I wanted to focus today’s post on time saving healthy eating tips by providing you with a few simple tips and suggestions to staying healthy week-to-week! One of the biggest misconceptions I frequently hear around healthy eating is that it’s too time consuming, so it’s often easier to choose something that’s convenient and quick. This is simply not true! While that may feel like the easier route to take, eating healthy can be MUCH easier than you think with little extra time commitment. The end result will leave you feeling better and healthier, and you’ll actually end up saving yourself more time and money throughout the week!
- My first tip is to take just a few minutes the day before the start of your week or before your grocery-shopping trip to plan a few meals in advance. This way you don’t find yourself at dinnertime during the week with no idea what to cook which may lead you opting for convenience instead. Just planning out a couple meals, even if you end up switching the night you eat the meal, will help ensure that you have the necessary ingredients on hand. For ideas and suggestions on healthy breakfast options, see my post on ‘Overnight Oats’ and ‘From Hectic to Healthy: How to Jump Start Your Day in a Healthy Way!”
- Take some time Sunday before the start of your week to prep your food in advance. You don’t have to prep for the whole week, and you don’t even have to prep each meal individually. Preparing enough for two to three days is plenty to help decrease mealtime stress!
- Cook extra quantities of meats/protein sources like chicken, fish, turkey, pork, or whatever other protein sources you enjoy that can be used in healthy meals throughout the week. Many of these meats are versatile, such that they can be incorporated into a variety of different dishes, so you’re never tired of the same meals!
- Hardboiled eggs are another great protein source to prepare ahead of time that can be eaten as snacks, on top of salads, with breakfasts, or made into egg salad!
- Cooking extra portions of baked potatoes, squashes like spaghetti & butternut, pasta, rice, or other whole-grains you enjoy will allow you to create quick, healthy meal options on busy nights.
- A colorful diet of fruits and vegetables will help ensure you’re eating a variety of nutrients. Simply spend a few minutes before the start of the week to chop up fresh vegetables like carrots, celery, or cucumbers to have on hand and store in your refrigerator for both meals and snacks! Frozen bags of vegetables like sliced peppers and green beans are great for meal prep as well, because it will save you the time of cutting and chopping, and, ultimately, money in the long run!
- If you want to make it even easier on yourself, and you have a crock pot, you can take a few minutes in the morning to have your meal all ready to go by the time dinner rolls around! There are TONS of simple, healthy crock pot/slow cooker recipes (See PTF’s Pinterest page for ideas 🙂 ) that you can follow to ensure a healthy, delicious meal for you and your family with little effort!
- In line with my meal prep tip, the crockpot can even be used to cook a large batch of your favorite protein source like chicken before the week begins in which you can use in a variety of different meals throughout the week! I’ve even made a big batch of oatmeal in the crockpot at the beginning of the week to have ready for early morning breakfasts. A simple oatmeal recipe can go a long way when you get creative with healthy toppings and add-ins like sliced banana, nut butter, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and almonds. Changing up the flavors and add-ins each day will keep a variety of nutrients in your diet and decrease boredom surrounding your meal!
- Depending on the size of your family, you can even take it a step further and freeze some of what you prep for future meals later in the week or for the following week. For example, you can make up a simple chicken and veggie pasta dish with your prepped chicken and pasta. Simply add some veggies, spices, tomato sauce, olive oil, and sprinkle with shredded Parmesan cheese and freeze for a future meal! Other ideas include turkey chili or meatballs, hearty soups, chicken and veggie stews, baked ziti with added veggies, or casserole dishes!
- Your prepped food can be used in a variety of healthy, simple meals such as in stir-fry’s, quesadillas, sandwiches, wraps, stuffed peppers, on top of salads, or in tacos to name a few! By having the necessary ingredients already prepped and on hand, you can eliminate the guess-work and rest assure that you will have yourself a healthy, delicious meal after a long day at work!