The idea of eating real food for every meal sounds amazing. It is nourishing, beautiful and makes you feel healthier.
But the reality can be much more overwhelming. Real food takes time to buy, cook and eat. It takes thinking ahead and using real ingredients instead of the instant kind.
So how do we make eating real food faster so that we can fit it into our already busy lives?
This is what we are going to talk about today. I hope that by the end of this post you have some helpful takeaways you can incorporate in your own life today.
7 Tips to Make Eating Real Food Faster
1. Eat the same thing for one meal a day
The less complicated you make your meals, the easier they are to stick to. One of the easiest ways to do this is to eat the same thing for one meal each day. This may be your favorite oatmeal for breakfast or a salad or sandwich for lunch.
Most likely your family won’t want to eat the same dinner everyday, but if you are single or don’t have any kids at home this may be an option.
Eating the same thing for one meal means you can buy and cook in bulk, and use less brain power to figure out what you are going to eat. Less decisions also keeps you from talking yourself out of healthy choices because it takes the guesswork out of that meal.
2. Meal planning
Meal planning is a great way to know what you are eating each day and what you need to buy while you are at the store.
Your real food diet will be cheaper and quicker if you can do all of your shopping on one day each week (or every other week).
Then, during the week have a list or use a calendar to keep track of which meals you will eat on which day. This is especially effective for dinners, which can be overwhelming to cook for your family if you don’t know what you need ahead of time.
To find out more about meal planning and how it can help you, check out this blog post —> 5 Easy Steps to Real Food Meal Planning
3. Meal prepping
Meal prepping just means making as much food as you can ahead of time, so that when it is time to eat you can just grab and go.
Doing these small things on a weekend can make your life easier all week long.
So take a Sunday afternoon and think about your week. Maybe you already shopped but your refrigerator is a mess with tons of real food.
Look at your meal plan and see what you can make ahead to save you time during the week.
- Use glass or plastic containers to portion out your salad or snacks.
- Cook the meats you are going to use for dinners.
- Chop up veggies for easy snacks.
- If you have the same things for several meals (like rice), cook all that you need with the first meal and save the rest for the next meal.
- Make any dressings, condiments or mixes you might need.
As you get better at meal prepping, it will be quicker and you will find more that you can do ahead of time. It just takes some planning and practice, but it will make a big motivation in your motivation to eat real food throughout the week.
4. Batch cooking
Similar to meal prepping, batch cooking allows you to make many meals in one setting and then eat the meals all week long.
This is usually done all in one day, such as a Saturday or Sunday. Here are the steps to a successful batch cooking session:
- Research the meals (usually freezer meals) that you want to use and gather them all in one place. I usually print out the recipes for easy access.
- Make a grocery list of all the ingredients you need for multiple recipes.
- When you get home, organize your recipes by ingredients.
- Combine ingredients into ziploc bags or throw away containers (think casseroles).
- Label your bags or containers with the recipe name and cooking instructions.
- Put them in your freezer in an organized fashion.
- Pull out the meal the night before to defrost for quicker cooking at dinner time.
For more information on freezer cooking and where to find good recipes, check out this blog post —> Freezer Meals Take The Worry Out Of Dinnertime.
5. Meal delivery subscription services
If you are more concerned with time instead of money, meal delivery services might be the right fit for you.
They are usually more expensive than shopping for the food yourself, but there are other advantages besides money:
- Meals are portioned for what you order.
- Meals are planned and the ingredients gathered.
- Meals are delivered to your door, so you don’t have to go to the store.
- Meals are made of real food, not microwave ready.
- There are different recipes to choose from.
- The food is really delicious.
If this sounds like something you would like to try, most meal delivery programs have a coupon off your first order. Here are some popular options:
Here is a review I did about Hello Fresh: Hello Fresh Review for Meal Kit Delivery Skeptics.
Here are some other popular meal kit delivery options:
6. Make a go-to simple meal list
Real food doesn’t have to be elaborate to get the job done. Simple meals are sometimes the best because of time and ease to make.
What do I mean by simple meals? Meals with only a few ingredients or that are quick to throw together.
Here are some examples of our go-to simple meals:
- Grilled cheese sandwiches and fruit
- Instant Pot mac and cheese
- Pulled pork sandwiches
- Breakfast for dinner (bacon and eggs, waffles, etc).
Make a list of your favorite simple meals and make sure you always have the ingredients for those meals in your pantry. That way if life gets hectic or things come up, you always have something to feed your family that is healthy and that they love.
7. Stock your pantry
This topic will get a whole post for itself, but for right now let’s go over the basics.
Stocking your pantry and keeping it that way is vital for success on your real food journey. You don’t want to wait until it is dinnertime to find out if you have any food in the house.
To stock your pantry, you should start with these items:
- Dry baking staples such as flour, sugar (of some kind), salt, baking essentials, etc.
- Dry goods in bulk such as rice, beans, pasta, oats, etc.
- Ingredients for your go-to meals that we discussed above.
- Canned foods (from the store or garden)
By having these basic items, you can make real food meals without running to the store as often. As above, a little planning beforehand can make a big difference during your busy week.
How can you incorporate these tips into your life? Test them out and see if they work!
Eating real food is a healthy choice that can have many benefits for your family. But it isn’t easy. It takes work and forethought. But you can do it.
How do you already make real food faster for your family? Let us know in the comments below. And if you found this post helpful, please share. Thanks!