I don’t have the time to prepare healthy food!“ – how often have I heard this sentence. And how often has it sent me into reflecting and searching in order to open the world of healthy food even to people, who really simply do not have the time to spend hours in the kitchen to prepare exquisite, appealing and super healthy meals, which will make everybody go „Ooooohhhhh“ and „Aaaaaahhhhhhh“.
I admit it: it does take time to wash and clean and cut and chop and peel and and and. I notice it even with a simple Asian Soup, just like the one I am going to prepare tonight, which basically consists of a quite plain tasty broth with added mushrooms, vegetables, seaweed and some noodles. Still the whole thing takes like 45 minutes.
There are possibilities to get prepared for the week, though! Yes, once a week you have to commit and spend some time on preps. There is no way around it except if you have a human kitchen aid. But once you pick up the knife and hit those veggies you know that throughout the week you will be grateful. You will feel fit and well-fed, healthy and satisfied and you will move through your week without having to constantly think about “what will I eat tonight” or – worse – grabbing the wrong food out of convenience all the time!
My father-in-law had this very true saying posted to his kitchen wall:
“Those, who do not invest enough time in their health, later on will have to invest a lot of time in their illness.”
(He himself did not follow this rule and unfortunately it did not take him too far….)
-stock up on your Tupperware or whatever containers of all different sizes you may want to use
-get a small cooler, in which you can keep everything ready in the fridge for the next day -> grab and go.
-use the vegetable compartment of your fridge. The thing actually does have a purpose.
What you need to prepare:
….obviously depends on your particular diet! Do you exercise a lot, so you will need more protein? Are you on a weight-loss diet? Did you cut out on your carbs? Are you a carnivore or a herbivore? Do you want to keep it simple or haute cuisine?
These are your very individual requirements. In the following I have made a short list of what generally should be included in your diet and what you should have at hand. Please adjust according to your personal diet!
-raw almonds, raw walnuts and all kinds of seeds you like and need (flax, sesame, chia….). To make the use of nuts and seeds easier, on prep day grind the amount you will need for the week and keep it ready in the fridge. Like this they are even more digestible.
-do you have enough dried fruits (apricots, raisins, dates…)?
-check your stock of pulses. Use dried ones of all kinds (lentils in various colours, white, black, red beans, chickpeas, green peas). On prep day cook a big amount of mixed pulses for the whole week. If you like, add brown rice or – depending on how you like to use them – prepare a bigger portion of Kichadi (recipe coming up under the Ayurveda tag soon!), which makes a wonderful breakfast for everyday. Your mixture of pulses can be used for practically any dish you want to add vegetable protein to.
-stock up on your Ghee / clarified butter / extra virgin oils for quick cooking, feta cheese, and other packed things you include in your weekly diet.
-check your stock of herbs and spices. You might want to use ready-mixed blends in order to keep the kitchen neat and to avoid forgetting this and that.
-keep a stock of wholegrain carbs (rice, noodles, crackers, bread frozen in small portions, barley, hiob’s tears, quinoa, amaranth)
-get all kinds of vegetables that you like, don’t forget the leafy ones, cut and prepare them and keep them portion-sized in Tupperware the way you will need them throughout the week. Keep them combined according to your meal-plan or keep a cucumber container, a turnip container, a bellpepper container, a broccoli container – as you please.
-do the same thing with the fruits you will need
-pre-boil 3 eggs if you eat them
-meat and fish can be frozen in the required portions, meat like chicken or turkey can also be pre-grilled, so you have it at hand any time
-consider your leftovers as well. They can be nicely used for bfast or lunch the next day.
-prepare your hummus, it keeps fresh for some days in the fridge, the rest can be frozen in portions. Do the same thing if you prepare vegetarian breadspreads.
Now this sounds like a hell of a lot of work! It is some work, but you have to go grocery shopping only ONCE and think about all of this only ONCE! When you’re back home, turn on some nice music, grab a glass of red wine, if you have kids get them to help you, make it a family event or have your favorite TV show running in the background – and you’ll be done in no time!
By the way:
-Green Smoothies can be prepared from all your pre-cut foods and keep fresh at least for a day as no oxidation is going on!
-Soups can be prepared for a whole week, don’t overcook them so when you heat them they just finish cooking without losing their nutritious value.
Comments and questions are very welcome – as always!