So you wanna eat healthy? Limited on time? Busy schedule? Lack of knowledge or really just not into cooking? Whether you are sitting at home all day or are constantly on the go, healthy eating takes some effort. I get that. You have to know what to eat, when to eat, how much to eat, have some basic cooking skills and a little time, right?
It was my junior year of college that I started to truly think about what I was putting in my body and how it affected my energy level, mood and training. I started to cook, research food, find recipes and honestly fell in love with the process. In the meantime I acquired some skills that made healthy eating easier. With a busy school and work schedule I had to be ready Sunday night with a plan and some preparation because every day was go,go,go. I realize that we are all busy and might not even really like cooking but if you want to eat healthy and feel good you have to be putting good things in.
With a five simple pain-free steps you can set yourself up for a week of healthy eats
1. Plan! This is hands down the most important part. Eating healthy is 100% harder if I go into the week with no plan for what I am going to be eating. I eat better and create tastier food if I am not flying by the seat of my pants every day. I start my planning by checking out what food I already have. Keeping in mind what I have I start to brainstorm what I want to make.
I go to my pinning boards and favorite bloggers for inspiration. I decide what I will eat for dinner as well as snacks and sweet treats to make for the week. Lunch is usually the same for me so I already know what I need for that. I make a list and head to the grocery store!
2. Prepare what you can in advance. Second most important step. Prepping in advance! I mastered this skill while in college and not to brag or anything but I am really good at it these days.While in school I did this on Sundays. You can pretty much prepare most parts of your meals in advance which will save you tons of time when it comes to busy weekdays.
Here are some things I do:
- I wash and chop up the vegetables I eat with lunch.
- Make homemade nut butter for my peanut butter sandwiches.
- Grill chicken breasts.
- Make a big batch of grains such as quinoa.
- Chop and roast veggies for whatever I need for that week.
- I sometimes make a huge fritatta, divide it into individual portions and bring to school or work for post workout/second breakfast. Fritatta’s keep really well in the fridge and taste great all week with a slice of toast!
- Lately I have been making a large batch of steel cut oats at the beginning of the week. I reheat it every morning with a splash of almond milk, tastes just as good on the fourth day as the first!
- For snacks I make a batch of hummus.
- Other ideas for snacks include: making your own trail mix, popping some popcorn, making granola.
- If I need a sauce made for enchiladas, pizza, pasta or a dressing for salads etc. I will make it in advance and use when needed.
A pre made fritatta keeps well in the fridge and is easily warmed up in the microwave. I eat mine on top of an english muffin and topped with hot sauce!
3. Make more than you need for one meal. You don’t have to love leftovers but you can make more than you need and learn to recreate. Cook once eat twice, or three, four, five times?! I NEVER make just one meal if I am taking the time to cook. When I have things planned out I know that if I am turning on the oven there are going to be multiple things going in that day.
I take advantage of my time in the kitchen by:
- Roasting all my vegetables for the week at once (they taste the same)!
- Chopping all my veggies, if I am getting out the cutting board and knives you better believe I am going to be chopping for a half an hour.
- Making a big batch of grains. Quinoa is so versatile and can be used as a side, in salads, soups, pancakes, breakfast “porridge”, cookies, granola, pretty much everything.
- Same goes with proteins. Why would you ever make one chicken breast? Make 2 or 3 and use it throughout the week in different dishes (salads, soups, enchiladas, burritos, pasta, pizza…. again everything).
Crockpot full of turkey meatballs. The crock pot is a great tool for busy weeknights. Prep in advance, throw stuff in the morning of and come home to a wonderful smelling home and dinner ready!
I don’t have time everyday to spend an hour+ in the kitchen but by preparing in advance, what might take an hour can be thrown together in 15 minutes.
4. Tupperware is your friend. Yes it really is. I love tupperware and own quite a bit of it. If you were to take a look into my fridge in the beginning of the week it would be filled with stacks of tupperware. After I cook my food in big batches I portion it out and put it in tupperware. This makes weekdays way easier! For lunches my vegetables are already ready to go.
5. Choose healthy convenience food to keep on hand for the those times when you really need it. Even I have days when I truly am in a pinch, have nothing prepared and need to eat within 10 minutes of walking in the door. This is when I turn to brands I love and trust like EVOL.EVOL has a line of frozen foods from breakfast burritos to mac n cheese. The great thing about their frozen meals and snacks is the ingredient list matches the same things you would throw into your healthy home cooked meals. Nothing weird! They basically do the food prep I do on the weekends but then they package it into something nice and easy for us to pick up at the grocery store. Not to mention the meals taste wonderful! I love the Butternut Squash Ravioli! Lets take a look at the ingredients in the Teriyaki Chicken:
Woah! This is all like normal stuff…. no preservatives, artificial junk or things I can’t pronounce! Plus they get their ingredients from the best sources. On their website you can take a look at the farms where they are getting their meat and eggs from, uh awesome! Non-GMO grains and vegetables is another piece you can feel good about. EVOL gets my stamp of approval for tasty, convenient food that is actually good for you.
Yes. Eating healthy takes SOME sort of effort. However, feeling better, smoother weekdays, more energy and good food are worth it. I challenge you to take a little time this weekend to plan for a week of healthy, tasty food. Prepare what you can, cook for more than one meal, love your tupperware and pick up some smart choices for those days when you know you will need them.
I will share some of my prepping and planning later this weekend!
What are some ways you make healthy eating during the week easier?