We’re all so busy these days that it’s easy to let healthy eating slip by in the belief that you’re saving time and saving money – but don’t kid yourself. A little preparation in the kitchen will help you reap the rewards – in your pocket and on your body.
1. Keep track of the calories
When we’re in the kitchen around food it’s easy to snack, and before we know it we’ve consumed more than our daily quota of calories. Keep a notebook and pen next to the fridge, and whenever you eat something write it down along with its calorie value. You’ll soon see where your calories are coming from each day.
2. Stock the cupboards
We often have a few sweets and treats in the house for when unexpected visitors pop by. But when we’re short on time it’s tempting to reach for the closest thing to eat. Arrange your cupboard and pantry shelves so the quick fixes in reach are the healthy options.
3. Time-saving is in the preparation
Set aside an hour or two at the weekend to make a large batch of food (a lasagne cooked with fresh vegetables and lean mince, or chilli con carne, for example). You can divide this into portions and pop in the freezer to use as and when needed. If you don’t have enough time at the weekend, make enough food for two family meals in the evening and save half for the next day.
4. Cook in bulk
Cook a large portion of rice, pasta or other grains which you can save for stews and casseroles throughout the week. The same can be done with vegetables. Sautee and steam extra vegetables and store in airtight containers.
5. Homemade lunches
Prepare your lunch for the next day when the kids have gone to bed. That way, you won’t waste any important family time and you’ll also be able to make something tasty within your calorie count.
6. Healthy snacks
Make sure you have lots of healthy snacks at hand, such as fruit (fresh or dried), raisins and seeds. Wandering hands can get you into trouble when you’re dieting, so satisfy the urge to snack with something that’s not going to pile on the pounds and won’t take any time for you to prepare.
7. Invest in kitchen equipment
Keep an eye out for handy kitchen equipment on sale, such as a blender. By having one of these machines in the house, you’ll be able to make some great food in minutes – and at a fraction of the cost. Homemade hummus for example is cheaper than the store-bought version and it’ll be healthier too. You may be able to find a second-hand blender on eBay.