Time isn’t the issue when it comes to eating well. With a well-stocked kitchen and a few simple nutrition tricks it takes less time to prepare a low-fat, nutritious meal than it does to order from a drive-up window. It does take a change in mind set and a little planning up front.

First, shop right. Choose foods that give you the most nutritional punch for the least calorie and time bang, such as low-fat milk, extra-lean meats, bagged lettuce, bottled minced garlic, whole grain cereals and pasta, instant brown rice, and canned goods (i.e., stewed tomatoes, pasta sauces, fruit in its own juice, beans, etc.). Buy produce that will keep, such as carrots and onions. Also, think quantity. Shop with the week in mind to avoid extra mini-trips during the week. Next, prepare extra. For example, when fixing dinner, cook extra chicken, chop extra celery or green onions, or grate extra carrots and store them in the refrigerator to use in salads, soups, or sandwiches later in the week.  Many dishes – from lasagna and stew to soups, casseroles, and sauces – can be made in bulk and frozen in individual containers for later use. Finally, go high tech. Invest in a food processor to bypass the time-intensive hand dicing and mincing, non-stick pans that clean easily, and other kitchen gadgets that get the job done in record time. With these tips, breakfast should take 5 minutes (cereal, milk, and fruit) and dinner only 15 minutes (i.e., chicken breast in the broiler, sweet potatoes in the microwave, and a tossed salad, or spaghetti  with steamed vegetables and milk).

Photo credit: Sarah Gilbert via Compfight