A lot of times the most difficult part about sticking to a healthy routine is simply finding the time to prepare proper meals. Many of us are constantly on the go. We have busy careers, hectic family schedules, and kids pulling us in every direction. Sometimes it can be tough to squeeze in a moment of rest, let alone cook a balanced meal. When things get hectic it can be more than tempting to pull into the nearest fast food restaurant, or reach for that family sized bag of chips. But don’t break out the Ben and Jerry’s just yet. Here are a few tips to help you stay on track even on the busiest days of the week.
- Break out the crock pot. Using a slow cooker reduces the cooking process down to a few easy steps. Some recipes might require a bit of light prep work, but many just require you to mix a few ingredients and hit the power button. A crock pot can be used for everything from ribs to dessert. Simply start the crock pot first thing in the morning and leave it to work its magic. By dinner time the house will be filled with the aroma of a five star restaurant and you will have a meal fit for a king. Bonus: many recipes yield large portions that leave plenty of leftovers for lunch the next day.
- Learn to meal prep. Preparing meals ahead of time can be a life saver. Simply prepare a variety of meals on your day off and freeze them for easy-to-reheat meals throughout the week. If this sounds too overwhelming, then try cooking larger portions of food on the nights when you do have time to cook and freeze the leftovers for a convenient option on busier days. If properly stored in freezer safe containers, food can stay good in the freezer for months. This can help you to stay on track even on your most hectic days.
- Wash, chop, and store your produce. Much like prepping whole meals, it is important to prep produce. When it comes to saving time, it is often easier to reach for the cookies than it is to wash and chop some veggies for a salad. That’s why it is always a good idea to take the time to wash, chop, and store your produce as soon as you get home from the store. This does not include all produce of course. Some things are better left whole until ready to eat, such as apples and avocados. But items such as carrots, grapes, berries, and greens can become convenient snacks if washed and stored properly. Greens can be washed, chopped, and stored in an airtight container with a paper towel to help absorb moisture. Berries and grapes can be portioned out for a great grab-and-go snack option. Carrots can be chopped and stored along with a low fat dip for a convenient alternative to chips or other unhealthy choices. Although it might take a little extra work at the time, you will find that washing, chopping, and storing your produce is one of the easiest ways to stay healthy throughout the week.
Busy days are inevitable. When things become hectic, eating healthy often becomes the furthest thing from our minds. Sometimes the best we can do is be prepared. With tips and tricks like these, staying on track just got a little easier.