Raised by a single parent I grew up on fast food because it was the easy thing to do. After a long day at work, who wants to come home and cook a meal for two and a well-balanced one at that and probably for a picky kid? It’s so easy to just grab something fast that unfortunately is usually fatty and loaded with preservatives.
How do you find the time? As a single woman cooking can be inconvenient in many ways but when you make it a habit and find shortcuts you can pull together quick meals, even healthy ones.
I try to eat dinner at home during the workweek at least 3-4 days and take my lunch to work everyday when I can because eating out in New York is not cheap and eating healthy in New York is ridiculously expensive…you have to be Rockefeller to feed a fella!
Dinners need to be quick and easy since I usually hit the gym after work, when I come home and after showering I am not in the mood or have limited time to cook and if l can make something delicious and fast I’m on it. It can be difficult to be creative with meals and not get stuck eating the same thing over and over again when you have limited time.
I scour “Pintrest”, “Shape”,” My Fitness Pal” for recipes. My top go to is seafood mainly salmon because the prep is so easy with salt, pepper, sometimes a little Adobo seasoning and Dill. A quick 5 to 7 minutes in the oven depending on how you like your salmon cooked and part of your meal is complete.
For a side my go-to is cauliflower, tastes amazing roasted but that takes a little more time in the oven so I rice it. Take the cauliflower break it from the stem, wash, break the pieces into smaller pieces then put them into the food processor and turn on grate. This chops the cauliflower finely so it looks like rice add a little salt, pepper and some of your favorite seasoning, cook until the raw smell disappears and the cauliflower is tender. I like to add a drizzle of Thai Basil Stir Fry sauce to give it flavor. If you need a little more to fill your belly, steam some spinach or cook up some black beans for more protein.
I buy a pound of salmon and that usually yields about 3 to 4 servings so whatever is left over I will have for lunch and dinner the next day. If you don’t want the same thing for lunch toss the salmon in with spinach add the black beans or chickpeas, goat cheese or no cheese and add your favorite salad dressing. Cheaper than the $14 salad with fish added at your favorite salad place. This is a pretty filling meal for me post workout but if you have little one’s to feed, that may turn their nose up to salmon and cauliflower try some healthy chili or enchilada stuffed potatoes. Sub regular potato with sweet potato, brown ground beef, or turkey add fajita seasoning or chili seasoning, top with black beans, kidney beans, cheese and a dab of sour cream, very filling and healthier than takeout. In the winter I like to use the crock-pot to cook fun casseroles, stews and chili, which are pretty kid friendly dishes and require little effort.
The best way to cut the worry out of making meals during the week is to plan your meals ahead of time and try to do as much prep on Sunday, cutting or chopping ingredients that take up valuable cooking time. I especially recommend prepping the cauliflower ahead of time because it can be a messy task. The one thing I need to get better at is mixing up my meals. I have a tendency to stick to the same meals because I usually forget to make a grocery list of all the new recipes I want to try. I promised my self I would get better at this so I have more variety and won’t get bored. I am sure there is an app somewhere for grocery list and recipe tracking.
I have tried meal service plans where they send you all the ingredients thinking they would be faster but there are usually too many ingredients and too much prep involved for the time I have available. Most of those services tend to repeat recipes and I feel if I am paying for the service there should be a ton of variety. I will say that I discovered some really great spices and vegetables I have never had while subscribed to the service.
I found that if you season your food and it has intense flavor the flavor fills you up and satisfies your palette. I usually add onions, shallots, Adobo, garlic and other spices to make my dishes savory.
I am always on the lookout for delicious lunch friendly recipes, so if you have any suggestions please share and tell us your time saving meal shortcuts.
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