I’ve been getting a lot of requests lately for quick, easy, healthy food to make, and I’ve kind of been avoiding the topic.
The truth is, when it comes to writing out a montage of recipes and coming up with food ideas, as soon as I hear the words, my brain freezes up. The gears come to a lurching halt, and a loud screeching noise emanates out.
I don’t know what it is about recipes that I can’t handle. I use them from time to time, but I mostly just move intuitively through the kitchen and throw things together as I go along. Whatever’s in the fridge, a meal emerges. It changes all the time, and I can’t remember meals that I used to eat beyond last week.
Plus, I’m not a detail oriented person. The idea of trying to shove my flowing kitchenness into a little box … with all the measurements, and .. ugh… details…… oh dear.
I mean, I can do it. If I have to. I did it for my ebook Ultimate Secrets to Acne Freedom, as well as my candida program, 7 Day Candida Cleanse Challenge – but you don’t want to know how long those sections took me to write. They caught me up so bad with procrastination that it took me 3 times as long as the rest of the books to write them!!!
But, this sucks. Because I know you want them. I know you want to eat healthy, and you want to do it quickly. But I can’t quite tell if it’s the actual food ideas that you want, or if you just want to save time because you’re all very busy folks. Well, it’s probably both but since I’m still trying to be in denial about the whole recipes thing, I’ve decided to come up with a snappy post about the top 7 ways you can save time in the kitchen!!
Wahoo!! Say it with me! Wa – hoooo!!! 😀
So without further adieu, top ten ways to save time while eating a real foods diet:
1. Get a Chest Freezer
Obviously this is not an option for everyone – you need the space, and isn’t entirely ideal if you live somewhere temporary – but we got one this year and it totally rocks. You can get one for cheap or even free on something like Craigslist. Ours cost $80.
The advantage is that has allowed us to buy ethically raised meat in bulk, and freeze all the fresh produce that has grown this summer. And not to mention, it’s now bursting with free blackberries that grow all over the place here every August, and I was able to pick and freeze lots of them. It’s really convenient for my green smoothies.
As a result, I save time shopping, and I can just pull things out of the freezer as I need them. It saves a lot of precious brain power too. I hate thinking about what to buy and how much it costs. If it’s just sitting there in the freezer, I don’t have to think about that. And you can use it for the next tip:
2. Cook in Bulk
The concept here is that you spend a day every once in a while cooking a lot of food. And then you portion it out and freeze it in meal sized portions. Then you can just pull out ready made meals whenever you want. Saves you time and it saves you temptation to eat unhealthy things when you don’t know what to eat.
Yes, initially it does take a fair bit of time to cook during the big cooking session, as there will be lots of chopping, stirring, and watching. But over the long run, it really does save a significant amount of time.
3. Make Huge Meals and Eat Leftovers
If you don’t have much of a freezer, you can still cook in bulk – just every time you make a meal, cook a lot of it! This results in fast food that you can over the next few days without having to prepare a thing.
4. Spend Less Time Shopping
Find out if there is an organic food delivery service in your area. If there is, get them to deliver you fresh, healthy food! They are pretty common these days, and most seem to have items other than produce that they can deliver as well. So even if that means eliminating one trip to the grocery store, or that extra side trip you have to take every once in a while to the organic health food store – well hey. Life is sweet.
You could also try buying food in bulk, if you have the room to store it. It’s great to have the staples on hand, so you run out less often, you aren’t running to the store more times than you need to.
5. Get a Slow Cooker. Use it.
Slow cookers are rad. Just chop up a few things in the morning, throw it in the pot. Turn it on, and voila. When you get home at the end of the day, you have a delicious meal waiting for you. You could potentially even do this in a dorm room (maybe.. lol. I don’t know the rules).
6. Get a Food Processor. Use it.
You can get food processors cheap at thrift stores like Value Village. If you have a lot of chopping to do, it saves TONS of time. Plus, I love to use my food processor to make homemade hummus – which, hey! There’s an easy and quick food idea. Have homemade hummus on hand, and eat it with raw vegetables, and maybe some rice crackers. Yum.
7. Get Creative With What You Already Have
The trick to intuitive, fast cooking is that you learn how to be creative with what you have, and plan for creativeness. This means that if you cooked chicken last night, you should have taken the foresight to cook an extra piece – then the next day, you can chop up that chicken and have a chicken salad! Brilliant! And easy.
If you cooked a bunch of beans, and now they’re sitting in your fridge, you can think – what should I do with beans? Well I could cook some rice… I also have some cabbage… and tomatoes.. and avocado. Well, let’s throw together a quick Mexican meal and call it a day.
Figure out which foods you generally like to eat, keep them stocked, cook specific things every once in a while so that they are pre prepared (say, a big batch of beans, or a thing of rice), and figure out creative ways to combine the available things in the fridge and cupboard – it saves a heck of a lot of time (and money on wasted food) when you don’t have to follow an exact recipe every time.
I know, I know – for some, intuitive and creative cooking is a monumental task – almost as monumental as I feel about writing these creative processes down – but I feel it can become second nature with time 🙂
BONUS – Okay, I Thought of Some Quick Meal Ideas
- Stir fries – Some combo of veggies, meat or beans, rice
- Mexican plate – some combination of rice, beans, (or any meat, or eggs for heuvos rancheros), avocados (guacamole), salsa, plain yogurt, cabbage, lime juice, cilantro. Healthy Mexican meals are my go-to fast food meals.
- Salad – Combine lettuce, raw veggies, and anything substantial in the fridge – meat, beans, grains, cheese if you eat that, nuts, etc
- Yogurt bowl – berries or fruit, coconut oil, chia seeds, nuts
- Buckwheat porridge – Cooked buckwheat (soak it if you can remember to soak it) combined with anything you want – nuts, berries, fruit, coconut, coconut milk, even an egg yolk
- Hardboiled eggs, with some salad – maybe even some fried potatoes if you want
- Green smoothies – fruits or berries, greens, mine usually involve milk kefir as the liquid. This is especially fast if the contents are already frozen. The greens just crumble, no need to cut them up.
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Help me out – share with us your favourite quick and healthy meal ideas! And also your favourite healthy lunches too, please. People also want to know about that.