Time and money-saving ideas to eat healthy at home
Stay with me, this is relevant to the title; before I embarked on a career following my passion of health and food, I actually worked in the corporate legal world for almost 10 years and I don’t regret one minute of that career – do you know why? All of those years managing time, expectations, workload, life, health… all of it… it prepared me for motherhood! HA! I knew all those skills would eventually have a higher purpose!
Feeding a household with a baby-slash-toddler around and trying to squeeze in work, fun, kid’s activities, activities that keep me sane and healthy eating is a task and a half.
For me, I suppose the healthy eating part comes easy-ish given I spent years reading, studying and understanding the subject, however, I still have days where I practically beg hubby if we can please eat dinner out or get a “healthy” take-out! Yes, even me!
However, those days are not so often and I will let you in on my secret on how I manage to achieve at least 2 – 3 healthy meals prepared for everyone each day – PLANNING! Planning and being organised – skills I honed in on in my career days and now I’m putting them to very good use.
Here are my planning and organising tips that are helping me to make sure my family is eating healthy during our busy days – these tips are time and money-saving:
- Plan your meals and sacks – this is my Saturday night task and I actually really enjoy it (did I say that out-loud – oops!). This can be as simple as scribbling notes on a blackboard or notice board, or typing it into your iPhone, whatever works for you! I promise you that if you spend just 30 mins each week planning the meals for the following week, not only will you save time, but this should save you a lot of heartache and money spent at the local take-away. What’s more, if you’re lucky enough to have help at home, you can make sure that they’re also prepared for the week ahead and can manage their time. I love my blackboard method – I call it our “family menu” and I’m hoping it instills an interest in food in my daughter as well as a very visual aid of what healthy eating looks like. This is also a great way to create a shopping list from your plan, helping you to buy only what you need and so hopefully you save on waste. I will add that of course my plan never goes 100% to plan – that’s fine – at least it helped a bit.
- Shop on-line as much as possible – Dubai is actually a very convenient place to do most of your grocery shopping online. From organic local vegetables, to specialist meat, fish and general goods. I’m all for ordering online if it can save me time and I find I get a lot better value for money than at most supermarkets.
- Bulk cooking – I’ve said this before but I’ll say it a million times again; bulk baking, cooking, blending and then freezing is sooooo timesaving! I even bulk-prepare smoothie bags by freezing the fruit and veg for each smoothie so that mornings are quick and easy to deal with breakfast and we all get to work/swimming/class/whatever on time (ish)! One note here, I never use a microwave to re-heat food as research has shown links to cancer but also mainly for me the heat kills a lot of the nutrients in the food, so what’s the point? My oven or stove does a good enough job.
- Stock-up on the basics – I had a proud moment this weekend when I separated my spice boxes into “cusines of the world”… okay, so you have no need to go this far… my point is that any day of the week I can go from having basil pesto pasta to Chinese food quite easily because I keep the basics stocked-up. Herbs, spices, baking items such as baking powder, different oils, flours, onions, garlic – make a list of what you need and are likely to use on a regular basis, and then you never need to be disappointed when you can’t make that pasta sauce tonight because it won’t be the same without the garlic you don’t have.
- Keep it simple – I’m a simple kind of gal most of the time when it comes to what’s on my plate. Of course, the odd raw-vegan lasagna crops-up from time-to time, but most of the time I eat simple meals. I know as long as I eat a varied diet full of colours and just real food (no junky junk) then it’s still just as healthy as the gourmet raw vegan meal in my cook books. Don’t beat your self-up that you didn’t make that #instafood dish you saw on some social media blog you follow and drooled over, just do what you can and #enjoyyourfood. The meal you saw on the insta-famous blog was probably cold by the time the author finished taking the shots anyway – #toocoldtoeatnow (trust me, I’m one of those authors!).
Please note, this article is not intended to provide medical advice and you should always consult your medical care practitioner before changing your diet, especially during and after pregnancy.