This weekend we “spring forward” and get another hour of sunlight back in our day. But losing an hour of sleep when we’re already sleep deprived can throw us for a loop. It’s tough to get everything done in the course of the day as it is.
That includes finding time to sit down and enjoy a healthy meal, either together as a family or with friends, neighbors and colleagues.
If you’re among the millions of Americans stressed out over a lack of time to prepare healthy meals on a regular basis, take heart: Supermarkets and health food companies are increasingly catering to you. There’s been an explosion of fresh and healthful food delivery services, many of which deliver nationwide.
Check out these easy ways to eat well at home and save time doing it all (and don’t forget to set the clock ahead an hour on Saturday night).
1.) Try meal delivery. Many services promise healthy, delicious food routinely delivered to your door. Chicago Parent just reviewed five services in the Chicago area alone; the Denver market is seeing an uptick in healthy food delivery services; and even five-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady is partnering with vegan meal kit company Purple Carrot to bring plant-based dinners to the home via the subscription delivery service.
“With so many sources of contradictory information about nutrition, consumers have become more and more confused,” said the co-founder of one healthy food delivery service.
All you have to do in many cases is heat and eat — it doesn’t get any easier than that.
“Everyone wants to eat healthy, but not everyone knows how to do that,” said Monica Klausner, co-founder of California-based Veestro, a nationwide delivery service of 100 percent plant-based, organic, chef-prepared entrees, soups, and juices.
“With so many sources of contradictory information about nutrition, consumers become more and more confused, so they turn to companies like Veestro, where they can find meals that are healthy, balanced and are already prepared,” she told LifeZette. “What we have seen in the last couple of years is only the tip of the iceberg; there is still plenty of growth to be experienced in this space.”
2.) Go for minimal ingredients. For those who want to make their meals but are short on time, Klausner recommends picking up something that cooks quickly (think under 10 minutes) and is a complete meal, with minimal ingredients needed.
A rotisserie chicken is a good example — it can be used to make a simple stir fry, soups, fajita, or sliced over salad, said Janet Brancato, a registered dietitian and owner of mynutopia.com. “Cooking doesn’t have to be time-consuming or complicated.”
3.) Sprinkle on the health benefits. Nutrient-rich flax or chia seeds are an easy add to yogurt, oatmeal, smoothies, salads, and more. Brands like Carrington Farms make convenient single-use travel packs so you can stash a bunch in your purse or desk drawer for healthy eating on the go, according to Klausner.
Spices like chili powder, cumin, cayenne, garlic and onion powder are great to keep on hand for quick and simple dishes like tacos or chili with ground turkey, beans, vegetables, and tomato sauce, Brancato added.
4.) Plan ahead. You never know when hunger will strike — and a lack of planning could lead you straight to the vending machines you’re trying to avoid. Check out the many individual healthy snack options and keep them in a drawer at work or in your car.
As for relying more on others to cook healthier foods for you when pressed for knowledge or time, “There will always be people who love to cook, but more people value the convenience of healthy meal delivery,” said Klausner.
“Preparing and cooking yourself is not necessarily equivalent to eating well and/or healthy meals. Many times we’re so rushed to make dinner, we opt for the easy yet unhealthy alternatives such as mac-n-cheese out of a box or a bowl of sugary cereal. Making your own food does not mean you know how to cook and eat — so I don’t think this trend is making us lazier. If anything, it’s allowing us to make smarter choices.”