Eat healthy, save time
These two objectives don’t always seem to go together, do they?
I’m not a doctor or a nutritionist. Either of which can likely tell you how to eat healthy.
But will they tell you how to eat healthy and save time?
As someone who is focused on thriving, I’ve hacked my way there by personalizing methods from yoga, Ayurveda, mindfulness and behavioral science.
Luckily, I’ve adopted some techniques that have helped me eat healthier and lose weight without spending all of my time in the kitchen.
Below you’ll find my strategies for being efficient with your time while still eating healthy!
Eat Healthy Save Time
- Alternate every other week between pricier places like Whole Foods and the local grocery store to have a variety of of healthy choices without breaking the bank
- Visit or schedule a delivery from your local farmer’s co-op market for the weekly produce box (If you are only cooking for 1 or 2 people you can get away with doing this bi-weekly)
- Weekly visits for a few key items like fresh eggs and fish at a farmer’s market
- Order only pantry staples and supplements that you’ve tested from Amazon or other online health retailer such as Thrive Market
- Weekly or bi-weekly visits to a shop with freshly prepared soups, salads and stews (focus on super clean ingredients). For those of you who live in New Orleans, I go to The Green Fork.
- Do as much in a batch as possible. For example, I buy my produce box on Saturday and then spend the afternoon cooking most of the vegetables. I use bone broth from a gourmet shop (again, I could do this myself but it saves time and that’s valuable to me) and keep it really basic with maybe a bit of onion and oil and let the veggies simmer. This is a southern american style of cooking. If that’s not for you, try roasting the veggies in the oven. Do it all at once and you’ve set for the week.
- It’s not ideal to eat left overs, according to the principles of Ayurveda we want to eat food as close to harvesting as possible. However, I feel it’s better for me to eat leftover fresh veggies than to defer to processed foods.
- When it comes time for protein, cook it as fresh as possible. Aside from match cooking my veggies, this is the most time consuming part of my meal prep and it still takes less than 10 minutes. I use a simple counter top grill to cook fresh fish or chicken using a prepared pesto that I buy from my local farmer’s market.
- CALM – a magnesium supplement that helps calm muscles and keep you regular
- Dr. Axe Multi Collagen Protein
- Local bee pollen – to curb allergies
- Rainbow Light Women’s One
- 365 Calcium, Magnesium, Zinc with Vitamin D3
- *I don’t take all of these daily. Frankly, I’m probably wasting my money with most of them because I eat well and I focus on fresh, whole foods. As always, common sense dictates that we shouldn’t just take a supplement because someone else likes it. Talk to your doctor and use your own knowledge of your body to decide if you want to add supplements.
How I handle the “not so healthy” options.
- I no longer buy dark chocolate bars, unless I’m sharing. I go for single servings.
- When I want something sweet at home I use half an avocado, raw cacao powder and coconut water or milk to create a delicious chocolate mousse in my Ninja blender. If you want me to make a video on how to make this recipe post in the comments and I’ll get right on it.
- I don’t bring extra sweets home from the store because clearly they will all be eaten. There’s never been a cookie that I let go to waste.
- I don’t deny myself sweets, but I don’t keep them around me at all times either. There is science behind the concept of keeping candy and sweets in plain sight and recognizing that they aren’t in limited supply and you can have them any time you want. I experimented with this and it wasn’t helpful for me.
- I don’t drink alone. I do drink, just not by myself. This prevents me from having a glass of wine and eating what basically amounts to an extra meal!
The best habits I’ve implemented to keep a healthy weight.
- I’ve made lunch my biggest meal of the day.
- I no longer snack between breakfast and lunch, or after dinner.
- I have an early “kitchen closed” time, where I stop eating by 6:30pm.
- I allow my body to rest at least 12 hours between meals most days.
- I architect my space and my life to make it as easy as possible to make healthy food choices. Unhealthy choices require more effort because I have to make an extra trip to get them.
Finally – Have fun!
I’m not perfect and you don’t need to be either. In fact, I’ve learned that an all or nothing perfectionist attitude sets me up for doom and gloom. Who wants that?
There are times when I drink or eat too much. It doesn’t happen frequently, but it does happen.
So how do I get back on track?
I focus on the present. What can I do now, not tomorrow or next week, to set myself up for healthier choices? I go back to my habits, listed above, and decide which one I can implement as soon as possible.
I don’t stay stuck in guilt about making a temporary bad choice. I screw up occasionally, but I have the tools in place to get back to my routine and re-align with my ability to thrive.
While all of the above tips and techniques support my kitchen routine, I also make sure I’m following my evening and morning routines so that my approach is holistic.
I don’t believe it supports you to just focus on your body.
Personally and with my clients, I’ve learned that our minds and spirits have just as much to say about what we put in our mouths or don’t.
Meditation, journalling and being in nature are all things that help me reset and prioritize my health.
I hope this has given you some idea of how to set parameters for your shopping and cooking routines, so that you always have healthier food choices close by and aren’t overwhelmed with food preparation.
Share your thoughts on my tips, as well as your own methods for making it easy to eat healthy and save time in the comments.
Photo credit: Veri Ivanova