Healthy food does not require hours of preparation.
On the fast track to healthy food
For many people, the concept of healthy eating is synonymous with time-consuming. The usual response to that from the nutrition pack is “how long does it take to peel a banana or bite into an apple”, so fruit is the ultimate fast food. Too often, however, we go for one of the unhealthy choices we are bombarded with – from the petrol station to coffee shop. Time is money but, in this case, time is health, too, because fast food shortens your life with every day that you make this choice.
Here are a few tips to speed up healthy eating and give us all the opportunity to make healthier food choices on the go:
• Get to the grocery store once a week and do a full shop. Fast food is much more appealing when you are looking at an empty fridge and your cupboards are bare.
• Buy healthy snack foods and take them with you every day to work. Too often, we make hasty food choices because we are starving and need to eat something now. Having snacks such as healthy muesli bars, nuts, seeds, dried fruit and dark chocolate on hand will help when you’re hungry and choices are limited.
• Choose three “go to” 10-minute meals and make sure the ingredients are always in your kitchen. For example, whole-wheat pasta and pesto, vegetable stir-fry with soba noodles and egg omelette loaded with your favourite greens. By actively having quick ideas in your mind your first thought will not always be fast food.
• When you do cook a meal, double your portions and save one for the next day. For example, cook an extra portion of chicken breast and brown rice, to be eaten the next day, with a salad.
• Good kitchen equipment will make your cooking life a pleasure. The knuckle-destroying task of chopping butternut squash becomes a breeze with the correct knife and will save you valuable time and effort. Invest in a good chopping board, knives and a blender and you will be making life in the healthy food world much faster, from one-minute smoothies to five-minute soups.
• Choose an afternoon at the weekend to do a little cooking for your week. Prepare a soup and a casserole and then freeze them in separate portions so you have something ready to eat that is healthy and just needs warming up. So when you are late from work, instead of reaching for the takeout menu you can heat something up that will be ready before the deliveryman even packs your order.
Laura Holland is a well-being consultant and nutritional therapist. For more information, go to
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