I Don’t Have Time To Cook While Losing Weight
Time-Crunched But Determined To Lose Weight? Learn How To Slim Down
Preparing and cooking quick, healthy meals should be easy. While it might feel good to put a delicious dinner on the table night after night, it can also be a time-consuming process.
When life gets busy and you don't have time to cook, there are some great tricks up your sleeve to increase your chances of eating a healthy meal - after all, being busy and stressed is bad enough without feeling sick from too much takeaway.
Switching to fast food or frozen meals on days when you feel you have no energy left may feel like an easy solution, but you deserve better! We don't think you have to sacrifice your diet to save time and effort. Instead, here are eight practical cooking tips that will help you prepare healthy meals in no time!
#1. Make A Shopping List
Take some time one day every week to sit down and make a shopping list. Then visit the grocery store and purchase all of the ingredients for those recipes in advance.
Keeping a list and sticking to it saves time, money, and unhealthy food from "landing" in your shopping cart. Another very helpful tip - never go to the grocery store hungry!
#2. Shop Pre-chopped Veggies
I used to look at those bags of pre-chopped stir-fry vegetables and wonder who was buying this stuff. Busy people, that's who! Having the prep done for you makes it so much easier to throw something together on the fly.
You can even get pre-cooked zucchini (courgette) pasta these days, which is a total game changer - pair it with frozen meatballs and a jar of sauce for an easy meal.
Grab a couple of bags of your favourite stir-fry mix or pre-washed salad greens and you're basically halfway to dinner. Just add some protein, some crusty bread or pre-cooked rice on the side and you're ready to go.
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#3. Choose Frozen Veggies And/Or Fish
Time and time again, people choose frozen fruit and vegetables over fresh. The nutritional content is pretty much the same, but they come already chopped, diced and ready to eat. Buy frozen fish to keep in the freezer for those days when you just can't make it to the supermarket.
#4. Make Food Ahead
Try preparing food ahead of time. Overnight oats are all the rage these days because they're healthy, delicious and easy to grab in the morning. A great idea is to batch cook brown rice, quinoa, farro and other healthy grains to keep in the fridge for when the week gets busy. Use this chart for a quick guide to cooking grains.
We also recommend freezing our fruit and veg smoothie ingredients so they're ready to pop in the blender when you roll out of bed in the morning. Try hard-boiling eggs ahead of time for a great source of grab-and-go protein!
#5. Cook In Microwave
You invented the microwave for the fast-paced world we live in today. But that doesn't mean grabbing a ready meal and sticking it in the microwave is the best option.
You can still maintain the nutritional value of home cooking while using this appliance to speed up your meal preparation. We recommend steaming your vegetables in the microwave to save time.
Also consider microwaving individual portions. We also love making crisps in the microwave because it cuts down on the fat! You can also microwave your poultry to speed up the cooking time. The possibilities are endless...
#6. Double The Portions
The easiest way to eat at home when you're pressed for time is to double what you're making and freeze half of it. A stash of frozen meals means you can still serve a great meal on nights when you don't have time to defrost meat, babysit the stove or just don't feel like cooking.
It's the best way to cook in the freezer without spending a whole day in the kitchen. Double meals include casseroles, pizza dough, soups and baked goods.
And because it's just the two of us, we can usually make a full recipe and just freeze the half we don't eat. It's usually much easier to eat food that's been frozen at the peak of its freshness than to open a suspicious-looking container that's been sitting in the fridge for too long.
#7. Canned Foods
Carefully selected canned and jarred foods such as vegetable or chicken bouillon, sardines, wild Alaskan salmon, artichokes, roasted red peppers and others make it easy to throw together last-minute meals.
Always go for lower-sodium versions and read labels carefully to be sure that gluten, dairy, sugars, and other unwanted ingredients aren't inadvertently sneaking into your diet. If choosing canned food, opt for PBA free cans whenever possible.
#8. Get A Crockpot
Slow Cooker Meals
Start to cook slow-cooker meals. They usually make a ton, create a minimal mess, and the dishes usually keep and freeze super well.
We urge you to cook more slow cooker meals. They tend to make a lot of food, make a minimal mess and tend to keep and freeze really well. Most crockpot recipes require only a few ingredients that simmer all day and provide a scrumptious meal just in time for dinner.
But you can speed up the morning prep-work by gathering all the ingredients together the night before. Assemble in a bag and dump into your slow-cooker the next morning. Easy as walking in the park!
The Bottom Line
Most people are already pretty stretched when it comes to balancing work and home life, so preparing a healthy, time-consuming meal just isn't always a realistic option.
The good news is that you don't actually need a lot of time to eat relatively healthy. Just make sure you plan ahead and keep your kitchen stocked with some of the easy-to-prepare basics mentioned above.
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The 5 healthiest ways to cook:
- Pressure cooking.
Like any cooking method where fat drips away from food rather than being eaten, grilling can produce a lower fat and healthier meal. Food safety is an important part of all cooking methods. When grilling, judge whether meat is done by using a food thermometer.
Cooking from scratch means buying more basic ingredients. It means probably using more fruits and vegetables, and less pre-made sauces loaded with sugar and salt. Overall, yes, this is definitely healthier than the 99 percent frozen pizzas or fast food.
Since vegetables don't come in contact with cooking water during steaming, more vitamins are retained. Dry cooking methods such as grilling, roasting and stir-frying also retain a greater amount of nutrients than boiling. Contrary to popular belief, microwaving doesn't kill nutrients in vegetables.
Staying motivated can be tough, especially when you're busy. Here are a few tips:
- Set realistic goals. Don't try to lose too much weight too quickly. Aim to lose 1-2 pounds per week.
- Find a support system. Having friends or family members who are also trying to lose weight can help you stay motivated.
- Reward yourself for your accomplishments. When you reach a goal, give yourself a small reward. This will help you stay on track.
- Don't give up. Everyone has setbacks. Don't let one bad day derail your progress. Just pick yourself up and keep going.