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As a society we are getting busier and busier, whether you are a student running from class to your job, or working full time and trying to get home to your family or running around after little ones at home, we more often than not find ourselves in a position where we think it would just be easier to get a takeaway or to just eat a bowl of cereal and be done with it.

The key to ensuring you never have to turn down the ‘toast for dinner’ path is to plan and be prepared. We want to use our time as effectively and efficiently as possible. When it comes to eating healthily, doing a little planning and meal prep will save you hours in the long run.

  • At the start of the week/ in the weekend,spend ten minutes thinking about what meals you would like to have each night . Look in your freezer and cupboards to see what you already have that you could make a meal from, or decide what you need to go with something else. If you’re lacking in inspiration but have something in your freezer that needs using – Google what you do have for ingredients – you will be amazed at what kind of recipes might pop up
  • Invest in a crockpot or slow cooker. You can make a huge array of meals in these, from stews, to soups, to desserts to roasts. They are especially great in the winter time when all you want is a hot meal. Generally all you need to do is chop a few veges, add some spices, liquid and protein – then just forget about it for 6-8 hours!
  • Keep a few varieties of frozen vegetables in your freezer. This will save you time in preparing your vegetables and you can easily steam them in the microwave or stir fry them quickly to ensure they remain at their most nutritious
  • Whenever you do make a meal such as a casserole or stir fry, make enough for at least another night and if you can, make enough for one or two lunches as well. Portion these all up prior to eating your meal, so that the extra food doesn’t tempt you to eat more than you need
  • If you’re putting the effort into making something such as a lasagne that can take a little longer than other meals, make two!! This will save you hours in the kitchen later on. Just portion the second dish up into individual portions and freeze ready to heat up for when you need something in a hurry – way better than a regular frozen dinner
  • If you find yourself reaching for the 2-minute noodles (eek) at least try and make them a little more nutritious – use ½ a packet as one serve, add a cup of frozen vegetables and a tin of tuna – a heck of a lot better than just the noodles and still only takes two minutes to prepare!
  • Who doesn’t love a good roast chicken? They pretty much look after yourselves – get one cooking late afternoon, all you need to do is roughly chop some vegetables to go with it – roast them up in the same dish and save on washing afterwards! You can pretty much roast anything as well – there is the obvious ones like kumara and potato, but try broccoli, cauliflower and Brussel sprouts as alternatives
  • Don’t forget the humble egg! Super versatile and quick to prepare. Even better, you can boil up 6-8 at a time and keep them in the fridge for five days without worrying that they will go off. Use them to go on toast for breakfast or lunch, have them on their own as a snack, saute some greens to go with them or have a couple with leftover veges. Quick and nutritious every single time J
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