7 Tips to Make Eating In Easy

Sometimes I have a challenge problem. I set things up in my mind (let’s do 15 days straight of yoga!) and inevitably fall short (oops, totally forgot to practice on Saturday). I think it’s left over from my all or nothing mentality when it came to health. I’m happy to have found a more balanced place when it comes to healthy eating, but sometimes I still set myself up for the challenges. Another challenge I signed up recently was Diana’s Eat in Month.

I signed up in hopes of getting our budget off to a nice start in 2013 and to bring healthy, home cooked meals back into the norm. 9 days in, I’m happy to report I’ve stuck with this challenge, and it really hasn’t been difficult.

I thought it would be great to use this WIAW to share some of the tips I’ve relied on.

Have coffee, tea or your morning beverage of choice readily accessible.

factors to eat in month- breakfast snack

Half a banana and green tea.

You’ll be less likely to reminisce about your daily trip to Starbucks or drive through Dunkin Donuts if you have a warm beverage already in your hand.

Make meals fun. Splurge on a few fun foods that you don’t usually buy. This week for me it was fresh, organic blueberries (I usually buy frozen).

factors to eat in month- fancy breakfast

2 scrambled eggs with peppers, topped with salsa. Half a grapefruit and blueberries on the side.

Utilize leftovers and embrace off food combinations. Spinach and jalapeno “salad” isn’t exactly a usual around here, but it was decent (I’ve had a thing for pickled jalapenos lately) and it checked off my mental “eat some green” requirement.

factors to eat in month- leftovers

Leftover pot roast and potatoes with a spinach and jalapeno “salad” on the side.

Plan ahead to have snacks that are easily accessible. This means at home, in the car, at the office, etc.

factors to eat in month- snacks

Popcorn with nutritional yeast

I downed the popcorn and nooch yesterday and I forgot to take a picture of the handful of the Blue Diamond Pepper and Rosemary almonds I ate while in the car. I keep a tin or two of almonds in my center console at all times. You never know!

factors to eat in month- crock pot roasted chicken

Have fun and try new recipes, but be aware you aren’t going to want to cook a big fancy dinner every night, so embrace your slow cooker. Yesterday I used 100 days of real food’s crockpot chicken. It took about 5 minutes to set up and literally fell of the bone once it was done.

factors to eat in month- slow cooker chicken stock

I returned the bones to the slow cooker with celery, carrots, onions and herbs, added water almost up to the top and let it cook on low through the night. I woke up this morning to the smell of incredible chicken stock, ready to be used in tonight’s soup. So remember to stretch your dollar by not letting any food go to waste.

factors to eat in month- easy sides

Crock pot chicken with Sweet Baby Rays, smoky bacon quinoa and roasted broccoli.

Plan to use side dishes that are easy to make. Perhaps it will be fun to cook an elaborate meal on the weekend, but weekdays are busy, which is why it can be so easy and tempting to eat out. Give yourself a break by using quick sides, like roasted broccoli or quinoa, which cooks up in less than half the time of rice.

I should note that I have two eat-out passes this month. One is for David’s birthday and another is a freebie, which we have yet to use. So far it is shaping up to be a challenge I can stick to!

Do you have any tips for making eating at home easier?

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Comments

  1. says

    I love how you are using your slow cooker. This is a real life saver for me who works full time and save money.
    Whenever I cook rice, I use my microwave rice cooker which is far quicker and easier than cooking rice on the stove. Since electrical stoves are big thing here in South Africa, I decided to go gas. I find with gas cooking, cooking is far more faster and easier as well.
    blackhuff recently posted..Why is it so hard to believe?My Profile

  2. Brooke Dixon says

    How do you roast your broccoli Brittany? It is a staple in our home and I’m looking for a new way to cook it! Great job!

    • says

      I toss it in olive oil, spread on a foil lined baking sheet and sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Then I roast it at 350 for about 30 minutes or until it’s as crispy as I’m in the mood for. :)

  3. says

    Cooking at home is fun for me, but I can see how people think it’s super time consuming. I really don’t have much time during the week either, so I’ve been trying to find little shortcuts to speed things up. Using quinoa is great because it cooks up in 12 minutes. Roasting veggies is another favorite – 15 to 20 minutes and they’re ready. Grilling tofu on my grill pan is so convenient – 10ish minutes and I have perfectly cooked tofu.
    Parita @ myinnershakti recently posted..Simple Butternut Squash SoupMy Profile

  4. Kerry says

    Love your blog! I just ordered some nutritional yeast and am looking for ways to use it. Do you use microwave popcorn or do you pop your own?

  5. says

    I’m bad about this, but I’m much more successful if I meal plan. That way I definitely have all the ingredients, and don’t have to worry about WHAT to cook when I get home from work. That, and I’m fortunate to have a toddler that loves to cook, so I tell him we’re going to and then there’s no going back. ;)
    Katy @ MonsterProof recently posted..Snow DayMy Profile

  6. says

    Everything looks so good! I try and use the crockpot as much as possibly but I think planning ahead really helps out. At least once a week the hubby will ask if we can have something different from what I had planned on Sunday but we usually stick with our meal plan.
    Karen recently posted..It’s Wednesday…My Profile

  7. says

    I’ve never tried nutritional yeast on popcorn- sounds delicious! We eat in most of the time- it’s just easier with a little one around. We do try to do a special Saturday night meal that we cook together- a little date night in-house.
    Sarah recently posted..Merry Christmas Cookies!My Profile

  8. Lauren B. says

    Great idea for making stock in the crockpot! I just tossed out some bones and now I am kicking myself!

    I have started meal planning on Sunday and shopping on Mondays for the week. It’s been really great for efficiency and not making so many trips to the store with a 4 month old! I also have been prepping veggies ahead of time when I get a free moment- which also helps with grabbing snacks that are ready-to-go!

    We typically only eat out once a week, so it’s a special treat that I look forward to!

  9. Sarah says

    The key to my eating in this month so far has been my husband’s broken foot. Since he is unable to leave the house, it seriously limits the opportunities for dining out :)

    So… I guess my tip is to cause bodily harm to a member of your family… That doesn’t sound so good now that I’m typing it.

  10. lauren says

    Meal planning helps a lot. I try to plan more than we need incase we aren’t in the mood for something. I also make larger batches of stuff like chilli and quinoa turkey meatballs to freeze extras for a night I can’t get it together.
    Do you have details on that chicken stock; how big is your crock pot, how much carrots, celery, onion?! I’ll get a chicken next week just to do that!

    • says

      I returned the chicken bones to the crock pot (it’s a regular sized -I think 7 qt? – crock pot), then added 1 chopped carrot, 1 chopped large celery rib, 1/2 onion, chopped (it’s all I had left), 1 bay leave, 1 tsp thyme, 1 tsp parsley, 1/2 tsp salt (or more if you want) and pepper. I filled it with water until it was about 1 inch from the top and let it cook on low from about 8pm-8am. Drain, sieve and it is ready to go!

  11. says

    Awesome tips! The biggest thing for me to dine-in and eat healthy regularly is to plan ahead…weekly meals, yes, but some nights I literally make a (at least tentative) plan of what each of my meals/snacks will be the next day. It helps so much to think it through and I’m much less likely to grab something easy and less healthy!
    Danica @ It’s Progression recently posted..wiaw #50: pink roses!My Profile

  12. says

    I make up a trail-mix at the beginning of the week that I leave on the counter. Not only is it a quick, convenient snack, but it’s a constant visual reminder to eat healthier.
    Ashley recently posted..50 Shades of…My Profile

  13. says

    I didn’t sign up for Eat In Month exactly, but have found myself following it anyways, which is crazy for this girl who lives off of Subway sometimes twice a week! The key for me was just keeping a well-stocked frig and pantry of things I love to eat. Also, even though I hate doing it, food prep is key. Grabbing fruit and veggies is so much easier when they are already washed and ready to go.

    But that being said, I’m heading out to dinner tonight for my husband’s birthday and I’ll be savoring every bite (and the fact that I won’t have to clean my kitchen!).
    Maria recently posted..WIAW: First Day of "Work"My Profile

  14. says

    That chicken stock sounds great. I’ve been making broth with just chicken and water and I LOVE it just like that. Vegetables kick it up even further though. Those additions sound awesome.

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