It’s 5 o’clock again and you’re back in the least favourite part of the day. You’re tired, the day was long. The kids are (somehow) full of energy and running around the house. But they’re hungry. You’re hungry… actually, you haven’t eaten since lunch so you’re more “hangry” than anything (hungry+angry=hangry).
So what do you do? You want to make something quick, easy and FAST. You just want to get it done so you can scarf down the food as fast as possible. Basically, the less work the better.
So you reach for the freezer door and open it. You grab something pre-packaged – it’s quick and easy and will get the job done. You follow the directions, set the table, and voila, dinner is served… easy peasy.
But there’s a problem here, you’ve done this before… in fact, it’s been more times this month than you can count. And the truth is, you feel guilty for it. You know it’s not the best food for your family, you want to feed your family healthier foods, but you feel like you’re in a cycle that you don’t know how to break.
Well you’re not alone here. In fact, since 1970 households have brought home 60% more processed foods than ever before. We have become a packaged food society, using it to make eating convenient and easy.
But what if I told you that eating REAL FOOD was just as simple and easy to make as the packaged stuff.
Plus it has mega added benefits – it would provide your family with nourishing ingredients that their bodies need to grow, to build strong immune systems, and to provide energy throughout the day to thrive in school.
So how do you do that? How do you make quick and easy meals!? You’re in luck, because you’re talking to one of the laziest cooks out there that’s also a health coach… what this means is that I love cooking hacks that make things super simple.
So today I’m going to share three of my favorite healthy hacks for making meals happen fast!
1. Keep things simple with real food ingredients.
Real food is the key to success. But you need to keep things simple.
How do you do that? By using real food staples.
Here’s what I’m talking about: whole grains, veggies, beans, and meat. Then, season with simple spices and sauces.
You don’t need to overcomplicate your weeknight dinners more than that. Use this as a foundation for every meal you make and you’ll be good to go.
2. Use the slow cooker or sheet pan meals
Knowing what ingredients to cook with is only half the battle. Knowing how to cook it is the other.
I’m all about easy cooking. And the best methods that I’ve found to do this are through one pot meals. This means cooking everything together (or almost together). This makes things soooo much easier. I don’t do “side dishes” I just make all the ingredients and season them together. It save time and keeps things simple.
So my favourite methods of cooking (especially during the week) are through my slow cooker, sheet pan dinners on a baking sheet, and one pot meals.
- The slow cooker is pretty self explanatory, and if you don’t already have one, I highly suggest you get one! They’re great for making soups and stews throughout the week. >> This is my favourite brand of slow cooker.
- Sheet pan dinners are a little different – you bake all the ingredients together on a baking sheet. This is a great way to make chicken/pork/salmon along with roasted veggies. I’m a huge fan of this baking sheet – it has really great review. And yes, the quality of your baking sheet will make a big difference!
- One pot recipes are similar to the sheet pan method, but you can develop more flavour this way. To do this, you’ll need a cast iron pot (I love this one!). These are wonderful and will basically last your entire lifetime if you take care of it. It’s a bit of an investment at first, but definitely worth it. I have this one and I use it every single week in my kitchen.
Let me give you an example of something I would make on a busy day.
I love to batch cook my whole grains like quinoa, buckwheat groats or brown rice and store them in the fridge for various meals throughout the week.
Then, on a busy day I’ll pull out some chicken breasts, season them and lay them on a baking sheet. Then, I’ll chop up some veggies and toss them with olive oil, sea salt and ground pepper. Then I place them around my chicken breasts and I’ll pop them in the oven to bake. Once they’re done, I reheat some whole grains and voila – a really easy dinner without a lot of fuss.
3. Don’t wait until the last minute
This one tip is the most important tip I can give you about healthy cooking. The key to setting yourself up for success is to create a plan. Write down the meals you’ll make for the week and store it on the fridge. Then you’ll know what you’re going to make and when.
Waiting till the last minute will always set you up for failure.
Here’s how to do it.
- What are some simple healthy recipes that you already know how to make? Add those to your weekly plan.
- Then, consider trying a simple slow cooker or sheet pan meal and getting used to these methods of cooking. Look for inspo on my blog, and on Pinterest. Just remember, to keep things simple and easy during the week!
In closing, I just want to reiterate that real, healthy food matters. It’s important for you and your entire family. And it doesn’t have to take long to make, you just need a simple roadmap to show you the way. I have loads of content on the blog that will help you get started.