One of the biggest obstacles I see people come up against when it comes to eating healthy is a lack of time. If I thought eating better meant spending hours and hours in the kitchen each week cooking and preparing food, I would have given up long ago. And although I’m not as picky as I used to be, if something doesn’t taste good, I’m just not going to stick with eating it over the long haul.
It was the challenge of having limited time and a picky taste combined with my desire to eat healthy that led me to a few innovative strategies for eating healthy in a hurry.
The method I’m about to share with you here makes preparing meals from scratch easier, cheaper, tastier, and most of all faster than going to fast food places! In fact, I have made healthy meals that lasted for days and took less than 5 minutes to prepare! Sometimes, it would take less than 30 seconds meaning I could, if I wanted to, literally spend less than 1 minute a week preparing meals from scratch!
The most effective way I’ve found for eating healthy on a busy schedule is to use a slow-cooker, also known as a crock-pot. I know the idea of using a slow cooker, which takes 4-8 hours to cook a meal, seems like the exact opposite thing you’d want to use when in a hurry. But bear with me and you’ll see why this is exactly what you need.
A slow cooker is great for busy people because it allows you to:
- Cook in bulk so you can prepare several days worth of food at a time. This means that for an initial 5 minutes of prep time, I often have upwards of 5-10 meals worth of food. This is what makes it faster than fast food as both the original prep-time plus the cleaning and reheating time is super quick.
- Cook while you’re asleep, at work, or just going on about your day by utilizing a slow-cooker with an automatic shut-off.
- Make just about any kind of great tasting healthy recipe.
My “secret” likes in adjusting slow-cooker recipes to be quicker than usual. I do this by doing a few things:
- I cook food overnight or while at work. My slow cooker has an automatic shut-off so it doesn’t matter how long I leave it on for.
- I don’t bother to brown meats like some recipes call for. I just toss it in and let it cook.
- Spices and things like onions will have more flavor if added in the last 30 minutes of cooking.
- I occasionally use V8 in place of canned or stewed tomatoes in stews and chili.
- I use a food chopper or mini-blender to save time chopping vegetables. I also use bagged mixed vegetables whenever they’re equal in price.
Derek’s Quick Crock-pot Chili with Pineapple Recipe:
- 2lbs of ground or “stew” lean meat (beef, chicken, turkey, bison, etc.)
- 1 can of black beans
- 1 can of kidney beans
- ½ cup of organic brown rice
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms
- 1 cup water
- 3 cups V8 or similar vegetable juice
Spices and Flavors:
- Chili Powder 2 tablespoons – Up to you how much
- 1 tsp of each: Oregano, Basil, Sage, and Thyme. Or just use an Italian seasoning mix.
- Optional: 1 tablespoon minced garlic.
- 20 oz canned pineapples.
- Add ground lean meat to slow cooker, separate with a fork, and add seasonings. (Don’t worry about chopping up too much, you can separate it easier after cooking)
- Add in ½ cup of dry organic brown rice.
- Add in 1 cup of water or as much as desired.
- Open and drain canned beans, add to mix.
- Add in a cup of pre-sliced mushrooms as well as any other desired vegetables from a bag.
- Add in various spices and garlic to taste.
- Mix in up to 3-4 cups of V8 or similar vegetable juice and stir. Alternative: 1 28oz can of diced tomatoes.
- Cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8 hours.
- When finished, taste and add additional spices if desired. You can add 20 oz canned diced pineapples to really kick up the flavor.