I often hear my friends and family members say that they don’t have enough time to eat healthy, or that they eat out everyday because they can’t find the time to make their own meals. Well, fear not, Patricia is coming to the rescue! I have some tips for all of you that think (yes, think!) that they have no time in their day to prepare delicious & healthy meals. We are bringing the term “fast food” to another level!
Don’t be that person that goes to McDonalds everyday to get the “salad”, or the person that packs a lunch that only contains plain rice with some drained chickpeas, because that’s how I lived for about a year, and I can tell you sincerely that you are doing more harm than good (to your wallet and to your body). Your body is your vessel, and you have to take care of it! It should be your most valuable “possession” and you should take care of it as such. For all you busy bees out there, I have some tips for you. It’s easier than you think!
1. Get familiar with 3-5 recipes and know them like the back of your hand
When a dish is familiar to you, you will cook it faster. I always spend double the time in the kitchen when I am preparing a recipe that I’ve never seen before―you have to read and re-read the instructions, double check the amount needed for every ingredient, do everything step by step, etc. But when you know a recipe well, nothing will stop your flow. Get to know some recipes and fall back on them if you’re ever in a rush. We don’t always have time to spend an hour in the kitchen, so by knowing how to cook 3-5 meals quickly, you will save some serious time. Take some time on the weekend and research (I will link some of my favourites at the bottom of the post). It sounds silly, but I also try to read the recipe I want to make either the night before or the morning of, just so I can get a vague idea of the steps I need to take. This will quicken the cooking process too.
2. Meal-Prep (not what you think)
I am not a fan of preparing the same meals for 7 days straight, so that is not what I mean when I say to meal prep. Every Sunday, I try to make a rough plan of all the recipes I want to make for the following week and try to see what I can do in advance. Usually, I can chop up all the vegetables needed for most of my recipes (except tomatoes, avocados, or anything that gets mushy or brown after cutting). Cutting vegetables is one of the most annoying things when you are cooking in a rush―nobody has time to perfectly mince garlic on a weekday…So a tip is to prepare all the “annoying” tasks in advance. For example, chop all the veggies you will need for that week and store them in containers, make your rice/quinoa in advance, measure out your snacks, etc. You will save so much time during the week. By preparing your meals in advance, you will also know what you are eating in advance, so you can target the grocery store and shop more efficiently and effectively. No more wasting money on the head of lettuce that never got used! Another reason why this is a good idea is that it will keep you on track―if you know what you’re eating in advance, there will be less stress based around food and you will be less likely to spend on fast food and you will be able to make healthier choices.
3. Get Pre-Cut Vegetables (including pre-minced garlic)
This is pretty self-explanitory. I am a big fan of grated carrots, pre-minced garlic, chopped cabbage, and any other vegetable that you can get pre-cut. This helps save a lot of time. Have you ever tried shredding cabbage? It’s a mess!
4. Get a Rice Cooker
The rice cooker is the single best invention of the 20th century (don’t quote me on that). Not only can you make any type of rice/quinoa that you like, you can also cook up some delicious recipes in there (even cake). It requires minimal effort on your part and it is ready in no time. I will link some recipe ideas below!
5. Get a Smart Chopper or a Food Processor
As you can probably tell already, I have a great disdain for chopping veggies (especially garlic and onion). To make your life easier, get a smart chopper (or a food processor) and everything will be cut nice and easy. I use the Power Chef Premium System from Tupperware.
6. Set your priorities straight
My boyfriend always says “si tu veux, tu peux“, a french saying that essentially means that if you really want something, you can/will get it! If you really value your health and want to start making healthier choices, you will be able to. It’s so easy to be lazy about it and order food or cook fast and processed junk, but by taking just some extra time from your day, you can create a balanced meal with real whole foods. I’m not saying to only eat healthy 100% of the time… I personally love eating out, snacking, or trying out new vegan fast food options―but balance must come with it all (the famous 80/20 principle). Know that you are doing it for yourself and your own well-being, put a little effort into it and eventually, it will become easy!
The 80-20 principle for healthy eating is one of the easiest ways to reach and maintain a lean body. The simple plan requires that you eat a clean diet 80% of the time and then allow for a few more “fun foods” 20% of the time. The plan allows you to enjoy indulgences on regular basis without feeling the kind of guilt that people often feel when they “cheat” on a strict food plan. For many people, this is the most balanced approach to a healthy diet and a healthy lifestyle.
Hopefully these tips will help you make healthier choices in the future and will push you to incorporate more whole foods into your diet! Eating healthy can be fun, and if you lack inspiration, you can always visit my blog for new quick & easy recipe ideas.
My favourite youtube videos for quick recipes: