Monday, 30 January 2012

Eat Cheap Healthy Fast- Part 2

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In the first part of this topic, I talked about how when I started working full-time, I had to find some ways to get good food cheaply and quickly. I wanted to stay healthy at my desk job and I knew eating well was certainly a part of it.

Photo by theresac

The first part of my strategy dealt with buying the goods. This next part is about what to do with them.

Part 2: Preparing cheap and healthy food-fast.


1. Make cooking as quick as possible.
  1. Get quick-I like to cook, but I don't always have a lot of time for it. Having some ready to go/quick staples liked pasta, couscous, or frozen fruits and vegetables is really helpful.
  2. Prepare ahead-You can prepare things earlier for later meals. Cut up vegetables, soak beans, make sauces, and mash potatoes. Once you've done the prep work, you can make a quick dinner that evening or freeze many things for later.
  3. Make anytime prep time- It takes about 15 minutes to boil eggs, half an hour for some curries,a few minutes to chop some veggies. Put on a timer and let them simmer while you're doing your dishes, cut veggies while you're watching tv or talking politics. Those extra tasks done can make a world of difference.
  4. Work together-If you're too busy and you live with others, coordinate tasks. Cook together, take turns, or work in shifts. Ask for help if you need it. Perhaps someone can chop up the veggies before leaving for the day and another can cook them when they come back, a third does the dishes that evening, and all enjoy the evening meal.  
Photo by ocean yamaha
2. Cook wisely.

  1. Plan for leftovers-Cook meals ahead and freeze portions for later. This way, you only have to cook once and you get more meals for your time. You can do this for both home and work meals.
    1. Make many things of one item-If you're loaded with one ingredient, it doesn't have to be boring. You can prepare it differently and make wonderful new dishes. Just change an ingredient, like the type of beans, spices, sauces, vegetables, or grain. Another good change is the preparation method. Try a big cut versus grated carrot, or a stir fry versus a soup. Use your imagination.
      1. Know where to go- Have a list of recipes that you feel really comfortable with. I suggest learning a few simple ones that you know well and would feel comfortable adjusting according to what's in your pantry. Head to the library or search online to learn everything from simple cooking methods, to knife skills, to complex meals.
      
      Photo by imallergic

       3. Plan to snack healthy.
      1. Make things easy to reach for.-Cut up veggies and boiled eggs for a quick and healthy bite.
      2. Stock up-At home and at work, keep healthy snacks on hand  rather than just getting rid of junk. Bring yogurt, or prepare portions of nuts and berries to munch on instead of heading towards the vending machines or other unhealthy options. Nuts and dried fruits can be expensive, so use them in moderation. Look at fresh fruit, cheaper alternatives, and watch out for sales. *For a bonus, use reusable containers- it will save you even more money and the environment vs. bags. 


      Got any tips for saving time when eating nutritiously? Leave a comment, you'll probably get good Karma.

      As always, if you like what you read, remember to share, subscribe, or follow me on twitter.

      Live well, Charlotte


      P.S. Here are some sites of interest when preparing healthy meals.

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