Cooking healthy meals doesn’t have to be complicated, so we’ve compiled some tips to make your time in the kitchen as simple as possible. From picking the right ingredients to meal planning, there are so many ways that you can benefit your body through food. Eating healthy doesn’t mean that meal preparation has to be stressful.
If you are as busy as most people, you’re probably looking for ways to feed your family in convenient, fast, and affordable ways. Take a look at the following tips and consider incorporating them into your meal routine.
- Cook several meals for the week at once.
This tip may take a few hours of your time up front, but we promise that it will pay off in the long run. Coming home to already prepared meals is one of the best ways to encourage yourself to be healthy.
Try cooking a roast and using part of it as a main meal and then saving some for sandwiches, beef stroganoff, or as part of a stir-fry. Fry several pounds of hamburger and make a casserole, taco meat, or chili to freeze for use later in the week. Thinking strategically about your menu is one of the best ways to be sure that you’re using all of your ingredients to their fullest potential.
- After you return home from the grocery store, clean all the fruits and vegetables you can.
Many people don’t realize the importance of cleaning fruits and vegetables. Doing this step when you get home from the store means that when it’s time for a meal, all you will have to do is cook your ingredients or add them to a salad or soup. Taking time to complete small tasks will be worth it later and ensure that you have even more time for cooking healthy meals!
- Get ideas from cooking shows and videos.
We love watching cooking shows and videos on TV, YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok. They give fresh ideas and also show you how to prepare the dishes. If you feel intimidated by cooking, consider finding a show you enjoy and cooking along with it. If you need some inspiration to cook healthy, don’t be afraid to get creative and ask for help.
- Develop a revolving recipe file.
If you get bogged down or overwhelmed by the idea of having to plan 30 meals a month, the recipe file is the perfect solution for you. Let family members choose some of their favorite meals and put those recipes in a monthly file. Once you flip to day five or fifteen, there will always be a meal just waiting to be cooked.
- Enlist the help of your family members.
Cooking healthy meals shouldn’t be the responsibility of just one person. As soon as kids are old enough, divide up the cooking responsibilities. Let everyone take turns with specific tasks or preparing the whole meal. Pair these meals with fruit and veggies that have already been washed and cut-up. Cooking is an important skill, so get the whole family together and make some of your favorite dishes.
- Share the cooking with friends or neighbors!
I’ve known people who cook four or five of the same meals and then trade it with other people. This works best when people share the same basic ideas on what they like and don’t like. It’s a great idea for a very easy week of evening meals.
Consider texting your neighbors and asking if they’d like to participate. Once everyone has agreed to it, make a list of allergies and send it out to everyone. Making sure that everyone’s on the same page is the most important part of sharing cooking.
- Save coupons for convenience things at the grocery store.
Grocery stores have entire entrees and dinners that come either fresh or frozen. Although these choices can be pricey, they’re a great option for nights when everyone is running in different directions and time is of the essence. Keep your eye out for coupons on these dinner options and save some money while still eating healthy.
- It’s O.K. to eat out from time to time.
A healthy lifestyle is all about balance. While cooking at home is a great option for most nights, it can be fun to eat in a restaurant. Some fast-food restaurants are trying to offer item choices that are a little more healthy, so take a look at the menu online before you go.
- Many larger cities have businesses that prepare food.
You don’t have to be the one cooking healthy meals all of the time! These services may seem expensive at first, but are so convenient and available for one person or entire families. There are many menu choices and meals cooked for special diets. When you calculate the groceries you buy and the times you eat out each week, this may work for you. Take a look at the local options in your area and consider if this could save you time and money. If you can cut down on time you spend cooking, it can be used to get a workout in or do something else you love.
- Combine several of the above ideas into a plan that is best for you.
Finding balance and sustainability is an important component of living a healthy lifestyle. Finding a routine that works for your schedule will ensure that you can maintain it and that your goals are being met through your daily actions.
Cooking healthy doesn’t have to be overwhelming or take up your entire day. There are so many things you can do to make nourishing recipes more accessible. Stock up your fridge today or make your revolving recipe file!