I find that my life is constantly busy, and every time I think things will calm down they only get busier. I have two little girls and it’s challenging to find the time to cook. However, providing my family with wholesome, healthy meals is a top priority of mine, so I make sure to find the time to make home-cooked meals for my family. As busy as I am I provide my family with REAL food (not processed, garbage food) for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It’s not always easy, but it’s so worth it to me. That being said, I have had to find solutions to help me stay efficient with this process. If I wasn’t efficient it would be much more difficult. I also want to say that if you’re not home during the day and don’t have any extra time to cook there are SO many great meal delivery services that I could recommend – just message me and ask! I am in the situation that I am home during the day and have the capability to cook my meals, but I know many of you are at an office all day. However, I’m going to dedicate today’s post to how you can be efficient if you DO want to cook. 🙂
The best piece of advice I have to offer is to plan ahead. When I plan meals ahead of time it saves SO much time with both grocery shopping and cooking. I recently discovered the site Healthy Meal Plans and it’s a great way to plan my meals out ahead of time. It really streamlines my grocery shopping process because once I add my meals into the calendar (with the ingredients) I can quickly get a grocery list right there. This also saves an immense amount of time of standing in my kitchen pondering what to make. This way I go into each day knowing what I need to make and a plan in mind. I know I have the groceries and I’m ready to go. I find with kids it’s especially important to be prepared because when they’re hungry they need to eat right away or it’s NOT a fun time to be in my house haha. Being prepared is SO key!! Also, if you do work in an office all day and do want to cook dinner when you get home – having a recipe that you know you’re going to make ahead of time really helps.
My body naturally craves warm comfort food for dinner (when I say comfort food I still make meals with clean, wholesome ingredients). Comfort food to me equates to something like a sweet potato stuffed with grass-fed ground beef and avocado. Anyway, I do know that for dinner I always like something hot, so it makes planning dinners out ahead of time very easy since that’s predictable. Dinner is always the most challenging meal of the day to prepare, so knowing what I’m going to make ahead of time (and having the ingredients already at my house) is key. I can’t decide I’m hungry at 6pm and not have a recipe in mind yet, or worse not have ingredients to make something. That’s a recipe for disaster.
I’m able to add my own recipes/meals into Healthy Meal Plans, or they have an incredible selection of recipes to browse from and even break it down into categories such as ‘gluten-free’ or ‘dairy-free’. The recipes are simple, accessible and available for many different dietary preferences. The nutritional details are also available for each recipe. You can search recipes based on dietary preference, ingredient and meal type. I added some of their gluten-free recipes to my meal plan like the slow cooker chicken tinga and the pan seared halibut with lemon caper sauce as well as added most of my own recipes since I’m a creature of habit.
On Healthy Meal Plans I was able to choose from so many great recipes and decide what I was going to make for the week ahead of time. When I found a recipe I loved I simply clicked the + button to add it to my meal plan for the week. Once I had my week planned out I clicked ‘create grocery list’ and was ready to head to the grocery store. Often times I would double or triple a recipe so I could have the same thing 2 or 3 nights in a row, which meant only one night of cooking and cleaning! That’s my other useful tip – is to make a big batch of something you know you love and enjoy it for a few nights (or have leftovers for lunch) to save time on cooking another meal the next day.
Healthy Meal Plans is FREE, but you can also choose to upgrade to dietitian-prepared meals plans for an additional cost. If you want to try out this type of Healthy Meals Plans they’re offering a discount of 25% off right now!
My other tip for being efficient in the kitchen to help stay on track with being healthy is to shop for your groceries online if you’re too busy to get to the store. I go to Whole Foods on Sunday for a HUGE shop (and genuinely love going), but other than that it’s so easy to get my groceries delivered when I need a few more things throughout the week. It’s not always easy for me to grocery shop with my kids, so shopping for my groceries online is a great option! It also saves SO much time of having to run out to the store. There are so many great online grocery delivery options nowadays. I use Prime Now for Whole Foods and have also heard good things about InstaCart. I also don’t mind taking the kids when there’s just a few things I need, but to do a huge shop with them is tough. Trust me, I LOVE browsing the aisles of Whole Foods when I’m alone – I actually find it to be a fun activity, but it’s not often I’m alone these days.
When I get home from the grocery store (or once my groceries are delivered) I try to immediately prep as much as I can. For example, this means washing all the fruit and veggies. This way when I’m ready to cook that little step is already done.
I hope these tips for being more efficient in the kitchen are helpful. Making healthy and nutritious meals is so important to me, so I know it’s more likely to happen if I’m prepared and organized. I would love if you share your tips on how you’re efficient when it comes to groceries and cooking! Let me know if you start to use Healthy Meal Plans to help stay organized and find great recipes!