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When I surveyed my audience (you!) a while back and asked what your biggest obstacles to healthy living were, there was definitely a theme.
The answers were: time, overwhelming amounts of information, someone even said, “doing the research to find the healthiest products, I just want someone to tell me what to use.”
Where do I start? I heard over and over again.
In this post, I’m going to give you some tips to make your lives easier. I have been researching, testing, and playing around in the kitchen for almost 10 years. Let’s go!
Read on for all my tips or watch the video here:
Tip1: Plan Ahead
This is KEY, KEY, KEY.
I do a meal plan on Thursday. I buy any groceries I need on Friday, and I do a little food prep for the week on Sunday. How does a meal plan work?
I write down the days of the week and everything that we have going on at night that week that will influence the time of dinner and prep time, such as sports or if my husband will be traveling.
Then I write down what we’ll have for dinner each night and leave a night here or there for leftovers. I look at my recipes and write down anything I’ll need to get on my grocery list and if I need to get it at a specific store, say only Trader Joe’s carries the sunflower seed butter my kids like, for example.
Friday I buy the groceries and put them away. Sunday, I’ll take all my veggies out of the fridge, wash them and prep as needed.
For example, I’ll wash my kale and tear it off the stem, then put it back in a baggie with a paper towel to soak up some of the moisture to make it last longer. I’ll use this kale in smoothies all week. If we’re having roasted vegetables for dinner that week, I’ll roast them.
I look at the menu and anything I can prep ahead of time I will. I also plan my breakfast and lunch for the week. My breakfast is usually a smoothie or a papaya bowl. So I’ll make the papaya bowl ahead of time and it will last about 3 days. I don’t make my smoothies ahead of time, but I make sure that all my ingredients are ready to go.
For my lunch I usually pick a salad, such as Apple, Walnut, Celery salad with balsamic dressing. I chop the apples, walnuts, and celery, and that’s it.
When I’m ready for lunch that week all I need to do is add the dressing. Another favorite is a parsley, lentil, carrot salad. I cook the lentils and chop everything up.
You get the picture, get it all ready so there’s no wondering what’s for lunch or grabbing something easy and not-so-healthy.
My boys make their own breakfasts and lunches. We sit down and talk about what they’d like to have and plan a Food Prep day, usually on a Sunday, and we do this about once a month.
Here’s a blog post about what we usually make, which includes French Toast Sticks, cookies, fruit snacks, smoothie pops, quesadillas, and more. This way the freezer is full and it’s super easy for them to grab it all themselves.
Whenever I’m making a soup or a one-dish meal, or something that can be easily frozen, I plan on making a double batch. So when I’m cooking dinner, it’s easy to make double, then freeze half for later.
This way if I’m ever in a pinch and need something in a hurry, I know I’ve got something healthy we can eat. I like to make sure to freeze it in a shape that will easily fit into my Instant Pot. If you don’t have one yet, you might need to put in on your wish list.
I’ll do a whole post soon, just know that it’s like a Crock Pot in that you set it and forget it. However it’s MUCH faster because it’s a pressure cooker, so if you forget about dinner sometimes, like me, you can go from frozen beef to tacos in an hour.
When I want to use one of my frozen meals for dinner, if I remember I’ll take it out the night before and leave it in the fridge. If I forget I can still put the frozen cube in the Instant Pot and have dinner ready in under an hour.
Tip 2: Simplify
When it was just my husband and I, before kids, I loved to make in-depth recipes that used obscure ingredients. Now……..not so much.
I am all about simple, and making something that everyone will eat. I recommend having a list of at least 5 go-to recipes. These are going to be your easiest-to-make, everyone-will-eat-them, and your keep-most-ingredients-on-hand recipes.
These are the recipes I make when we get back from being out of town, if I didn’t have a plan for dinner that night, or if we have a really busy week and I need to keep it easy.
Here are a couple of mine:
Kima– this is a great one-dish meal that has been a hit with everyone we have made it for.
Tacos– these are so easy we have them at least once a week. They’re so versatile that everyone can have their own version. I have a taco salad. The hubby and oldest son have soft shell tacos and the youngest son has some version of nachos without any meat. I keep frozen grass-fed ground beef on hand, as well as sliced black olives, shredded cheese, onions, and tortillas.
Here’s a recipe for DIY taco seasoning:
- 1/4 Cup chili powder
- 3 Tbsp. ground cumin
- 3 Tsp. garlic powder
- 2 Tbsp. onion powder
- 2 tsp. dried oregano leaf
- 1 tsp. paprika
- 1 Tbsp. sea salt
- 1/2-1 tsp. cayenne pepper optional
Mix all spices together in a small bowl. Store this in an airtight container. Use 1 to 1 1/2 Tbsp. of spice mixture per pound of ground beef for tacos.
Tip 3: Find a Community
Everything’s easier when you’re in it with someone else. It could be you have a few friends that have coffee once a month and swap healthy recipes.
I used to belong to a workout group that would get together once a month or so outside of our workouts and watch documentaries together, hike together, and my favorite of all was to do a huge freezer meal prep together. It took some planning, but we would get about 10 recipes. Someone would shop for all the ingredients. We would get together in a community clubhouse kitchen and have 10 different stations and we would all work together so that by the end of the night we’d all have 10 different meals ready for our freezer. Love.
Healthy living does not have to be hard or take up a lot of time. It’s small gradual steps and making the best choices for you every day.
I’ve done 10 years of research, and I’ve developed a guide for you.
I hinted this past August that I’ve been up to something here behind the scenes. I’ve been hard at work over the past year finishing the updates to the long-awaited launch of my course,
This course will save you time, money and gives you a clear plan.
It’s the starting place for healthy living that you’ve been waiting for.
With so much love + gratitude,