You want to eat healthy, lose weight and feel better, but who has the time? That’s what I kept asking myself for years until I stumbled on the secret that I now call my “Five-Step Formula to Healthy, Delicious Meals in Minutes a Day.”
Now, that sounds long and fancy but it’s really simple! I now have super-healthy meals for my family every day of the week (and the weekends, too) in literally minutes! No more takeout, no more last-minute “what are we going to eat for dinner?” conversations.
The basic “secret” of my approach is batching. This is a HUGE time-saver and something that will absolutely transform your life, if you let it.
I’ve outlined the steps for you here—all you have to do is follow them!
Five step formula
STEP 1: CHOOSE
Choose your recipes for the week.
I recommend choosing 10 to 15 recipes and having leftovers. The more you do this, the more leftovers and variety you’ll have.
You also want to look for recipes that have similar ingredients (but not too similar—that gets boring), so that you won’t have to shop for specialty ingredients that will go bad.
STEP 2: SHOP
Try to go grocery shopping around 9 a.m., especially if you’re going on a weekend day. Any later than that and the stores are super busy.
Hit the farmer’s market on the weekend if you have one in your area. You save money, the food is fresh and you’re supporting your local farmers (always a good thing)!
STEP 3: PREP
Pour yourself a glass or a cup of your favorite beverage, turn on some tunes and enjoy the process of preparing this food to nourish and nurture your body.
If you’re cooking beans or lentils this week in any of your recipes, you can soak them overnight and then the next day drain, rinse and refrigerate them so they’re ready to go later in the week. Place the beans or lentils in a glass container, pour the water over them and place in the fridge.
Chop, slice and dice all the produce you’ll need in your recipes and store it in Ziploc bags, so you can easily grab and add when it comes time.
Take ingredients (like fruits) that you’ll use in a single recipe (like a smoothie) and put them all into the same bag. When it’s time for a smoothie, you’ll simply pull out a bag of fruit, pour in your coconut milk and you’ve got a healthy, cleansing, energizing breakfast in minutes!
You can group salads, cereals and more.
STEP 4: COOK
You might want to cook some meals in advance. I cook things like stews, curry and vegan burgers ahead of time, because their cooking time is simply too long for my busy work days.
You can also partially cook recipes. For example, if I know I’m having a Buddha Bowl (essentially stir-fry veggies over brown rice with a yummy sauce), I’ll cook the rice and put it in the fridge so when meal time rolls around later in the week, I simply have to stir fry the veggies and reheat the rice. Easy (and time saving, too)!
STEP 5: STORE
Store everything you’ve prepared thus far so that it’s simple and fast to put together a healthy meal. Remember, if you cook the full meal during the week, you also want to make sure you cook extra so you can store it for future meals.
Here are some general storage guidelines:
- Choose freezer-safe glass containers. Glass doesn’t contain BPA or other harmful chemicals that can leak into your food.
- Date EVERYTHING. Otherwise, you will forget when you made it. I use a piece of tape and a magic marker to do the job.
- Always wait for your food to cool before putting the lid on the storage container and refrigerating it.
- Wash, thoroughly dry and then wrap fresh herbs in a paper towel before placing into a container to freeze. This keeps them fresher longer.
- Get out as much air as possible when storing food.
Following these five simple steps will ensure you always have healthy, fresh foods on your plate at mealtime so you can succeed in your health and weight loss goals.
Photo credit: Mariana Medvedeva, Unsplash