Are you struggling with easy ways to eat healthy when you don’t have time to cook?
I know this situation. Picture this: You have been working all day and halfway through the day, you realize you didn’t set any meat out to thaw for supper. Oh no!
Then, at the end of the day, you go home and look around the kitchen for meal ideas. You’re drained and hungry and you’re trying to come up with some easy ways to eat healthy in less than 30 minutes. But no meal ideas are coming to mind. By then, everyone is home. They are drained and super hungry, too.
Now you’re stuck. Pizza Rolls in a pinch it is! Not the healthiest way to eat but we’re going for convenience here! Don’t get stuck.
In this post, I’m going to show you:
- 5 easy ways to eat healthy when you don’t have time to cook at the end of the day.
- Some examples of easy weeknight meals for families that my own family loves.
- The best tools recommended by myself as well as other busy rural women.
- Some quick inspiration for simple meal planning for beginners. Because we all have to start somewhere.
Because the hardest part of having a meal ready to eat at the end of the day is actually doing the work ahead of time. Believe me – I know this because I’ve been there, too.
No longer do you have to feel caught in a time crunch of feeling like you failed. You can make time to feed your family healthy meals. You can start right here with these easy ways to eat healthy. Hone it and own it just a little bit at a time and in no time, it’ll be part of your routine.
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Menu Plan with Your Family
Sometimes the hardest part of eating healthy is trying to decide what to eat. Especially ahead of time. Here are some meal planning ideas for families to be involved with the family meal planning.
So, ask your family or whomever you’re cooking for what they really want to eat for the week or month. I find that sometimes the weeks get so crazy that planning meals a month out is better for us. If I can have the plan in my hands at the start of the month, I can even start prepping sooner and batch even more meals.
It’s super simple. Just ask them what they want to eat. Let them know what ingredients you already have on hand to help you save on grocery costs. Use what you have on hand to help you plan weeknight meals for families as well as seasonal meals for when your family is in the field or checking for new baby calves.
For example, we have lots and lots of canned tomatoes and other vegetables sitting downstairs in jars. In the freezer, we have lots of pork and lots of chicken wings. So, I’m going to bring that to the attention of my family and we can plan meals around what we already have so I can prep it and make it easier on everyone.
Meal Prep Before the Week Starts
Ahhh…Meal prepping. You sound like such a good thing. You are a good thing.
But some days…I just don’t wanna.
Well, let me just say that overcoming these feelings of not wanting to meal prep can reduce the stresses later of “end of the day not knowing what to make for dinner” feelings. Trust me – If you have a plan in place and ingredients in hand, meal prepping can be a breeze.
It’s also fun to meal prep with other people. If you have a group of friends in the same bind struggling, maybe you could all come together and make up a bunch of meals. You can make it a party and try out some cool tools. Here’s some examples of tools that will make things easier for you.
Simpler Tools for Cooking Foods Faster
We’d all love to just snap our fingers and instantly have easy weeknight meals for families. Guess what? There are tools out there that make fresh cooking FASTER or Easier if we have all the ingredients prepped and ready to go. These three tools (and there are more) are tools I use and love to have fresh meals quickly at the end of the day.
Crock Pot (Slow Cooker) is still slow but sometimes slower is better. You can throw in ingredients in the morning and have a meal by evening. Plus, it makes your home smell amazing when you come home.
Pressure Cooker, such as the InstantPot is all the rage these days. Why? Because it can cook Mac n Cheese in less than 10 minutes. You can have an entire spaghetti meal in less than 30 minutes. Amazing!
I’m just getting used to my pressure cooker but I’m loving it already.
Air Fryer – This popular tool cooks with no oil and makes your food taste like it’s bad for you.
Panini Press – For hot sandwiches in minutes, this thing is a hit.
Freezeable Meals – I adore pulling out a casserole from the freezer all ready to go into the oven. My biggest problem is not making these meals ahead of time. It’s actually pulling them out in enough time for them to thaw so they can cook faster.
Designate Days for Setting out Frozen Ingredients or Meals
Ok, so this is my biggest weakness. Actually making time to run down to my food storage room to grab ingredients. And then remembering later that I forgot and feeling like a failure. Drat…I guess I’ll get out the Pizza Rolls.
No – Not so fast. I have found that if I make this a part of my morning routine, I have much better success. Really, this takes 5 minutes if you know what you’re looking for. And you don’t have to do it every day either!
You can get ingredients for 2 to 3 days depending on what your refrigerator can hold. So, take a look at your menu, ingredients you need and go get your stuff before anyone else even knows what you’re doing!
Make Bigger Batches of Meals for Leftovers
This is the final tip I have for you when you don’t have time to cook. Make more when you do. Then you’ll have leftovers to reheat on the nights you don’t.
My family and I love leftovers. And some meals honestly taste better the second or third time around. I can make more meat balls, bierocks and nachos to put away for leftovers that save us a ton of time later on in the week.
This is by far my most favorite tip for you. Make the foods your family loves in a larger amount so they can enjoy them day after day. But with less cooking time involved. It will take the same amount of time for you to cook this amazing meal for your family with more food to put away as it will to cook the proper amount for one meal. Keep that in mind and quit stressing.
Oh – and don’t forget to account for leftovers in your meal plan. You really don’t have to cook every day. Some of my favorite quick weeknight meals and easy dinner recipes for family include:
Bottom line – This feeling of not having time to cook anything at the end of the day and feeling stuck in a rut is so bothersome. I’ve given you some easy ways to eat healthy when you don’t have time to cook that will help you make up that time. So that you can enjoy it doing other things.
And also so that you can be easier on yourself. Because at the end of the day, we want to rest. We want to relax and enjoy our time with the ones we love. Not spend it stressed out searching for meal ideas! Not cool.
And we all want easy ways to eat healthy. Well, it’s super easy to start meal planning with your family. Remember to ask them what they want and include them in the process. Incorporate ingredients you have into the planning process and set ingredients out to thaw the morning before you use it or cook it.
Cook in batches and with friends. Make it fun and taste everything. Oh – and don’t be afraid of leftovers.
Remember that this busy season is a season of your life. Your family could survive on pizza rolls if you want but you choose to provide healthy meals for them. You can do anything you want but you can’t do everything you want. You can find time to plan and provide healthy meals if you want it.
And now you have some great strategies for easy ways to eat healthy
I hope I’ve given you plenty of tips and inspiration for go-guess work when your brain is fried and you just don’t want to think of meals by the end of the long day.
And I do hope you try my easy healthy dinner ideas for your family. They are really delicious.
When you don’t have time to cook, don’t be so hard on yourself. Instead, celebrate the fact that you did take the time to plan and prepare an amazing healthy meal for you and your family. You’ll honestly wonder how you did it.
~ Much Love ~
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