Contrary to popular belief, work at home women do not have unlimited time or more opportunities to take care of all the domestic duties that they typically manage on top of their work duties. I think people have this picture in their mind of a remote worker fielding a conference call while folding laundry and prepping dinner. And I’m guessing this might happen for some, but it definitely doesn’t happen for me.
Due to my Type A, over-functioning tendencies, I often find myself working longer hours than I did when I worked from a traditional office. I’ve found some ways to strike a better balance, but, one area I really struggle with is dinner time or cooking and meal prep in general. Between work and my kid’s activities, I can’t seem to get this cooking thing streamlined or organized so that it happens in a consistent way. As a result, we eat out way more than we should or settle on less healthy alternatives because we’re pressed for time, hangry, or just too tired to care.
Due to some health concerns and a desire to look and feel better, I’ve set some weight loss goals to shed some serious pounds over the course of the next 6-9 months. As a result, I’ve spent time researching the best tactics to manage and dare I say get ahead of this food prep thing. I thought I’d dedicate today’s post to sharing the following tips I plan to implement as I embark on this journey.
1. Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance
In other words, spend the weekend planning your meals, washing, chopping and storing healthy snacks, and help yourself succeed by taking all the day-to-day guess work out of the equation. I’ve seen food prep blogs where people spend 2-3 hours on a Sunday afternoon pre-cooking, dicing, slicing and packaging breakfast, lunch and dinner for the week. You can follow suit and prep everything, or, you can just get some healthy combinations cooked, cleaned and packaged so that you can put together healthy meals quickly and easily. No matter what kind of food plan you follow, a quick search on Google with the words “food prep” will reveal great tips, recipes, and even grocery lists you can use to make this happen. I really think this will be the most important step for me.
2. The Crock Pot Can Be Your Close Companion
I am planning to incorporate some easy, fool-proof, healthy crock pot recipes into the equation. Using the step above, if you have all the ingredients cut up, measured, and ready to go, all you have to do is dump it in the crock pot in the morning and you are good to go. To get you started, CookingLight has compiled over 100 healthy crock pot recipes to fit most any palate.
3. Stay Safe and Strike Back Against the Snack Attack
Each day around 3pm I’d feel myself start to crash. As a result, I would peel myself from my chair and mindlessly rummage for something to munch. Unfortunately, the fridge or pantry didn’t always offer the best options. I have already purged much of the junk from the kitchen, and you can now find healthy choices like fresh fruit, nuts, kale chips, chopped celery and carrots with hummus or an olive tapenade, or the ingredients for a quick and healthy smoothie. I think this step piggy backs off of step #1 above … prepare for snack time and you’ll conquer this potential stumbling block.
4. So Long Lone Ranger
If you involve your family in the meal planning, get everyone involved in prepping the food, and even let them take charge of dinner a couple of nights over the course of the week, you can make life on yourself so much easier. They will develop basic food prep skills and an appreciation for all that goes into cooking for the family, and you can give yourself some time back for those days when you have a large project you need to hammer out or when you have to tend to after work responsibilities.
For some of you, these things might be a big “duh,” but for me, it was helpful to set out a game plan of habits/tasks I plan to implement.
I’m sure you’ve developed some great strategies, too. What would you add to the list? What tactics do you use to eat healthy and save time?
Christy Schutz is a communications professional and freelance writer focused on topics like employer/personal branding, career management, personal development, women in the workplace, and female entrepreneurs. She enjoys putting 16+ years of experience in the advertising, recruitment marketing, employee/internal communications and special events industries to good use by helping others to discover, develop and market their own distinct calling or mission. This Tampa Bay, FL-based Mom also keeps herself busy by raising 4 kids, caring for her husband & doting on her dogs Petey and Daisy!