Your stomach is grumbling as you take out your keys to unlock your front door. You want food; you need food. It’s been a long day at work. You reach for the closest, easiest food to satisfy your cravings. A high-sugar or high-salt ready-to-eat processed snack… a quick fix. The take-out menu is looking very appealing right now, but you know that you should go grocery shopping and cook a healthy dinner. But you don’t have the energy. Does this sound familiar?
This week on Simply Eating Better, guest blogger, Jen Gilbert of Jen Wellness for Life shares 4 ways to make eating better - simpler.
We all live busy lifestyles, and can’t afford to spend hours each day in the kitchen cooking healthy foods. We face a daily dilemma – what can we eat that will satisfy our cravings, take less than 30 minutes to make, and nourish our bodies so that we can continue to have enough energy to support our busy lifestyles??
There are many things we can do:
1. Use your weekend to your advantage – Take a few hours on the weekend to plan your meals for the coming week, and then buy all the groceries that you need, so that you don’t have to go shopping after work. If you have enough time, you can even cook some of your meals on the weekend, so they are ready to eat when you come home from work. You can even wash and tear a head of romaine lettuce, so that eating a salad consists of opening a Tupperware and putting lettuce on your plate. That sure sounds great when you’re hungry and tired, eh?
2. Use your willpower; you’re a strong woman! – Instead of reaching for the high-sugar or high-salt ready-to-eat processed snack, opt for healthier, tastier, (also) ready-to-eat snacks. I suggest eating a handful of almonds (the PERFECT SNACK, containing fiber, protein, and healthy fats – it’s surprising how a small handful of almonds can satisfy your hunger cravings; you can mix in a few raisins if you are craving something sweet), a bowl of freshly popped popcorn with a little bit of melted butter and sea salt, or half an avocado with sunflower seeds.
3. Use your money – Sometimes you just don’t have enough time to cook every part of your meal from scratch. Grocery stores are very good at preparing foods for you – at a high price. You can purchase fresh, already sliced veggies that are perfect for a stir-fry (be sure to use the veggies within a couple days of purchase). Stir-fries are a very quick and easy meal to make. My favourite stir-fry recipe can be found on my blog, by clicking this link: http://jenwellnessforlife.blogspot.com/2011/03/veggies-meat-and-wok-is-there-stir-fry.html.
Think of it this way – if you decided to pick up that take-out menu and order dinner, you’d be paying a lot more per meal than if you bought some pre-sliced veggies that will help you along the way in preparing a simple, healthy meal.
4. Use your motivation – I know you want to eat and live a healthy lifestyle. After all, you’re reading this blog, right? Use your motivation to read on new, healthy alternatives to the food you’ve been eating for years. Try quinoa, a complete vegetable protein that takes a mere 15 minutes to cook. You can substitute quinoa for rice. Try salad with a can of tuna, drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar (one of my favourite meals!), taking less than 10 minutes to prepare. Or try cooking salmon (broil for about 12 minutes) and steaming broccoli. Top the salmon with tamari, fresh lemon juice, cayenne pepper, and sea salt, then put it straight in the oven. It’s delicious, simple, and fast! The possibilities of healthy meals are endless!
In our demanding, busy lifestyles, it can sometimes seem impossible to gather the strength and energy to eat healthy. Don’t give up! Once you gain confidence in the kitchen, your skills will improve, you’ll make meals faster than you ever did before, and you’ll feel great from all the healthy food you’re eating!