As a health coach, people ask me all the time how I manage to set aside enough time to cook healthy meals every. single. day.
Well here’s my big secret: I don’t!
While I do love cooking and trying new recipes, I also lead a busy life full of other activities that I LOVE…but that don’t always leave hours to be spent in the kitchen each day.
That being said, eating healthy, wholesome, and home-cooked meals is something I am devoutly committed to, ot just because of the health benefits, but also because I view cooking at home to be a form of self-care and a way to nurture myself and my loved ones. I find cooking keeps me in touch with the food that I am eating and sitting down for meals helps to slow me down after a busy day and truly appreciate the wonderful life that I have.
So can you have it both ways? I say yes.
My solution? I usually spend about an hour 1-2 times a week doing food prep.
By planning ahead, it makes cooking meals a breeze and I have grab-and-go snacks/meals ready and available for when the time comes to eat a meal and I’m on the run.
By batching together similar tasks like chopping vegetables for multiple dishes, I end up saving loads of time and to helps me to avoid getting lazy about cooking later in the week.
Curious about what some of my favorite go-to make-ahead favorites are? Read on…
If you need to fill up quick, hardboiled eggs are a dream to have around. They are easy to grab for a quick protein snack OR you can cut them up on top of a bowl of a soup or on a salad. I always boil up at least an egg a day to have on hand during the week.
These can be cut into pieces and easily reheated for breakfast or lunch. Some of my clients make these in muffin tins for easy portion sizes. Toss some greens with olive oil and balsamic on the side and you have a delicious meal.
Try one of my favorite frittata recipes: Portobello Mushroom & Caper Frittata.
Measure out serving sizes of 12 nuts (almonds or walnuts) into ziploc bags and pair with a piece of fruit for easy on-the-go snacking.
Precut, wash, and bag so you can take them on the go. Bell Peppers, celery, cucumber, or cherry tomatoes are all great options. These can go in salads later or be used to dip in hummus.
Wash & Chop Vegetables
Broccoli, onions, chard, kale, lettuce can all be washed and chopped ahead of time, making them easy to steam or throw write in stir fries or soups. I get an organic vegetable box delivered to my house once every two weeks. As soon as I get the box, I take the time to wash and chop all the vegetables so they are ready to cook.
This is a fun breakfast option! Place 1/4 cup of raw oatmeal in a mason jar with your choice of milk, fruit, yogurt, flax or chia seed and let soak overnight. The oats will soak up the moisture and be ready to eat in the morning.
Try this recipe: Cinnamon Apple Overnight Oats
Quinoa or Brown Rice
Prepare a large serving of grain and portion out into half servings that can be used on salads or as side dishes for days to come. These can act as great basis of stir fries, complemented with your choice of protein.
My absolute favorite make-ahead grain recipe: Quinoa Tabbouleh.
Grilled Chicken or Salmon
I usually always cook an extra portion of protein when ever I cook for lunch or dinner this day.
Cook Once, Eat Twice!!!
This is my favorite rule that I almost always abide to when I am in the kitchen. Whenever I cook ANYTHING, I always make sure to cook an extra serving to have for the next days lunch or dinner.
These are just SOME of many, many more options – get creative and start working on your repertoire. I promise the forethought is worth the effort!
What are your make-ahead favorites? Share in the comments below!