There are lots of ways to make quick meals with an eye towards health. It’s all in the planning and preparation. Planning is key for me, because I know myself well enough to know that if there aren’t good ingredients around, I’ll be tempted to have popcorn and beer for dinner. For this reason, I make a concerted effort to shop for ingredients that lend themselves to fixing a healthy, tasty meal in less than 20 minutes. I also do a little prep work on Sundays so I can spend less time washing, chopping and roasting on the weeknights. Here are some of my favorite timesavers:
- Plan your food shopping trip with the Four Pillars of Healthy Eating in mind – don’t put anything in your cart that doesn’t fall under one of the pillars; whole food, plant-strong™, healthy fats, and nutrient dense.
- Pre-wash and cut salad vegetables at the start of your week and store them in airtight containers in the fridge. This way, you can throw a big salad together in minutes, day or night.
- Make a bowl of fresh salsa to top your rice and beans. It’s delicious, healthy, and so colorful. Pack the leftovers for lunch the next day; just remember to pack the salsa separately.
- Roast a few sweet potatoes on Sunday, then use them throughout the week in wraps, on salads, in soups, or steam sautéed with some greens and beans.
- Learn to make healthier salad dressings, and prepare one ahead of time so it's at the ready when you need it.
- Cook with freezing in mind. Make nutrient dense soups, stews and casseroles, and freeze leftovers as individual portions. You'll have quick lunches and dinners at your fingertips.
- Stock your pantry with dry beans and grains, low-sodium canned beans or our 365 frozen precooked grains. Rinse canned beans and add to soups and salads, or make a quick hummus or bean dip. Eating from cans isn't always a bad thing!
- Build your own trail mix snack with your favorite nuts and/or seeds, and unsweetened dried fruits. Create single serving portions for grab and go convenience.
- Keep plenty of frozen vegetables in the freezer. This is a quick and easy way to make sure you always have vegetables on-hand for meals, without worrying about spoilage in the veggie bin. Frozen fruits are great too, especially if you like a sweet treat like our Banana Nice Cream at the end of your meal.
- Learn to cook with whole grains. Many whole grains (like quinoa) cook up in 20 minutes or less!
Do you have some great timesaving tips for eating healthy? I’d love to hear them.