As good as our intentions are when it comes to eating healthier, time often gets in the way. Sure, we would all love to be able to cook everything we eat from scratch, knowing exactly what's in it and that it's good for us. But is that realistic? Not for most of us.
If you often struggle to find the time to cook healthy meals, you may want to check out the list below! It's full of healthy AND convenient foods that can drastically cut down on the time needed to prepare a meal, while still keeping it healthy.
1. Pre-cut Fruits and Vegetables
Getting in your daily allowance a fruits and vegetables can be difficult sometimes. You have to wash them, peal them, cut them, cook them, the list goes on and on. Seriously, have you ever tried to prepare a spaghetti squash? It takes forever, it's messy, and it's a serious arm workout! And don't get me started on pomegranates...
Instead opt for the pre-cut stuff at your local supermarket. Sure, it'll be a little more expensive, but that's better than letting the produce you do buy go bad because you never got around to preparing them!
2. Frozen Produce
Along the same lines of pre-cut fruits and veggies, frozen produce makes things so much easier! Adding fruit to smoothies, making a stir-fry, steaming a quick veggie for a healthy side dish etc. There's no prep needed!
Not to mention, frozen produce allows you to eat things that aren't necessarily in season all year long. And the produce is frozen at the peak of ripeness so you're getting a better quality product. Not like most fresh produce in stores that is picked prematurely and ripens on a delivery truck.
3. Precooked Chicken
Whether it's refrigerated, frozen, or a rotisserie chicken, these birds save a ton of time! Just toss it with some sort of grain and vegetable, and you've got a quick, healthy and delicious meal. No need to fire up the grill or the oven with this on hand.
4. Premade Soups
Soups are a great choice when you're in a hurry and don't have the time to cook a full dinner! They're often full of veggies and can easily be made into a full meal with the addition of some grains, a salad, some sort of protein etc.
Just make sure to check what's in the soups you choose! I like to look for lower sodium varieties and ingredients I recognize.
5. Canned Beans
This may be a staple in your house already, but if you've ever made beans from scratch before, you know just how much of a time-saver the canned varieties are. While there are low sodium varieties similar to the soup, this isn't necessary. Just open the can, drain, rinse and serve!
The beans will add a healthy dose of fiber and belly-filling protein to almost any dish, with very little effort or time. They'd be a great addition to the aforementioned soup!
6. Minute Grains
And finally, grains. These are by FAR my favorite and most used convenient food! While it seems like instant rice has been around forever, over the past few years more and more instant grains have been showing up. Just pop a tray into the microwave for a couple minutes and BAM you've got the perfect base for healthy a delicious meal.
Just make sure to get the plain varieties! While tasty, the flavored instant grain mixes usually aren't very healthy. Have fun and flavor it yourself! You've got plenty of time now ;)