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As a nutritionist, one of the most popular inquiries I get is "How can I prepare healthy foods for weight loss when I hate to cook?" This is a very good question as many people assume that it's almost impossible to be healthy if hours in the kitchen are not spent. Now, I will be honest and say that a smidgen of prep-time may be needed here and there, but the fallacy of slaving away in a hot kitchen, preparing Betty Crocker worthy meals in order to be fit is just that--a fallacy. Below I give my top five nutrition hacks for you to shed the pounds while spending very little time cooking.
1. Pick simple whole foods that are quick to make.
I cook eggs almost every morning and yes, I am a very busy person between work and my family. Putting oil in a pan and cracking two eggs in it takes about one minute. While the eggs cook for around five minutes, I pack my work bag and make sure my four-year old is dressed. Throwing some nutrient-dense berries on a side dish also just takes a few seconds--a healthy breakfast can be made in about five minutes if you pick the right foods. If you literally don't have five minutes in the morning (and sometimes you really don't!), hard-boil a dozen eggs ahead of time so you have two to grab on-the-go every morning.
2. Two words--batch cook.
If you haven't heard of batch cooking yet, it can be a huge time saver. Yes, you may have to dedicate part of your Sunday afternoon doing some prepping but then you will be set for the week! Let's take chicken for example--it's a lean protein that can be used in so many dishes and it's very conducive for weight loss since it's high protein, low-carb, and no sugar. I spend about one hour each Sunday afternoon or evening and I batch cook around two pounds of chicken and then I package it up for the week. I will also batch chop a ton of lettuce and have it rinsed and ready to go in a large plastic bag. How easy is it, then, to dump some lettuce and chicken in a bowl and add the dressing--three minute chicken salads for the whole week may be worth the one hour of prep on Sunday.
3. Choose healthy foods that literally don't take any prep time.
Many of these exist! Think apples, nuts, string cheese, Greek yogurt, berries...the list goes on and on. If you have these already prepared foods on hand, you can throw a healthy snack pack together in two minutes to have on-hand in the workplace so you can combat those office donuts and vending machines.
4. Make extra dinner.
Many of my clients say that dinner is the one meal they may make time to cook. If that's the case, make extra! You already have those cutting boards and pans out so take another 10-15 minutes to make more. This kind of goes along the lines of batch cooking but it's more simple--you can just double the amount so you have an already-prepared lunch for the next day, or you can re-heat for another dinner on the following evening.
5. So you don't have time to make dinner--check out the crock pot!
There are oodles of crock pot recipes online and these "recipes" really only entail throwing a few things in the slow cooker and then hitting the eight hour button. You return from work and voila! Your 10 minutes spent that morning has magically turned into a healthy and delicious hot dinner.
Hopefully some of these tips will help you make healthier meals in much less time. If you're still not convinced, I have the sure-fire way for you to shed the pounds in extremely little food-prep time. Check out our meal plans here which outline everything you're supposed to eat through out the day to lose the weight, and the best part is the meals and snacks are pre-packaged and ready to go! If you're not sure which plan is best for you, schedule a complimentary call with our in-house nutritionist today for personalized guidance!