Life is busy! It is filled with family, work, meetings, appointments, deadlines, and the daily hustle and bustle. We rush, rush, rush. We run from A to B and on to C in such a hurry we sometimes forget to eat. Or if we do, we opt for what is convenient, on hand, quick and easy. In a world filled with McDonald’s, Snak Paks, Uncrustables, Lunchables, and gas station roller food, most of what is convenient isn’t so healthy. I’m here to tell you that there are better options. Don’t sacrifice your health for the sake of convenience!
Lets run through many American’s typical day of eating habits. They start their day off by handing their kids a PopTart as they’re heading out the door. They buy a skinny latte and a sugary pastry from the coffee shop on their way to work. They want their kids to eat a hot lunch so they pack them some Easy Mac. They add Crasins, a CapriSun, and as a little treat they give them Jell-O. Lunches for them consist of a fast food joint in which each day they rotate to add variety. After work they rush to take one kid to soccer practice, the other to piano lessons, and by the time they are finally in route home, they either decide to grab a pizza or pop a frozen dinner in the oven. Not only have they feed their family a ton of food that lacks nutrients and is heavily processed, they have probably spent double for the convenience. Give your health a fight chance and your wallet a break.
So what is the alternative you ask?
Well waking up 15-20 minutes earlier to whip up some veggie omelets really isn’t so bad. But if you must hold on to those last few minutes of sleep, than make some overnight oatmeal in a crock-pot. Cut up some apples; add some cinnamon and a little honey and you’ll have the kids begging for it every morning.
Lunch doesn’t have to come in a greasy bag with a super sized soda or in prepackaged containers. My kids love salads, tuna and pita bread, lettuce wraps, and quinoa bites (quinoa baked in a muffin tin with eggs, cheese, ham, and anything else you want). All of these are great options for you as well. I find it to be much more “convenient” to make everyone in my house the same lunch. Fresh fruits and veggies are always great sides. You could also pack raw almonds, Greek yogurt, and my kids’ favorite, kale chips! I only give my kids milk or water for lunch. I highly limit their juice intake because it is loaded with sugar.
You don’t have to slave over the stove and produce a five-course meal in order for it to be healthy. Bake a spaghetti squash, cook up some ground turkey, toss in broccoli and sauce and you have yourself a meal. Roasting some vegetables and fish doesn’t take much time at all. I know I have mentioned it already, but a crock-pot is one of the best appliances you could own. I’ve made soups, stews, chicken and lentils, lean pork and apples, chili, and a laundry list of other dishes. I really don’t know how I would get by without my handy crock-pot. Plus if you make a little extra at dinnertime you can always take leftovers for lunch!
The key to making healthy meals more convenient is a little preplanning. Sure, it’s going to take you a little extra time the night before to put everything together in a crock-pot or to bake some quinoa bites but I promise your body will thank you. Don’t fall into the groove of “but it’s convenient” and “I don’t have time.” Don’t keep making the same unhealthy food choices. Don’t let your health pay the hefty price for convenience. Take a little time and prepare a real meal. Sit down and eat real food. Think of your body as a car. If you pump it with watered down fuel it will still run, but for how long? Food is your fuel to live!