WholeFamilyMD, Blog, Healthy Meals

How to Have Healthy Meals Even When You’re Busy

Let’s be honest, eating healthy takes a little more time and effort, but no one wants to spend hours on end shopping, prepping, and cooking every week. So what can you do? Two of the best ways to avoid being a slave to your kitchen are:

  • Batch cooking
  • Stocking your pantry with healthy, real foods

#1) Batch Cooking

The idea is to cook once, and eat several times. I typically do this on a Sunday after grocery shopping. I set aside about 2 hours to prep and cook proteins, grains, and veggies for the week so I can have healthy lunches and won’t have to cook dinner every night. Some ideas:

  • Season and bake several pounds of chicken, grill and slice a large skirt steak, or make a large pot of beans so you have proteins already cooked for your meals. Toss them into salads, make tacos, stir fry with veggies, or have a small portion for a snack.
  • Make a large batch of brown rice or quinoa or chop and roast sweet potatoes and squashes so you have whole food carbohydrates on hand.
  • Wash and chop leafy greens and crunchy veggies and store in glass containers so you can quickly make a salad for lunch, steam or sautee veggies for dinner, or have a quick veggie snack on hand.
  • Make a large soup or stew that will feed you throughout the week.

Batch cooking ensures you have all the components of the ideal meal plate prepped and ready to eat. Remember the ideal meal plate looks like this:

  • ¼ protein
  • ¼ starchy carb (whole grains or squash)
  • ½ leafy and crunchy veggies
  • Cook or dress with healthy fats like coconut & olive oil, butter, avocado, or nuts & seeds

#2) Stock your pantry with healthy, real foods

If you have healthy basics in your pantry you’ll be more likely to prepare a quick & healthy meal or snack rather than ordering take out. Some basics to keep on hand (remember to read the ingredient label):

  • Canned tuna, salmon, sardines
  • Dried or canned beans like lentils, black or kidney beans
  • Whole grains like quinoa and brown rice
  • Raw nuts and seeds like almonds, walnuts, pine nuts, flax, chia
  • Condiments like olive oil, balsamic vinegar, mustards, dry herbs & spices
  • Broth in a box

Click here for a complete Real Food Pantry Guide with recommended brands to ensure you’re stocking your pantry with good quality basics.

Take Action

Information without action is useless, so try this experiment:

  • Use the Real Food Pantry Guide to re-stock your pantry with healthy staples.
  • Pick a day and time in the next two weeks when you will try batch cooking.
  • Cook a large portion of a protein and a starchy carb or whole grain, also cut up several leafy & crunchy veggies so you have all components of the ideal meal plate on hand.
  • Notice how having food prepared & on hand made a difference in your life. Did you have more free time? Did you eat healthier? Did you save money on take-out? Did you find it hard?

No judgments; just get curious and notice what’s different.

If you need additional support with this or any other health goal, please schedule a consultation with Angela Ross, Nutrition & Wellness Coach so you can get the support you need to look and feel your absolute best. We are here to help!