How to Cook Healthy Food for a Family on Little Time

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How to Cook Healthy Food for a Family on Little Time

Young mother holding baby in arms, preparing baby food in the kitchen.

Young mother holding baby in arms, preparing baby food in the kitchen.

How to Cook Healthy Food for a Family on Little Time

Short on time but have a hungry family to feed?  One of the keys to cooking healthy family meals when you’re on a time crunch and working with a limited budget is to cook a lot all at once – or “cook once, eat twice” as some people say.

Here are some tips on how to cook healthy food for a family on little time

By preparing basic “staple foods” in bulk, but keeping condiments, spices and marinades aside, you’re left with a blank canvas of healthy foo options that you can add unique flavors to throughout the week, depending on your mood that day. This saves you time plus gives you plenty of possible leftover options that will please everyone in the family’s different tastes

Learn to Bulk-Cook Healthy Proteins:

  • Try grilling pasture-raised chicken, steak, or wild-caught fish on a grill pan, or outside on a large grill. Hard-boiling eggs and using canned beans or fish are also easy methods for adding quick lean proteins to meals.
  • If you prefer the taste of sauté proteins with sauces, try using a big metal wok, which can cook big batches of meat very quickly, in addition to other ingredients like vegetables.
  • Also try making a large amount of patties (whether veggie or meat) all at once, which travel and freeze well.
  • Consider roasting a whole chicken or turkey which yields a high amount of food, but prepare your own instead of buying pre-packaged and pre-cooked meats which can be loaded with mysterious ingredients.

Make Large Amounts of Healthy Vegetables All At Once:

  • In a large sauté pan, or on a flat baking sheet, you can make vegetables like asparagus, peppers, carrots, zucchini, mushrooms, broccoli, and so on, all of which store well throughout the week. Or stir fry frozen veggies in a little olive oil, salt, and pepper to save time chopping.
  • Steaming vegetables takes very little time. Get a big pot and fill it with water amount 6 inches deep. Then use a steamer basket or strainer (a metal type that won’t melt) and place your chopped veggies in the steamer basket.
  • Consider roasting or grilling different vegetables, including peppers and onions. Use an outdoor grill if you can to make a high yield at one time.

Whip Up a Big Batch of Whole Grains and Healthy Starches:

  • You can easily cook large amounts of basic, whole grains like rolled oats, quinoa, wild/brown rice, and sweet potatoes either on the stove or in the oven.
  • Try boiling a big pot of starchy whole grains or roasting potatoes and starchy vegetables.
  • Beans and legumes work the same way as grains, so use the same method to make a big pot of your favorite kind throughout the week.

Including Healthy Fats:

  • Keep nuts, seeds, avocados and healthy oils like coconut or olive oil on hand.
  • With next to no time, you can add these to salads, sandwiches, pastas and breakfast grains to increase satiety and support healthy heart and brain function.

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