The food situation was the most difficult to deal with at first. If you read some of my earlier posts, you’ll see that I used to make dinner for myself and my husband every night. I loved making dinner every night after work. It was how I would unwind after the day. It was so nice always having something delicious and healthy to eat at night.
Then, I started law school. I went to school straight from work and didn’t get home until late. There was definitely no time to cook. At first I went to the cafeteria a lot, but that got expensive, and the food wasn’t as healthy or as tasty as something I would make myself. I tried just bringing a bunch of snacks with me to eat throughout class, but I still felt unsatisfied at the end of the day. I wanted real food for dinner, so I made it happen.
The most important thing is to have a plan. Every Thursday I make a dinner plan for the week. On nights I don’t have class, I find a simple recipe to cook, and plan to make enough to have leftovers to bring to class with me. There’s a microwave in the student lounge so it’s not hard for me to heat things up on breaks. Most weeks I can only cook on Sundays, so I’ll make a huge batch of something like chili or soup and freeze half of it in individual portions. I’ll take one out of the freezer in the morning and stick it in my lunchbox. By the time I have a break to heat up my food, it’s defrosted.
Here are some other tips I’ve discovered to make this work:
- Utilize the crockpot. My crockpot is a life saver. Every busy person should own one. It’s so easy just to put a bunch of stuff in it and then forget about until dinner is ready. There are a ton of healthy crockpot recipes all over the internet. I use mine most Sundays, since even though I’m able to cook I usually have a ton of errands to run and homework to do as well. If I’ll have time to run home after work before class I’ll start something in the morning. Then I’ll take some to go with me, turn it to warm, and have dinner ready for my husband when he gets home.
- Add an easy to steam vegetable. Spinach and summer squash can both be easily steamed in the microwave. I wash the veggies, and without drying them, stick them in my tupperware with my protein (or for a veggie option, brown rice and beans). Once I get to school, I stick it all in the microwave for a minute and have a great side for dinner.
- Have a backup. I always have a couple healthy frozen dinners in the freezer (Amy’s are my favorites!). I try not to rely on them, but when I run out of time to cook, they’re a good option. Plus, they’re still less expensive than buying dinner at the cafeteria.
Your turn! What do you do when you’re pressed for time and can’t cook? Do you get take-out, eat cereal for dinner, or try something different?