If you're a busy individual or don't like to cook, the time it takes to actually prepare a meal can be one of the biggest barriers to sticking with a nutritious diet. Fortunately, there are some strategies you can try to cut down on the work of cooking well-rounded meals - and we're not talking about microwave dinners! Try out the shortcuts below to make home cooking less of a chore.
Slow Cookers - There are two advantages to using a slow cooker. First, they can cook a family-size meal without needing your constant attention. Second, many slow cooker recipes use small and simple ingredient lists while still providing the protein and vegetables you need in your diet. Search for some "set it and forget it" slow cooker recipes that will please your palette without any real effort.
Cooking in Bulk - Get all of your meal planning taken care of for the week (or even the month) by cooking several dishes at once, then freezing them for later use. Unfortunately, this still requires all of the preparation and effort of cooking - but you may fall in love with the time it saves you on dinner after a long day.
Restaurants and Take Out – Of course, the ultimate kitchen time-saver is to order out. There's nothing unhealthy about that, so long as you're mindful of what you're deciding to get. For example, the freshly pre-made meals at your local grocery are usually equivalent to what you'd make at home, but more expensive. Also, many restaurants have healthy dishes or modifications you can request. If you're not sure where to start, Cooking Light has "Best of" lists for healthy meals at a variety of restaurants, as well as tips for making healthy modifications to your order.