Eating healthy does not have to be time consuming and expensive
The importance of preparing and cooking your own food cannot be understated. Allowing food companies, supermarkets, and restaurants to dictate the quality and preparation of your food can have real consequences for your nutrition. While many would agree with this sentiment, how many times have you heard or even given the excuse that eating healthy food is too costly or time consuming? That quality ingredients are too expensive and that cooking every night is a chore. The truth is that with some preplanning, some easy to learn skills, and some advanced preparation you can eat nutritious food morning, afternoon, night, all week, year-round.
Food costs are at an all time high with food consuming a greater proportion of everyone’s budget than ever before. It is only natural to attempt to reduce food costs and at first glance less nutritious food appears to win out. Pre-prepared, boxed, and canned foods certainly have higher number of calories per dollar then raw supplies in a store. However, people who consume quality meats, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and grains naturally reduce their overall caloric intake related to the satiety that these foods provide in comparison to their pre-prepared, sugar added, salt laden, pretend food. And let’s be honest, most people could use to be consuming less but better calories. Less calories less dollars.
In 2013 greater than 50% of meals were eaten outside the home, often at a significantly increased cost in comparison to a home prepared meal. How many times have you yourself, gone out for a meal simply because you did not have food readily available in the home? Can you imagine how much money could be saved just by reducing meals outside the home by 50%? For the average American in 2017 that would equate to $116 per month. More meals in-home, less dollars required.
Finally, there is the incalculable cost of health savings. With chronic disease increasing at a rapid rate, many of which are directly and indirectly related to poor nutrition, maintaining good health is extremely important to your overall financial picture. The 99-cent frozen pre-prepared dinner contains significant and dangerous hidden costs. Better health, less dollars on healthcare. Eating healthy does not have to be expensive!
So even if the overall costs are roughly equivalent, how are you supposed to dedicate time every day, multiple times a day, to cooking nutritious food. No one has time for that, right? I certainly do not. So, let’s make a simple adjustment. Let’s prepare several meals ahead of time and refrigerate them for later consumption. Let’s prepare all of the meals for an entire week in one or two cooking sessions. Depending on your skill as a cook and your food selections, an entire week of meals can be cooked in two to three hours. You certainly spend as much time traveling to, within, and from restaurants as that. Everyone has two to three hours to dedicate each week to healthy food.
Refrigerated meals can be safely kept for four days and for months if frozen. There are many options available for what to prepare: soup, chili, steak, chicken, roasts, rice, sautéed vegetables, casseroles, pastas, hard-boiled eggs, and salads. You are only limited by what you can store. When you are ready to eat, the meal simply needs to be pulled from the refrigerator and reheated. For many people it is an adjustment eating the same meal several times in a week but truly good food never really gets old.
By buying food in bulk and preparing food in advance for the week, you can eat nutritious food every single day of the year, with equal to or less time commitment and money than you are currently spending. I have attached an example shopping list with recipes for you to give it try! Happy eating.
Example Shopping List
Whole Roasted Chicken
Top Round Roast
Boiled Basmati Rice