Cooking from scratch is time-consuming
Imagine coming back late from work, hungry. You open the fridge and the cupboards only to realise there isn’t much to eat. A couple of tins, some old cheese and a few eggs. But you promised yourself you won’t end up having a take-away meal tonight, so you get yourself together and go to the nearest grocery store. You then wander around countless isles of food desperately trying to get some dinner inspirations. An hour later you’re back at home, hopefully not stuck in local traffic, and, although you’re now ready to cook, you’re absolutely starving and have lost the will to live. In the end you might, just this one last time, give up on your cook-from-scratch-and-be-healthy resolution and have a toast with peanut butter instead.
Trust me, we’ve all been there. It takes an absolute hero to get through this process alive and still manage to cook a meal, although it’s quite likely that in this scenario the dinner will be ready by 10 p.m. So I’ve put together eight tips on how to prepare healthy meals with less effort:
PLAN YOUR MEALS AHEAD:
Decide on one day a week when you will aim to do your shopping. Then spend some time planning your meals for the whole week – think about what your schedule looks like, where you will be, what time you will finish work etc. You don’t need to think about each and every meal, but try to at least plan your lunches and dinners. On a Saturday morning (or any other day that suits you) sit down with a cup of tea or coffee and create a simple meal planner that contains ideas for 3 soups, 4-5 dinner meals, breakfast essentials and typical snacks. Hang the menu on the fridge door or kitchen wall to stay on track.
WRITE SHOPPING LISTS:
You are then ready to write a shopping list, so once in the supermarket you will know what to purchase. This way your shopping escapade will be quick and easy.
DO YOUR SHOPPING ONCE A WEEK:
It is best to purchase long-term food products in the supermarket, but try to get the fresh produce form your local butchers, fishmonger and vegetable stalls. You may also wish to consider online shopping or box delivery schemes.
COOK IN BATCHES:
There is nothing wrong in having the same meal for lunch and dinner or to eat it for two days in a row. You can also portion and freeze some of your meals. Your meal plan should allow for using up all the food you buy to avoid wastage – e.g., use the leftovers in a vegetable soup, stew or smoothie.
COOK AND SHOP ONLY WHEN YOU’VE ALREADY EATEN:
You are more likely to buy food you don’t need when shopping hungry as your sense of smell is much stronger to help you source the so much needed fuel. When you start cooking in batches you soon realise that there are always some leftovers waiting for you in the fridge or freezer and you will no longer come home to ‘there is nothing to eat’. Sit down, eat a bowl of soup first and get on to cooking, which is, after all, another job to do today.
CLEAN AS YOU GO:
I love cooking but am not very fond of washing up and so I try really hard to clean as I go. Most recipes include a time when the dish doesn’t need much of your attention so use that time to wash a couple of pots and pans rather than pile it up in the sink. This way by the time your meal is ready your kitchen will look spotless and you will actually be able to relax.
INVEST IN HIGH QUALITY KNIVES, POTS, PANS AND OTHER KITCHEN UTENSILS:
Things get easier if you don’t have to fight with a tomato skin with a blunt knife or when you don’t need to scrap the omelette off the rusty pan. Honestly, you can cook Michelin-star meals with two sharp knives, large chopping board, a couple of non-stick pans and saucers with a lid and a hand blender. Oh, hang on. You might need a couple of beautiful plates and bowl to serve your delicious food.
EVERY NOW AND THEN BREAK THE RULE AND EAT OUT:
It is worth keeping in mind that we eat to live, but do not live to eat! Heathy eating is all about balance and so take some time off from cooking every now and then and enjoy other people doing the job for you!
Hungry for more? Download the first part of the Guide to Your Optimum Nutrition that’s available to you at the homepage. And lastly, when in doubt, call a nutritional therapist and ask for practical advice 🙂
Happy cooking folks!