For those of you living in LA or any other traffic congested city, that probably comes with little surprise, though I can already feel the winces from those who are blessed by a non-traffic existence. I have a lot of reasons why it's worth it to me to drive so much for work, though I will admit that sometimes I wonder if they are good enough reasons (usually this happens when I'm staring at brake lights on the 405). Regardless, I'm living with the reality that nearly 3 hours of each weekday I spend in the car, which leaves even less time for my non-work life.
Because of this, there are certain things that get sacrificed, like how regularly I vacuum or put my shoes away in the closet. Another thing that can easily become overlooked, and I think is felt by most people who are leading hectic work or family lives, is cooking or just eating healthy in general. I'll admit, that when I get home at 7 o'clock at night after sitting at a near stand still on the freeway, all I really want is drive-thru french fries and cold beer from the fridge. Well, at least that's what I think I want.
Shop more regularly. This is something I learned while studying abroad in Italy, where I shopped a couple times a week instead of a huge once a week mega-shop. This was necessary since I didn't have a car to transport 50 pounds of groceries back to the 4 story walk-up of my apartment, and it also guaranteed I was eating the freshest food. While I know it may sound daunting to be heading to the grocery store after work, smaller shopping trips are less stressful and your diet more varied. I'm less likely to cook if I'm eating the same bulk thing every night. Having new, fresh items in the house motivates me to eat what I have and waste less.
Make enough for two meals. Now you have a lunch on hand (less eating out!) or another dinner; leftovers are an awesome time saver! I don't like to make more than one extra meal, since your produce won't be as fresh (and I get tired of it after a day and a half!).
- Lettuce + veggie + meat + dressing = salad. That simple math makes it easy to incorporate what catches your eye when you're shopping. For extra protein, I like to add a couple 6 minute eggs on the side.
- I'm on a huge Israeli (sometimes called pearl) couscous kick. I prepare it with chicken broth and then add veggies and herbs. My favorite combo at the moment is bell peppers, paprika, mint, goat cheese, and olive oil!
- I tend to gravitate towards what we call "pick dinners" in my family, which include several separate elements. This is great for evenings for when I'm really not in the mood to cook, and will include things like sliced avocado or bell peppers, cottage cheese or other sliced cheese, seasonal fruit, an egg, toast with cream cheese and lox, etc!
Happy cooking, Rachel