up ten minutes earlier to give yourself time for breakfast. Your body will thank you!
Until next time,