If you're anything like me, you're not the world's greatest cook. And spending time in the kitchen isn't exactly where you see the best use of your time. Even if you love spending time in the kitchen, there are days where you have a million other things going on.

How many times have you put the quality of your food to the side because you "don't have time to cook"?

Maybe you have a go-to take-out place on Uber Eats that you order from when you're busy. Or maybe you have a microwave dinner that you throw in for 2 minutes. If you feel like I'm calling you out - I am. But only because I can relate, and I'm calling myself out too.

My job is to make sure that you have everything you need to be successful and healthy. So in this article, I'm going to give you all the tips I have in my brain that save me time and effort in the kitchen! But DON'T cost me flavour and joy.

I want you to be healthy and happy, after all. Not healthy and miserable because you're eating boiled chicken and rice. Gross.

13 Tips to Cook The Perfect Balanced Meal Without Spending Hours in the Kitchen

1. Tzatziki. Especially the light version! If you're monitoring your fat intake and have a hard time finding a low-fat salad dressing but also don't want to make your own, this is your best friend. I put this on top of chicken, rice, salads, inside wraps, everywhere.

2. Choose one of each macro. People get overwhelmed with the options out there. The best thing you can do for yourself and your brain is keep it simple. Here's a macro cheat sheet that we put together. Choose one from each section, prep, and assemble in your favourite bowl. I'll get into how to prep for quick and easy results next.

3. Make friends with your oven. Your oven is the BEST when it comes to multitasking. A couple of sheet trays, tin foil, and the oven at 400 degrees give you a good 20-35 minutes where you can be doing something else while it cooks. Here are a couple of sheet tray dinners that are quick and easy for you to try out!

4. Stock up your spice cabinet! There are SO many delicious flavours out there that you can easily sprinkle onto chicken as a rub, or onto any dish. I'll link to a few of my go-to's next.

5. Bored of chicken breast? Take 2 chicken breasts, butterfly them so they aren't so thick. Season them in ClubHouse Roasted Red Pepper and Garlic seasoning, place on a tinfoil lined sheet tray, drizzle olive oil over top and bake at 425 for 15-20 minutes. The trick is high heat, low time to keep them from drying out.

6. Want to spice up your rice? Boil 2 cups basmati or jasmine rice in a big pot, then add a 1/2 tsp of diced garlic, half of a lime juice, and chopped up cilantro. Et voila! You have cilantro lime rice for an easy taco bowl.

7. Sometimes when I'm really tight on time and need quick carbs, I poke holes in a sweet potato with a fork, wrap in a paper towel, and put it in the microwave for 5 minutes.

8. Veggies in a bag are your best friend.

9. Add them to any dish raw or put into a pan with olive oil and low sodium soy sauce to create an easy stir fry!

10. Do smaller, more frequent grocery shops instead of large ones. I like doing this for many reasons. First, it takes way less time and it gives me a reason to get up and get some steps in. It prevents any food from going bad in my fridge, and I can mix up what I eat more often. One of the biggest reasons why we order in food so much is because we want something different. Go get your own ingredients instead!

11. Refer to the plate portion model. This is a super-easy way for you to fill in the blanks and also make sure you're prioritizing high-quality foods.

12. Toppings! I mentioned one of my fav toppings at the top, but use other sauces and toppings to make your bowls and plates even better. Guac, nuts, seeds, avocado, hummus, beet hummus, roasted red pepper dip, there are so many good ones out there! Just check in the ingredients for added sugars and preservatives!

13. And last - just a quick reminder to keep it simple! Refer to these 13 tips when you're on the verge of ordering because you're too busy.

Which one do you love most!?

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