Americans have experienced the rush of daily living with
demands from work, school or family obligations. Eating
healthy can sometimes take a backseat to more pressing
it may seem nearly impossible to make healthy choices when you’re
so busy," says Grace Fjeldberg, Mayo Clinic Health System
registered dietitian and nutritionist, "there are tips
and tricks that will make mealtime easier and save you time in
the long run. It all starts in the pantry."
yourself time, always have the essentials stocked in your
pantry and refrigerator to decrease "emergency"
grocery store trips. Always keep fruits and veggies available
in any form, such as fresh, frozen, canned, dried or juiced.
When the fresh food is gone, canned or frozen options can help
fill the gaps. Also, canned and frozen options are sometimes
more convenient as they are already washed and cut. Think
convenience — in some instances you may want to consider
purchasing pre-cut fresh veggies or fruit to save time.
recommends having these foods available in the house for
healthy meals or snacks:
Whole grains: rice blends, pastas, tortillas, breakfast
cereals, crackers, English muffins or mini bagels, and
Proteins: low-fat refried beans or other canned beans,
water-packed tuna, lean pork, pre-cut lean beef, tofu, fish
and poultry. Even consider pre-cooked meats and low-sodium,
low-fat lunch meats.
Dairy: Low-fat yogurts and cottage cheese (these often come in
single-serve portions, which make it easy to grab-’n-go),
low-fat string cheese, pre-shredded cheese, and fat-free or 1
Other foods: Single-serve popcorn bags, whole-grain pretzels,
hummus, single-serve peanut butter or low-fat dressing
packets, single-serve dried fruit or nut packets and
whole-grain granola bars. Also, keep pasta or pizza sauces in
the pantry to add to your favorite whole-grain wrap or English
muffin for a quick pizza.
tips and planning:
have all this wonderful wholesome food in your house, but now
what do you do with it? The first step in saving time is
prepping some of your grocery store goodies, Fjeldberg says.
Once you get unpacked from your shopping trip, wash and prep
fresh fruits or veggies you’ve purchased. By doing all of
this chopping at one time, you’ll save time later in the
week and do fewer dishes.
washing and prepping fruits and veggies, heat up the stove to
boil some of those whole grains you packed away in the pantry.
Many whole grains take at least 30-60 minutes to cook. By
cooking grains in advance, you can reheat them later in the
week or add them to a cold salad. You can also pre-cook many
meats to reheat later in the week.
you have everything prepped, the fun part begins — planning.
Most people view meal planning as labor-intensive and
difficult. To avoid getting stressed about having specific
meals planned, be creative in what you prepare. Reading
recipes and gathering ingredients takes time. For example, if
you already have rice and chicken cooked, pull out a frozen
vegetable stir fry mix for a quick stir fry. That same chicken
you already have cooked from the night before can be mixed
with a Greek yogurt dressing and added to a wrap with fresh
possibilities and ideas for healthy eating are endless,
Fjeldberg says. With a small amount of preparation and
planning, you can have a fresh, wholesome meal prepared in
less time than it takes to order and wait for food at the