Do you think you are too busy to commit to a Real Food diet? I’m not going to lie to you. It does take time and energy to get it done. I create a heck of a lot more dishes than I did when I was stopping at the drive-thru every night. I thank God every day that I have a husband that doesn’t mind throwing dishes in the dishwasher for our family……….even when he has to do it twice a day. The mess I make cooking is insane. It may have something to do with the fact that I’m not really the best cook. I am super slow at chopping and my basic knowledge of cooking consists of my Mother’s training when I was a child, one home ec class, and countless hours of Food Network shows. I don’t let my lack of training stop me though.
When I decided I needed to switch to Real Foods to heal my digestive system, I started by giving cooking a lot of thought. I don’t like to fail at anything, so I set about putting systems into place to get the job done. Just like you, I worry about how I am going to be able to find the time to prepare 3 real food meals while balancing everything else I have to do for family and work. Perfection gets in the way for a lot of us. I don’t want perfection to get in your way. Do the best you can and little by little you will find that you are living the real food lifestyle that your body craves.
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5 Kitchen Tricks for Juggling Real Food and Real Life
Know what you have. Use clear labeled containers so that you always know what you have on hand. I find it so frustrating when I’m in a hurry and I grab a box from the pantry and find that it is almost empty. That is a major bummer that usually means that I have to change the meal plan. Keep lists of what you need so that you always have a well-stocked pantry. Plenty of basic ingredients will help you to whip up meals in a jiffy!
Plan your meals. Meal planning can take on many forms. From an elaborate detailed plan to a simple list. Don’t fool yourself. If you want to get real food to the table on a regular basis, you need to have some sort of a plan. Winging it takes too much time and you just don’t have the time to be staring into the refrigerator with a puzzled look all day. Make a list of the meals you want to cook for the week and check out my printable meal planning calendar if you are feeling really organized. The printable calendar is such a help to me!
Make a big batch and save some for another meal. I know this may sound silly, but sometimes it’s important to point out the obvious. It takes no longer to boil a small pot of pasta as it does to boil a larger pot. The same can be said for browning ground beef, making pots of soup, batches of muffins, and pancakes. I like to plan to have leftovers. That way we have lunch the next day or breakfast for another day.
Use a programmable crock pot. Programmable crock pots are even better than regular crock pots. One of the biggest complaints that I hear about crock pot cooking is that the food is too dry. That often happens when you make an 8 hour recipe and try to stretch it to 10 because of the work day. The programmable crock cooks for the set time and then switches to warm. At the end of the day, dinner is nice and hot, but not overcooked. Score!
Use healthy convenience items. Made from scratch is always a good way to go, but sometimes there just isn’t time for that. Rather than throwing in the towel and heading for the nearest fast food restaurant, consider using healthy convenience items. I am finding more and more healthy and inexpensive convenience foods at my local stores. Take some time and really read the ingredient labels. You will discover that there are jar pasta sauces, organic canned soups, and certainly bagged salad greens that are great options to add to your meals. Frozen fruits and vegetables are an easy alternative to fresh. Frozen produce keeps longer if your schedule does not allow for frequent shopping. Although expensive, pre-chopped produce is a great option when you are in a big hurry.
Eating healthy is all about priorities. Is it important to you to feed your family healthy real food meals? If so, you will find the time. If you use these tips, you will soon discover that making time to prepare real food meals doesn’t have to take all day. Real food with a busy family schedule……..yes, it is possible. To get you started, check out these 10 Kid Approved No Recipe Dinner Ideas.
For more simple recipes your family is sure to love, make sure you check out the Juggling recipe index. There is something for everyone there. I add new recipes all of the time so make sure you check back often. You will also want to grab this free meal-planning printable calendar to make your meal planning easier. It has areas to plan your daily activities and your evening meal prep to keep you organized. Make sure you subscribe to our newsletter by entering your email at the top of this page so that you don’t miss any of our new recipes and tips.