5 Time-Saving Tips to Help You Eat More Plants

time saving tips for healthy cooking

You may think that eating more plants sounds time-consuming. I get it. Adding more plants to your diet can mean more time washing, peeling, chopping and soaking, but there are a few ways to cut your cooking time in half.

Here are my 5 top tips to help you eat more plants whilst spending less time in the kitchen.

1. Meal plan

Meal planning is a complete game changer if you want to eat more plants.

Not only does it allow you to spot gaps in your plant intake, but it can also save you time, cut the cost of your weekly shop and reduce the ‘what’s for dinner tonight?’ stress.

Meal planning has no strict rules. You can plan all of your meals or just plan what you want for dinner for the week ahead. My only advice is to make it work for you!

Start by writing out the meals you want to have and when. Try to be realistic about the meals you choose – remember, cooking a roast dinner when you get home from work at 7pm probably isn’t the best idea. At first this might seem like a lot of effort, but a little time spent planning does pay off in the long run.

Then write up a shopping list of everything you need and head to the supermarket. There might be some fresh ingredients you’ll need to buy later in the week, but if you can get everything you need in one trip, you’ll save time on having to pop out for a top-up shop.

washing and prepping vegetables

2. Pre-prep veg

Prepping vegetables in advance can cut your cooking time in half.

When I have a busy week coming up, I’ll spend 30 minutes on a Sunday afternoon bulk chopping veg so they are ready to throw into my meals.

Simply chop up all the veg you will need and store them in an air-tight container in the fridge. Then they’re ready to eat or cook as soon as you need them – a complete lifesaver on those nights when you get home late.

💡 Bonus tip: Don’t forget about pre-chopped frozen veg! Many supermarkets have a brilliant range of frozen veg – and better yet, it’s just as nutritious as fresh. Whilst buying pre-chopped isn’t always the cheapest option, it can save lots of preparation time during the week, which can motivate you to eat a little healthier when you can’t be bothered cooking.

3. Bulk cook meals

If you’re going to put the time and effort into making a delicious plant-rich meal, why not make extra so you can eat the leftovers during the week?

It will take a little longer to prep, but you’ll thank yourself later when you have 1 or 2 meals “ready meals” in your fridge or freezer for a busy day.

However, eating the same meal 3 nights in a row can get boring – so just make sure to mix things up.

One of my favourite meals to batch cook is a bean chilli and I’ll usually serve this with rice for the first 1 or 2 nights. But if I have enough to last me 3 days, I’ll change things up and have it as a topping for a baked potato, in a burrito or with a side of nachos.

chopping vegetables

4. Quick-cook plant swaps

Some plant-based foods cook faster than others, so to shorten your cooking time make some of these quick-cook swaps:

  • Couscous is a great quick-cook alternative to rice or pasta. It takes as little as 5 minutes to prepare and it keeps in the fridge for a few days.
  • Dried lentils take a while to cook, so instead try using tinned pre-cooked lentils. These might cost slightly more, but if you’re really pushed for time, you can cook a lentil curry very quickly!
  • Some vegetables cook quicker than others – carrots and butternut squash take twice as long to cook as peppers and mushrooms. To minimise the time you spend cooking, try opting for quick-cook vegetables as much as possible.

💡 Bonus tip: Chopping ingredients into smaller pieces will reduce the cooking time.

5. Stock up on easy plant-rich meals

Sometimes life gets in the way and all you need is an easy meal that can be thrown together in minutes.

The problem is that a lot of the convenience foods we reach for are low in plants and nutritional value.

I’m all for a frozen pizza night, but being in a hurry doesn’t mean you have to forgo a nutritious meal. That’s why I always recommend having a few emergency plant-rich meals in your cupboard or freezer – just in case.

Some of my go-to quick and easy plant-rich meals include:

  • Frozen jacket potato and baked beans
  • Frozen stir-fry mix and noodles
  • Microwavable packs of mixed grains with tinned lentils/beans and veg
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