There is one thing I hear most often when talking to people who are struggling to lose weight — and it’s a big reason why that struggle continues.
I don’t have time to cook healthy food.”
This excuse leads you to believe that there isn’t time for healthy cooking or real food — as if only those with laidback schedules and no children have ample time to prepare healthy food.
And that simply isn’t the case: some of the busiest people you know are making time for real food.
Let’s take a closer look.
Excuse: I don’t have time to cook healthy food.
(Which is why I eat fast-food — or Starbucks — almost daily.)
This excuse is how you’re justifying getting take-out or fast-food nearly 7 days a week. And it’s a very slippery slope excuse because breaking from this habit requires a whole different type of planning: keeping simple, real food in your kitchen — and helping your tastebuds let go of wanting greasy, highly processed fast-food.
It’s also the common excuse for breakfast, too. You do the Starbucks drive-thru for a venti latte and a muffin because you just don’t have time to make breakfast.
These are just excuses. And they are keeping you stuck with a diet that is pretty crumby. (No muffin pun intended!)
Putting chicken breasts on a cookie tray, covered in a flavorful seasoning, and baking for 25 minutes while you saute some broccoli (10 minutes) and cook some rice (15 minutes) takes a total of 30 minutes.
That’s the long version of an easy dinner.
Dinner doesn’t have to take a long time — if you set your kitchen up for success.
- Spaghetti and meatballs take far less time than that. And yes, spaghetti (especially this edamame version) is far healthier than fast-food. The edamame pasta takes 7 minutes, and heating up pre-made frozen meatballs in the microwave also takes about 7 minutes.
- Grilled sandwiches for the kids? This takes 10 minutes. Along with a big salad and pre-cooked chicken for you. (Costco sells a huge bag of ready-to-eat real chicken strips!)
- Bacon, green beans, and grapes for the kids? This takes 15 minutes.
- Protein (meat or vegan) + vegetable (raw or cooked) + carbohydrate (starch or fruit).
If you prepare your home with real food, you can eat real food pretty easily. You can pop real food into the oven while you do other things.
Your excuse for dinner is simply an effort to justify an addiction to junk-quality food. You do have time to eat real food — you’re just spending it differently and it’s having a major impact on your health. And your family’s health.
The nearest place to get lunch is Wendy’s or the office cafeteria? And you feel guilty taking time off from work for lunch so you justify grabbing crappy food because you need to get back to your desk and work?
You have time to eat real food at lunch. In fact, imagine how much time you spend walking to Wendy’s, waiting in line, getting your food, paying for your food, and walking back to your desk?
Fruit + Nuts + Carrots + Hummus + Cheese = lunch. No cooking required. Just grab.
If you gave yourself 7 minutes at home to make a real salad with pre-cooked chicken or grabbing 5 different whole-food items to create one whole meal, you’d save yourself so much time during your lunch hour that you’d have time to run up and down the stairs for 5 minutes to get a midday workout!
This is where you start your day — and we’re saving it for last for a reason: it affects your decisions for the rest of the day.
A junk breakfast leads you to crave a junk lunch which leads you to crave a junk dinner.
A junk breakfast affects your mental and physical energy for the rest of the day.
Your choices at breakfast lead your choices everywhere else in your day. Nobody eats a cinnamon bun for breakfast and continues to feel great for the rest of the morning.
- Cooking two eggs takes about 90 seconds. Pop those eggs into a Tupperware container with 2 cups of frozen veggies that can be easily microwaved at work, then add an apple!
- Instead of eggs, you could include 3 breakfast chicken sausage that just needs microwaving, along with a ½ cup of steel-cut oats with a handful of frozen blueberries. Microwave with a little water and off you go!
- Blend a protein shake with chocolate Orgain protein powder, 1 spoon of peanut butter, 3 frozen strawberries, and fill with unsweetened almond milk. 30 seconds in your Magic Bullet or Ninja — or whatever — and off you go! This doesn’t take more than 5 minutes!
Real food doesn’t have to be complicated and you do have time for something besides a highly processed muffin and sugar-laden $7 drink from Starbucks.
How much time does it actually take you to stop and get that Starbucks breakfast or that McDonald’s dinner on your way home? It bet it adds about 10 minutes to your commute. And it takes a hell of a lot less time to simply cook breakfast or dinner at home.