Trying to eat healthy when you have been working all day and you are too tired to cook from scratch can result in “having something easy” which more than often means convenience food. Cooking fresh food is important because it is more nutritious and can be better for our health. I know how it feels to try and eat healthy but when you have spent hours commuting to and from work plus working hard all day. You are hungry and just want to shower, get changed and sit down and eat then it can be very tempting to order a takeaway or throw a ready meal in the microwave. Don’t get me wrong it is ok to do that sometimes but you need to make sure that the majority of your meals are healthy and nutritious.
Here are my own personal tips to making life easier in the long run and so you are eating from fresh.
- Get some food containers or save takeaway containers. The first step to being organised with your food is to make sure you have enough containers to store the food in either the fridge or freezer so when you have had a long day at work and you are tired and just want to eat you can grab a healthy prepared meal from the fridge and heat it up in a few minutes. I have a mixture of bought food containers and plastic takeaway containers that i have washed and stored ready to prep my meals. You can buy the containers from most homeware shops and supermarkets.
- Use freezer food bags. I like to purchase fresh vegetables as much as possible but i do find that sometimes i will get to the end of the week and i haven’t used all of the veg and then it sometimes needs to be thrown away. So what i do now is make time usually on a sunday morning to wash, peel and chop all of the veg and bag it up in portions in freezer bags and store in the fridge and freezer, This way nothing goes to waste because it can be frozen and it saves me time chopping veg so i can just open a bag and throw into the pan.
- Use herbs and spices. Food can become very boring and unappetising if there is no flavour to it so i always make sure that i stock up on lots of herbs and spices to add flavour to all of my food and you can find that you can recreate the food you enjoy from the restaurant at a fraction of the cost. I purchased a pack of miniature glass jars from amazon and filled them up with spices and herbs i had bought. They came with labels and i displayed them on a shelf. Which means they are easy to get to and look nice also. Lots of herbs and spices apparently have lots of benefits for your body so not only are you spicing up your food but you are also improving your health too. Look at adding a new herb or spice into your weekly shop each week
4. Keep staple food in the cupboards to make easy, healthy nutritional meals even when you are running low on other food items. The staple foods i always stock up on are: coconut milk & tinned tomatoes– you can make a great curry or a base for many sauces with these two staples. Cumin – great for curries, stews etc and has a nutty aromatic flavour and apparently has some great health benefits too. Chilli whether that is fresh or dried. Garlic, ginger and olive oil.
5. Batch cook. I know this might seem like you are defeating the object of not cooking for hours. But in order to have fresh healthy meals there is initially some planning and time involved. But if you try and bulk cook meals when you have the time, energy and motivation ( i like to do this on a sunday morning) then it saves you time in the week when you might not have the time or energy. Also i always make sure that i cook enough for each meal that i can have my evening meal and enough to take to work the following day for my lunch. This also saves wasting money on food in the canteen and being tempted to eat junk food. This can stored in the fridge for a few days or put into freezer.
6. Follow recipes. Sometimes we run out of ideas of what to cook or we get bored of our tried recipes so it’s great to have a selection of cookbooks that you can refer to if you fancy something different. If you don’t have recipe books then google ideas from your favourite chefs online. I like to use lots of joe wicks or jamie oliver recipes because they are quick, easy to do and tasty with lots of nutritional benefits
7. Plan your meals for the week. I do this particularly when i am trying to be strict with my gym training so i know that i am getting enough carbs or protein dependant on my gym habits. It also helps because i can then create my shopping list with what ingredients i need which means i don’t waste money on what i don’t need for that week and i’m not going to get home, start cooking and realise i don’t have all the necessary ingredients.
What are your tips for saving time when producing healthy meals?