This post was most recently updated on March 30th, 2020
Are you one to say ‘cooking stresses me out’? Especially, you don’t want a whole lot of thinking about ‘what should I cook for dinner!’ after a day at the office. Fast foods and unhealthy fillers are not the recommended answer. Here I cover 3 simple steps to rid stress and enjoy healthy eating.
How to Eat Healthy Without the Stress
Because of our busy lifestyles, we look for convenience and instant gratification. This often transfers across to what we eat.
When we don’t eat right, we look for convenient snack foods to make us feel better, when all we really need is some healthy cooking and the foods that keep us in top condition. I wrote about this in my article on restoring gut health.
One main reason for stressing about cooking at the end of the day, is not knowing what to cook.
Plan Your Meals
Why plan, it takes time?! Well if you don’t, the ‘What to cook tonight?’ gets you moaning…right?
You go shopping with good intentions of eating healthy. You have a loose idea of what you want and buy a whole heap of healthy food.
Problem is…you end up with missing ingredients your ad-hoc meal ideas.
And, then you’ve a bunch of wilted greens and out-of-date products in the refrigerator or pantry at the end of the pay week.
Most of us throw away 1 bag for every two bags of groceries we buy. That’s such a waste of valuable resources and so planning meals makes sense even more.
A downside of deciding on meals on the run is that when you do your grocery shop, you miss items or overbuy, which inevitably leads to food waste. This harms not only your budget, but also the environment (I cover the carbon and water costs to producing food in my article on the best diet for you and the planet).
How to avoid this and eat healthy every night, and enjoy cooking? Easy. You plan your meals for the week. You can do this in 3 easy steps.
Alternatively, you opt for home delivered meal kits that cover the entire week.
3 Steps To Eating Healthy Everyday
What should I make for dinner? The following can help whether you hate cooking or just need a little help with meal planning.
Steps to Stress Free Cooking:
- –> Take Stock of Foods In Pantry & Refrigerator/Freezer
- –> Make a Healthy Meal Plan for the Week
- –> Go Shopping with a Shopping List
#1. Take Note Of Food In Your Pantry, Refrigerator, Or Freezer
Look at the used-by dates of your food stock to make sure it is still good to eat. Get rid of everything that is no longer edible.
Now take stock of the food remaining, get a cup of your favorite beverage, and move on to the next step.
#2. Write Yourself A Menu for the Week
Write yourself up a menu for the week! With this, consider the ingredients you already have, e.g. meats, dairy products, vegetables.
Find recipes that suit.
Choose recipes for your meals based on your preferred diet and fresh food in stock.
Write down the menu on paper or on your phone for easy access.
You’ll find plenty of healthy dinner ideas online or in recipe books or magazines.
Tip: You can do up four or more of your own meal plans and alternate them.
Write Out The Ingredients You Need
Tip: Make sure to check the pantry and refrigerator first to avoid doubling up. It will save you dollars and avoid food waste.
Believe me, if you are willing to spend the time and effort here, you will enjoy the benefits later and it’s worth every bit of taking the time out to do this. It will be so much easier come time for cooking dinner at the end of your working day.
You won’t be opting for fast foods, and THINK there will be dollar savings and health benefits for you and your family.
Put the Plan in Plain Sight and Stick with It!
Put that plan somewhere you can’t miss it. On the refrigerator perhaps! Or as a screensaver.
At the end of the day, you don’t need to think about what to cook when you have a plan to guide you and it includes the recipe, right?!
#3. Go Shopping With a Shopping List
Use your meal plan and write down a detailed shopping list of ingredients you need for the menu you’ve selected.
I always check the Best-By or Use-By Dates when I shop to get the most value out of what I buy. Then, make sure to plan your meals accordingly. This will ensure you get the most value in nutrition and less waste from your purchases.
Tip: Consuming what you buy within use-by-dates avoids food waste as well as the hit on your wallet.
If Possible, Buy Local Produce That’s In Season
This is better for your health as these food-stuffs are likely to have fewer preservatives and higher content of nutrients than those shipped in from elsewhere, especially from overseas. They would be better for taste as well.
Tip: Fruit/vegetable markets and stalls, local butchers, and fish markets are where you can buy local. This helps support your community also.
Get Some Healthy Meal Kits Delivered
The easy option for healthy meals…
Simply get healthy meal kits delivered to your door.
Most services have a weekly dinner menu that can be varied according to your needs.
Apart from the convenience, this approach eliminates food waste. You only get what the meal requires — there is nothing left wilting in the vegetable tray.
Plans include delivery of meals for a week or just a couple of days a week.
What To Look For?
Subscribe to services providing kits that arrive at your door fresh and well packaged so the goods do not spoil.
Complete kits include recipes, cooking tips, and ingredients. All the prep in sorting the meal plans, the recipes, and shopping is already done for you.
This certainly beats the “what should I get for dinner tonight?” problem.
Apart from eating out at a healthy food venue, this has to be one of the ultimates for busy people.
More Tips to Beat the ‘What to Eat Tonight?’
More tips to help with healthy meals and stress free cooking…
Use meal leftovers from a previous night if they are still fresh and healthy. Make sure to store leftovers in BPA-free containers.
Cooking In Advance
Freezing food for future helps when you don’t feel in the mood for cooking later. For healthy meals in the future, make sure your freezer containers are BPA-free.
Food From The Garden
Add fresh herbs or greens from your garden to increase the vitamins and minerals of quick and easy meals.
Growing herbs helps with those extras or for quick easy meals. An example is cooking a spud in it’s jacket and topping it with herbs.
You can try growing your own produce even, but herbs are an easy answer.
You can also share what you grow with others. Try growing some herbs, fruits, and vegetables for the convenience of fresh produce at hand. You can have chemical-free produce if you choose to garden this way. Good no-fuss examples that I have growing include lemons, tomatoes, pumpkins, parsley, basil, and rosemary.
Stress-free cooking is what we want after a big day at the office.
It takes just a little investment in planning but the pay off is worth it to have healthy meals every day of the week and enjoy the cooking as a bonus.
I hope the above has helped you in some way towards this.