How to Get More Time to Cook Healthy Meals

How to Get More Time to Cook Healthy Meals

To have more time you need to spend time. To get more money you need to spend money.

Are either of those statements true? Both are a bit of word play and part of the social vernacular. You can get more money by, for example, investing in stocks that end up performing well and giving you a healthy return. You can also spend your time (and not your money) working on an idea that turns into a service or product that turns into profit.

Time is not something we can control. We all have the same number of hours to work with in the day. People say, “I don’t have enough time”, but we all have the same amount of time. It’s the choices we make that make our lives seem relaxed, in control, or out of control and stressful.

How Do You Spend Your Time

Do you work full-time or part-time? Are you a student? Do you have a dog? What we do in the day is how we “spend” time that we cannot get back. The choices we make every minute are investments in the finite amount of time we all have. If you sit on your ass all day for no good reason are you wasting time? That depends on you, and only you can hold yourself accountable to what you want to get out of life vs. how wisely you spend your time.

Self Awareness of Time

I know what I’m talking about when it comes to wasting time, which is why I’m not going to mince words. I have wasted too much time in my life. Yes, there were times when I was lost, without direction, and needed that time to figure out where I was going to go. But there were also periods when I was being a lazy fuck thinking that a better opportunity and more money would just fall into my lap. It didn’t take long for me to discover that was a load of crap and the time I wasted was gone forever.

The Most Important Investment Tip You’ll Ever Hear

Spend time on your health. If you invest in your health you’ll live longer, be happier, have more energy, be in better physical shape, etc.

It’s simple – if you feel like crap, because you skipped breakfast or scarfed down a greasy McBreakfast while driving to work, you’re not going to perform well in your day.

If you eat without thinking about what you’re eating and don’t ever exercise you’re going to get fat. If you’re already overweight, how does that feel? Do you have to deal with shame, physical pain, self-esteem issues? Has this affected your ability to grow as a person or to get a promotion?

The Best Way to Improve Your Health

A few months ago I posted an article asking the question, What is Healthy Eating? The post was inspired by the book, Nutritional Grail. One paragraph in particular resonated with me:

“The healthiest people I know regularly cook for themselves and their families. Perhaps not every meal is home cooked, but certainly most are prepared at home. Cooking for yourself allows you to customize your meals according to your needs. Additionally, you can choose higher-quality foods and make sure they are prepared properly.”

Nutritional Grail By Christopher James ClarkI’ve said this many times to clients and in various post. When you cook for yourself you know what you are eating. If you want to improve your health this is the number one place to start.

I also think that when you are healthy it is much easier to be happy and content. If we don’t feel well it’s challenging to be happy.

What Are Your Excuses for Not Cooking?

  • I don’t have time after work;
  • I get home too late and tired;
  • I’m too rushed to eat;
  • I don’t know how to cook;
  • I don’t like to cook (what a stinky pile of doo-doo!)

The excuses listed above are relative. All you need is a simple shift in perspective, priorities, or the awareness that you’re fooling yourself. Commit to a time and a place in your calendar to spend the time on cooking healthy meals for you and your family.

So what are the solutions?

How to Get More Time to Cook Healthy Meals

Cook a Week of Meals in 4 Hours eBook by Darren StehleOption #1 – Reduce or Stop Cooking During the Work Week

Cooking takes time – period. If you have a full-time job or career you probably don’t have a lot of time when you come home from work. You may also have a short lunch hour, or you might be expected to be at your desk all day. Do you skip meals or buy fast food when you’re rushed?

On average it takes 30-60 minutes to make a healthy meal (preparation time, cooking, and waiting). If you do this every night you’ll spend 2.5-5 hours per week resulting in ONLY five dinners. That’s a mediocre solution at best!

So what’s the ideal solution?

Spend about 15-minutes to plan your meals for the following week. Choose a few recipes (or a meal plan like I outline in my book), make a bulk grocery list and check your fridge and cupboards for supplies you need to buy.

Read my post, 7 Top Meal Planning Tips to help make this process more efficient.  

Next step – buy your groceries on Friday night or Saturday morning, or use a home delivery service and place your order online. Total time shopping at the grocery store: about 1-hour. The more you shop at the same store, the more quickly you will get the job done.

Later on Saturday or Sunday you’ll prepare and cook a week of ready-to-eat meals in 2.5-4 hours. The total duration depends on things like the size of your oven, the total number of meals, and foods that take longer to cook.

On average it takes me three hours when I cook once per week for my partner and I. The result?

  • 4-5 vegetable dishes
  • 3-4 meat dishes
  • Approximately 24 meals

This gives the two of us lunches and dinners for the entire week, weekend included.

healthy breakfast oatmeal with fruit and nutsWhen I shop I  buy extra food staples to make 2-3 salads per week and breakfast supplies. We like eggs for breakfast with spinach or zucchini (check out my yummy zucchini and parmesan omelette). Sometimes we have bacon that I made as part of my weekly cooking. Sometimes I’ll just cook a big bowl of healthy breakfast oatmeal.

Healthy snacks include cottage cheese with fruit and nuts, or a kale protein smoothie. I’ll buy these food staples on top of the ingredients I need for my planned, weekly bulk cooking.

For a list of easy to prepare work week snacks, read my post, 10 Healthy Snacks for Work.

My Method is the Solution to “Not Enough Time”

Things only seem complicated when we don’t understand them or have little experience or practice. This is why I wrote an entire book on the subject to help you discover that with regular practice, cooking a week of meals can become a habit.

What are the other benefits of cooking your meals for the week in one session? You’ll have more time to relax when you get home from work and much less stress around meal time.

Now you won’t need to worry about what to cook. No rushing to the grocery store for ingredients, or feeling over-hungry. Instead you can relax knowing that you only have to open a few containers from the fridge and heat up a ready-to-eat meal.

So now what are you going to do with all this extra time?

Eat well to be well.


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PS – this was my 100th post! Woo hoo!