Tips for the Busy Cook

It is December.  The radio is playing Christmas music.  There is snow on the ground this morning in Virginia!

Did you have a good Thanksgiving?  Along with many of my friends, this was the first thanksgiving I spent away from my family.  Jacob and I still managed to do a little celebrating on our own! I got up at 6am and did all the cooking!  We had homemade rolls, pumpkin pie, turkey breast, green beans, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, and glazed carrots. I tried to fill 1/2 my plate with veggies, not sure if I succeeded :).  I definitely couldn’t eat my entire plate! My eyes are always bigger than my stomach!


When life gets busy, often times one of the first things that goes is the cooking.  We start relying on convenience foods and start eating out more.  Just because I enjoy cooking and consider myself a bit of a health-nut, doesn’t mean that I am exempt from this.  I am fortunate though, that I have a consistent work schedule that allows me to be home during dinner time.

As a busy cook I’d like to share with you some of the tips I’ve learned along the way:

  • Make it a Priority! It is so easy to say I’m too busy to cook or eat healthy,  but I’m not buying it.  Okay, maybe there are days when you really are too busy to cook.  By making it something that is important to you it will and can happen, it just might take a little extra effort.
  • Keep a Clean Kitchen. When I come home and the kitchen is a disaster and the fridge is empty, there is no way that I’m going to have dinner on my plate in a timely manner.  To avoid this, I get up 20 minutes early every day and do the dishes before work.
  • Plan your Meals. Having a general idea of the meals you want to cook for the week before making your weekly grocery trip makes life much much simpler.  When making your shopping list, think about your plans for the week, look at your calendar.  How many meals need to be made at home?  How quickly do you need them on the table?  Having the food for at least 3 or 4 meals will prevent runs to the store in the middle of the week and you will avoid the dreaded, “What’s for Dinner?” question once your already hungry.
  • Keep Staples on Hand. Staple foods differ for everyone.  I always have these foods on hand: pasta varieties, brown and white rice, canned beans, lentils, canned low-sodium tomatoes, spaghetti sauce, frozen veggies, frozen chicken breasts, flour, yeast, quinoa, milk, eggs, cheese, greek yogurt, onions, garlic, baby carrots, lettuce, bell peppers, hummus, bananas, apples, olive oil, vinegars, vegetable stock, oatmeal, and whole wheat bread.  What meals can you come up with from this list?

Do you have any tips or advice you would like to share? What are your plans for Christmas?  I urge you to check out the Me Movement put together by Dietitian Rebecca Scritchfield and Season 5 Biggest Loser at home winner Bernie Salazar if you are interested in putting yourself first this holiday season and maintaining your wellness!

Happy Holidays!


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