Do you ever feel as though even with all the advances in technology meant to make life easier you have less time, not enough hours in the day? Your to-do-list just carries over from one day to the next? Who has time to cook!
Not having time to cook each day, doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your health and well-being. Where do you start?
The first thing I recommend, take a long, hard look at what is eating up your time and eliminate anything that isn’t moving you toward your life’s goals. For example, maybe you are spending too much time on social media or checking email. Set limits on those things, such as agreeing to only check them twice a day. Turn off your automatic notifications.
Here are a few suggestions for eating nutritious food when you just don’t have the time or maybe the energy to cook.
- The crock pot, or slow cooker needs to become your best friend. There is nothing better than coming home, after a hard day at work, to the smell of a homemade dinner. Throw in some simple ingredients in the morning, set it and forget it. Come home, get the plate or bowl and dig in!
- The pressure cooker. Okay, so maybe you forgot to throw something in the slow cooker and you really want something quick and nutritious. Say hello to the pressure cooker. They come in a wide variety of price ranges and anything from stove top to electronic. If you like dried beans but never seem to be able to get them soft enough, this will be your new favorite kitchen gadget. Dried beans cook in very little time and come out wonderfully creamy.
- Batch cooking is another great option. Pick a day when you know you have a small block of time and cook enough food for the next five days. For example, cook chicken breasts in the way you like them best and then use them as the protein in your meal, on top of a salad, or in tacos.
- Salads are a great option. No cooking involved.
- Got kids, need to make a kid friendly mac-n-cheese that doesn’t come prepackaged and is fast. Use the microwave to make your own quick cooking mac-n-cheese. Maybe it is the grown-ups that are craving comfort food. I say go for it. Who says mac-n-cheese is just for kids.
- When none of these options will do, order from your favorite restaurant but choose wisely. Don’t be afraid to ask them to eliminate the salt, sugar, or other not-so-healthy ingredient. Ask for the nutritional information on the food you are ordering. You have a right to know what you are eating.
Quick Cooking Mac-n-Cheese
Place 1/3 cup elbow macaroni or small shells into a large mug or bowl with a scant 1/2 cup of water. Microwave on high for 2 minutes, stir and microwave for 2 additional minutes, stirring in-between. The pasta should be cooked and water absorbed. Stir in a scant 1/4 cup of milk and 1/2 cup of cheddar, jack or other cheese of your choice. This would be the time to also add things like Dijon mustard, hot sauce, or other flavor enhancers. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Microwave for 30-60 seconds. Stir and eat. It is helpful to have the milk and cheese sitting out as the pasta cooks so it starts to warm to room temperature.
Tips: Throw in some broccoli or other chopped vegetables for a more nutritious meal. This is also a great recipe to show the older kids. Now when you just want to relax they can make it on their own.