This week, I’m focusing on some of the obstacles. I’ve already discussed some of the mental obstacles, but there are many practical ones as well. I’ve already shared some tips regarding getting kids to eat healthier foods, and the financial aspect of eating real food. Today I want to tackle another obstacle–time.
Yesterday I shared that eating real food doesn’t have to be more expensive. And that’s true. However, when it comes to time and effort, preparing real food takes more of it. However, that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. It just means that we have to commit to it.
Make it a priority
If you’ve read several posts from this series, you might be noticing a theme. Our lives are about choices and priorities. If we make it a priority, we can find the time. Back to that quote I found that has been such an inspiration to me, “If something is important to you, you’ll find a way.” And we only have to look around us to see the truth of it.
It really is as simple as that–find a way.
And remember it’s worth it! Your family’s nutrition is so important, and worth the extra time.
As with anything else you need to do, you likely won’t “find” the time to do it. Make the time. Just as I mentioned there are likely splurges that can be cut from the budget, there are a lot of ways to cut out wasted time as well.
- Be conscientious about idleness. I can spend a lot of time on facebook, twitter, this blog, etc. I also love a good book! There are many ways that I find to waste time, and some of that time is much better spent ministering to my family. That’s not to say that we should never relax and have fun–we should! However, sometimes I find myself mindlessly surfing facebook or doing other things that don’t relax me or accomplish anything productive.
- Cut down on some outside activities. Extra-curricular activities can be beneficial in many ways. However with so many activities available, we can easily overdo it. You know best what works for your family, but if it interferes with time to cook and eat together, then it might be worth reconsidering some of those activities.
Yes, eating real food requires more time and effort. However, a lot of it can be streamlined.
- Prep in bulk. As factory owners figured out a long time ago, there is something to be said for an assembly line system. It takes time to get things out and ready, etc. Doing a lot of prep work at once can save a lot of time. Prep for your meals on the weekend when you have some spare time, and you’ll have less to do each day dinner.
- Freezer Cooking. Prepping in bulk for the coming week can help, but you can also prep meals that can be frozen and reheated later. Spend a couple of hours one day and prepare 10-20 meals for your freezer. I don’t prep entire meals, but I often cook ground beef and chicken and keep it in the freezer for quick meals (this is also a money-saver since I can buy in bulk and get a lower price per pound.
- Meal plan. I’ve written about this before, but it’s such a time and money saver! Having a meal plan, even if it’s an informal one, can help you be prepared for those nights when you need to be on the run and have a quick meal ready to go.
- Use your slow-cooker. If you’re busy and on-the-go, your slow-cooker can be your best friend. Throw it in there in the morning and have supper waiting when you get home. You can cook entire meals in there, or focus on the meat and throw on some sides when you get home.
- Packaged Foods. There aren’t a lot of packaged foods that are real food approved, but there are some. You can find a list here. These aren’t our first choice, but they are great for those times when we just can’t prepare a home-cooked meal, or when we need something on-the-go or non-perishable.
Involve Your Family
Meal prep and clean up doesn’t have to be (and shouldn’t be) a one-woman event. Get your family involved. Once your children get older, there are things they can do to help with the meal preparation and clean up. I’m a bit of an OCD cook, so my family doesn’t help with meal preparation exactly, but my boys do help with things like setting the table, getting drinks for everyone, carrying some things to the table, clearing the table, drying the dishes while I wash. You know your family best and how they can best help.
It may take some training time first, but soon they will be able to provide good, time-saving help to you.