A new study found home cooking is a major ingredient in a healthy diet. People who cook at home more often eat fewer calories and their meals have fewer carbohydrates and fat than those who eat out more frequently. This makes sense – it’s nearly impossible to make a meal at home that is as unhealthy as most restaurant meals! However, the study found one of the main barriers to home cooking was working more than 35 hours a week outside of the home.
I fall into that category of working full-time and I agree – it makes getting dinner on the table every night more difficult. Over the years I have found a few tips to make it easier to feed my family healthy home cooked meals after a long day at work:
- Keep it simple – a healthy dinner doesn’t need to be a major production. Sauté some chicken breasts in olive oil and serve with a side of veggies. Dinner is on the table in 20 minutes and it is healthy and delicious. I may melt some cheese on the chicken breasts or season them differently to mix things up.
- Dust off your crock pot – there are a million easy crock pot recipes and nothing is better than walking in the door to a dinner that is ready to go. I have the really big crock pot so I double the recipe and I will serve the crockpot meal at least twice during the week. I assemble the meal the night before, put it in the fridge and then it’s in the crockpot and cooking before I leave for work.
- Take advantage of the weekends to do your prep work so you can get right to cooking and don’t waste time cutting veggies or mixing sauces after work. I don’t plan for more than 30 minutes from the time I walk in the door until dinner is on the table and having the prep work done in advance not only saves time, but it keeps my kitchen cleaner during the week.
- Make double or triple portions and freeze the leftovers for future dinners. I tend to make huge dinners on the weekends and the leftovers become healthy freezer meals. I will pull a meal out to thaw before I leave for work and then pop it into the oven for 20 or 30 minutes to warm for dinner.
CEO and Mother of Seven