No time to chop veggies? No problem! Use these life-hacks by nutrition Expert Cara Harbstreet to make weeknight cooking a breeze AND healthy.
Let’s be honest, most of us don’t really care what our food looks like as long as it tastes good.
I never went to culinary school so when I attempt to mince something according to a recipe, it looks like an awful hack job gone wrong until I toss it in the pot with everything else.
Who has time for that?
I assume you’re somebody probably doesn’t have time for that either, but the good news is that there are some little life-hacks that make up for our lack of inner-sous chef. I’m all about convenience because cooking should be fun and simple, not stress- or guilt-inducing. So how to I get a quick meal on the table without spending half my life chopping it all up?
Here are 3 ways to do it:
1. FROZEN VEGETABLES
I rely on the frozen stuff. All. The. Time. Regardless of the season, frozen veggies are a great option. It’s cheap, reliable, and always available. This is an affordable alternative when produce is not in season so you’re not paying a premium price for a less-than-stellar looking bunch of asparagus. For certain things like tomatoes, venture into the canned food aisle and look for options with no added salt. When you’re checking labels, stick to the single-ingredient rule: if the package says frozen green peas, the ingredient list should list one thing and one thing only: green peas.
One more bonus to using frozen veggies – since they’re fully cooked already, it can really minimize your time and effort in the kitchen.
2. SALAD BAR VEGETABLES
Ok, so I’ll preface this by saying it might freak you out to eat from a public salad bar. And if that’s you, skip it. But if you’re looking for a small amount for one recipe or you know you don’t have time to chop everything, it’s so convenient.
For example, when buying a head of cabbage, you will likely end up with a ton of cabbage and will scramble to find ways to use it before it goes bad, or you risk wasting food. But when you pick up just the handful you need off the salad bar, it’s a much more manageable amount.
3. PRE-CHOPPED OR SHREDDED VEGETABLES
Finally, if all else fails, outsource the work to someone else. Most grocery stores now have a refrigerated section that houses pre-chopped and peeled veggies like sweet potatoes, butternut squash, brussels sprouts, and more.
However, keep in mind that this is not the most economical option. You pay by weight, but you also pay for the labor and supplies involved in prepping these veggies. Still, it might help make a weeknight dinner less chaotic and it’s up to each of us to decide if that trade-off is worth it.
Cara Harbstreet, MS, RD, LD is a Kansas City-based Registered Dietitian helping individuals jumpstart their journey to wellness. By breaking the cycle of dieting, Cara focuses on creating sustainable lifestyle changes for people who are motivated to reclaim their health. Connect with Cara over at Street Smart Nutrition.