I often receive inquiries about the food I make for myself each week. Usually this is followed by said inquirer lamenting that he or she doesn’t have time to shop and cook meals at home. I get it. And I totally agree, it’s difficult.
When I first moved to New York, my lifestyle was quite different. I’ve always enjoyed eating healthy and exercising but taking care of myself in this way was not necessarily a priority. In the past my habits were very different – I didn’t really eat any kale (!).
My days probably began with instant oatmeal and a Starbucks coffee. Followed by lunch of a turkey wrap with some sort of a sweet (ahh the Conde Nast cafeteria). And then I’d probably pick up a salad or order sushi/ something random for dinner. If I was working late, I’d skip the gym and sit on the couch watching SVU reruns or Gossip Girl with my roommates. Not a lot of planning or balancing going on. That feels like a lifetime ago.
These days, I know a lot more and my priorities have changed. My schedule is also somewhat different so I can spend more time shopping and cooking. It has become a part of my routine so that even when I was in grad school and working with very little free time, I still managed to devote part of each Sunday to planning my week.
When I am short on time and can’t do a full prep, here are the top three things I’ll do to help me make a few healthy meals throughout the week:
1) Cook a large batch of quinoa (or brown rice, or some other grain) this only takes 20 minutes
2) Rinse and drain a can of beans to keep in the fridge
3) Roast 2-3 sweet potatoes
If you multi task this entire process could be finished in 45 minutes (or less depending on how long the potatoes take to cook)
If I only have time to run to the bodega or corner store (I mean, even Walgreens has food these days) here are the items I’d buy:
1) hummus + a vegetable for dipping (baby carrots, red pepper, celery – quick snack or mini lunch if you’re really in a jam)
2) bananas + peanut butter (or apples + almonds, some fruit and nut combo for breakfast or a portable snack)
3) pre-bagged greens
oh and ground coffee (I save so much money when I make coffee at home and I don’t end up buying a random breakfast item from a coffee shop).
From these few items you can definitely make at least 2 meals a day:
Breakfast = banana + peanut butter and sweet potatoes. sort of random but, hey.
Snack = hummus + veggies.
Dinner = quinoa + beans + greens.
and lunch is the wildcard.
Super simple, but doable if you are in a pinch.
what do you think? would these 3 prep moves and shopping suggestions help you make meals for a few days?