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28 Time-Saving Tips to Eat Well in A Pinch

Kayla Reynolds, MS

Have you ever found yourself eating on your commute, scarfing down a quick bite, or skipping a meal altogether? If you’ve ever felt it difficult to eat — let alone cook — a healthy meal, you’re not alone.

Luckily, eating well doesn’t require spendings hours in the kitchen every day.

We’ve put together 28 time-saving tips to help you eat well in a pinch!

  1. Plan your meals: Sometimes half the battle is trying to think of what to serve up for dinner or what to pack for lunch. Plan the week’s meals ahead of time to eliminate this step.
  2. Make a list: Once you’ve planned your meals for the week, check your fridge and pantry to see what you’ll need to bring your menu to life. Then, make a list to prevent you from walking aimlessly through the aisles.
  3. Strategize: Organize your grocery list by sections: produce, meats, cheese, canned goods, frozen foods, etc. 
  4. Shop on weekdays: Avoid the weekend rush and do your shopping on a weekday evening. Pro tip: Tuesdays through Thursdays are usually the quietest.
  5. Or skip the line: Consider ordering your groceries online. Many places even offer this service free of charge!
  6. Consider convenience: Although they can be more expensive, pre-washed and pre-chopped fruits and vegetables are great to munch on as is, toss in your salad or on your plate, or season and pop in the oven.
  7. Can it: While fresh foods are always a good idea, nowadays you can find canned or bottled sauces, tuna, beans, and more without added salt, sugar, and fat.
  8. Buy it cooked: Pre-cooked meat, poultry, fish/seafood, or deli meats are great in a pinch! Just make sure they don’t have any unnecessary additives.
  9. Or go frozen: Frozen produce and proteins are also great time-saving options. Plus, they last longer.
  10. Bulk up: Buying non-perishable foods such as steel-cut oats, quinoa, and nuts/seeds in bulk can save you a few trips to the grocery store (and a buck or two!).
  11. Choose quick-cooking options: Opt for faster cooking whole grains, like short-grain brown rice, quinoa, or quick oats.
  12. Prep it: Wash, cut, and store fresh fruits and vegetables at the beginning of the week to avoid having to do this each time you want to use them. A little preparation can go a long way!
  13. And keep the skin: Keeping the skin on will save you prep time, and also help you get an extra dose of essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
  14. Make it ahead of time: Set aside a few hours at the beginning of the week to prepare your breakfasts and lunches for the week.
  15. Upgrade your cookware: Consider buying larger cookware to be able to prepare larger quantities of food at once. Leftovers are your friends.
  16. Combine and conquer: Roast all of your veggies for the week at the same time. Just watch out for different cook times.
  17. And turn up the heat: Consider turning up the heat (within reason) while making food.
  18. Befriend your broiler: Baking a piece of salmon can take anywhere between 15-20 minutes. Cut your cook time in half with the broiler.
  19. Save up for a slow cooker: Toss your favorite veggies, protein, and carb in a slow cooker before work, and come home to a gourmet dinner!
  20. Try new tools: Save time with choppers, dicers, whisks, blenders, and more. Every second counts.
  21. Go raw: Consider meals or snacks that don’t require cooking, like raw fruits and veggies, nuts, or raw bars/bites.
  22. Opt for overnight: Some foods can ‘make themselves’ overnight. For example, combine rolled oats, dairy or non-dairy milk, and your favorite mix-ins (fruits, nuts, seeds, and more) in a mason jar and put it in the fridge overnight. You’ll have oatmeal ready in the morning.
  23. Or blend it: Throw your favorite fruit, spinach, dairy or non-dairy milk, and ice (protein optional) in a blender for a breakfast or snack on-the-go.
  24. Opt for one dish: Steaming, grilling, sautéing, and more fot one meal? Toss your favorite veggies, protein, and carbs in a little bit of olive oil and seasonings, and bake it in a baking dish instead. Bonus? You’ll save clean up time too.
  25. Or pick the pan: Toss all of your go-tos on the stove for a quick and tasty stir fry!
  26. Double up: When you cook a recipe, double, triple, or quadruple it to have some to eat throughout the rest of the week, or to freeze and save for a later date.
  27. Get social: Enlist your spouse and kids to help. Not only will the extra hands speed things up, but it’s a great opportunity for some bonding.
  28. Clean as you go: Cooking can include some down time, for example, while waiting for the water to boil. Take advantage and start cleaning up whatever you can!

What’s your favorite time-saving tip?

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