By Jen Gendron: Health & Wellness Coach
Many of my clients tell me that one of their biggest struggles is with healthy eating and meal preparation and I can totally relate! In today’s busy world, finding the time to sit down and eat a meal is a challenge in itself, let alone finding time to prep and cook it! As a result, many of us resort to fast food, pre-packaged food or convenience food on a regular basis. Between work commitments, kids’ activities and all of our other obligations & responsibilities, preparing healthy food for our families often takes a back seat, but it doesn’t have to!
While it takes some good planning and some prep work, you can have healthy meals on the table for your family and still have time to sit down and enjoy it! As Dan & I are embarking on our own journey of change, meal prepping and planning is at the top of our list of things to work on. Here are some of my top tips for making dinner time less stressful and putting healthy food on your plate!
1. Plan Ahead – the days when we tend to eat the worst are the ones we are rushing in the door after 5 asking ourselves ‘what should we have for supper?!?’ Taking some time on the weekend to sit down and come up with a meal plan for the week and ensuring you have all the ingredients you need, will go a long way in helping you to make good and healthy meals.
2. Prep Ahead – once you have a meal plan in place, do what you can to prep as much as you can ahead of time. That way, if you are running late or something unexpected comes up, you will have a head start on your meal already. We try to take some time on Sunday to prep veggies, make ahead some lunches and prepare some make ahead breakfasts as well so they are ready to grab and go.
3. Love Your Leftovers – making more than you will need so you have leftovers to use for lunches or for a quick supper on a busy night is a great time saving tip. Cook a few extra portions than what you know you will need, and you will have some ready to go meals for those busier times and will also add some variety to your lunches.
4. Learn to Repurpose – on the weekends, I love to cook a chicken or a roast that we can have as a family meal but then use to make soups, stews, casseroles and other make-ahead meals that I can cook ahead of time when I get a chance so that we aren’t always scrambling to throw something in the oven. I buy more than I know we will eat in one meal and ensure we have leftovers to use for other meals.
5. Invest in a Slow Cooker – in my opinion, the slow cooker is one of the best inventions of all time! There is nothing better than rushing through the door at the end of a long day to touch down long enough to get ready for an evening commitment and encountering the smell of a fresh cooked meal all ready to go! Our slow cooker has saved the day on many occasions and throwing something in before you leave for the day to have it ready when you come home is a huge time saver!
6. Grab Something Healthy – on those nights when you just aren’t going to make it home in time to put a meal together and you need to stop and grab something, there are lots of healthier options to choose from now in the grocery stores. Pre-cut vegetables, fresh salads, roasted chickens and other healthy options are plentiful. Our go to is always a roasted chicken – makes a great quick meal and then I get to make soup with the bones!
If you need a little help with some creative ideas for fresh and healthy meals, here are a couple I recommend:
• Clean Food Crush – a huge wealth of amazing recipe with lots of new posts every week – visit the website here.
• Sarah Walker Holistic Nutritionist – great newsletter, meal plans available for purchase – check it out here.
• And of course you can download my free recipe guide https://mailchi.mp/cf00be7c3697/coachjenrecipeguide & follow me here for more tips, recipes & ideas
With a little planning & some creativity, you can make healthy meals for the entire family with way less stress!