The Blog

General Health and Wellness | June 1, 2015

Healthy & Homemade on a Time Budget!

The easiest ways to ensure that we are eating whole, real foods is to cook at home! By making food from real ingredients, not only do we eat more nutritious meals, we don’t over-salt and over-sweeten nearly as much as restaurants do. Getting comfortable with the process, from raw ingredients to a delicious meal, is both rewarding and comforting in that we know exactly what we are putting into our bodies. Many of us feel like we simply don’t have the time, and we have all ordered take-out or stopped by the nearby fast-food restaurant because it is so convenient. However, eating home-cooked meals doesn’t have to be so time-consuming! Here are eight tips to get you started on a tight money and time budget:

  1. Bring a lunchbox to work or school with leftovers from last night’s dinner. Cook extra food the night before and pack your lunch right after dinner so you don’t forget during morning rush hour! Don’t even have time to cook most nights? Spend Sunday afternoon making a big healthy meal in the oven or slow-cooker and a bunch of healthy snacks so you feel prepared for the week ahead.

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2. Get your kitchen set up just right. Have the olive oil, salt, pepper, and other spices on hand right next to the stove. Buy a non-stick pan so clean-up will be easier afterwards. Have an organized fridge and remember to go through it once in a while to throw out anything that’s gone bad and refresh your memory on what’s available.

3. If you’re not a cooking aficionado and have trouble deciding what to cook (or how to cook it for that matter,) Google “easy healthy recipes” with the main ingredients you have, or download a mobile app like SparkRecipes right on your phone! If you enjoy a recipe, make it a “go-to” meal!

4. Keep it simple. The fewer steps, the more likely you are to stick with it. Try tossing a stirfry of mish-mash vegetables in a pan with low-sodium soy sauce, garlic and some Sriracha or lime juice for flavor, and cook a big pot of brown rice or quinoa to serve it over! Make enough for the family x2 and let everyone pack their tupperware for lunch tomorrow.

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5. Remember to move meat or poultry from the freezer to the fridge the night before so it’s safely defrosted and ready for you!

6. Be open-minded and get creative, especially when ingredients are running low. Don’t be afraid to eat meals that don’t seem to ‘go together’ as long as you’re getting plenty of veggies!

7. Use a slow-cooker. Throwing in some meat or poultry, veggies, spices, and sauce with low sodium broth doesn’t take very long to prep in the morning and by dinnertime, a delicious aromatic meal will be waiting!

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8. Most importantly, have a routine. We recommend carving out a few hours on Sundays to put on some music and groove while you prep versatile foods like hard boiled eggs, shredded slow-cooker chicken breasts, veggie sticks or salads, homemade trail mix with almonds, brown rice or quinoa, pasta salad with fresh veggies and a little olive oil… sounds so good it makes you want to get preppin’, eh?

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