I often hear this from my clients or friends about a balanced diet: I don’t have time to cook and think about my meals! And to be honest, who has the time and mental space to think about recipes, come up with new meal ideas, and cook daily from scratch? I don’t, and I’m sure not many do or are willing to do that.
Guess what? You don’t have to spend hours cooking each day or every week! And you don’t even have to meal prep on Sundays – which can be overwhelming, too! In this article, I’ll share some time-saving tips and cooking hacks to help you still enjoy balanced and nourishing meals without spending endless hours in the kitchen.
Time-saving Tips for Nourishing Meals
- Grasp the Basics of the Balanced Plate
Imagine a simple formula that always results in a nourishing meal—this is the magic of the balanced plate. The key is to focus on variety and include plants from various food groups in every dish. Aim to incorporate at least four groups in every meal: legumes, whole grains, greens & veggies, nuts & seeds, and berries & fruits. This approach ensures you get a diverse range of nutrients, flavours, and textures in your diet.
Start by building your plate with a generous portion of leafy greens and colourful veggies. Next, add a serving of each cooked whole grains and legumes for satiety and plant-based protein. And then, top it off with some nuts or seeds for healthy fats. Voilà! You’ve got a balanced and nourishing meal in no time.
“Imagine a simple formula that always results in a nourishing meal—this is the magic of the balanced plate.”
- Batch Prep Grains and Legumes
One of the most time-consuming aspects of cooking is preparing grains and legumes. But fear not! You can make your life easier by batch prepping these essential ingredients. Cook a large batch of grains and legumes once a week or every two weeks, and store them in the fridge or freezer. This way, you’ll always have a quick and ready-to-use base for your meals.
For example, cook a kilogram of beans or lentils at once, freeze most of it in individual portions. Use the rest throughout the week to create nourishing bowls, salads, and various plant-based dishes. This simple strategy will save you time and effort while ensuring you have nutritious plant proteins readily available.
- Harness the Power of a Food Processor
If you have a food processor sitting in your kitchen, it’s time to make the most of it! A food processor can be your best ally in meal preparation! And especially so, when it comes to prepping those basic ingredients like carrots, garlic, onions, and cabbage.
In just 15 minutes, you can grate, chop, and mince these vegetables, creating a month’s worth of cooking basics. Having them ready to use will save you valuable time during busy weekdays when you’d rather spend your time enjoying a delicious meal than doing the chopping and dicing yourself.
4. Keep a Few Frozen Ingredients
I always have some frozen berries, spinach and green peas, along with my batch cooked frozen legumes and whole grains for a real quick meal that doesn’t require much work to be done. I simply heat them up in a skillet with a splash of water, spices and some tomato sauce and I have a quick stew ready. This may sound quite simplistic, but it was really a game-changer for me in a kitchen. Having some basics in the freezer gives me a lot of comfort and a knowledge I can have a quick meal in a matter for minutes. And this, my friends, saved a lot of unnecessary hunger snacking so far.
Maintaining a balanced and nourishing diet doesn’t have to be a daunting task, even with a busy schedule. By understanding the basics of a balanced plate, batch prepping grains and legumes, and utilizing time-saving tools like a food processor and a freezer, you can simplify your cooking process without compromising on nutrition.
Remember, no one has more time than others to care for their health. It’s all about priorities. By prioritizing your health and incorporating these cooking hacks into your routine, you’ll find that nourishing yourself with plant-based meals becomes an enjoyable and achievable goal.
So, why not give these time-saving tips a try? Share your favorite time-saving tips and cooking hacks in the comments below, and let’s inspire each other to prioritize health without the hassle.
And remember, taking care of our health is a non-negotiable priority. Your well-being is worth the investment of time and effort, and with these time-saving tips, you’ll be well on your way to a healthier and happier you.