Busy Girl Tips for Cooking Fresh Food at Home

If you’re really serious about eating healthy, the best thing you can do is cook for yourself. Making your own meals allows you to see exactly what is going into your food and is much less expensive than any halfway decent takeout options. But cooking can also be quite time consuming. And as the bunch of hard-working, busy bees that we are, we’re realistic about that very limiting factor. However, we’re here today to tell you that it is possible to cook healthy meals at home even if you don’t have a ton of time. We partnered with Instacart, a same day grocery delivery service that we truly love and use all the time, to bring you some helpful tips for eating nutritious, easy meals during the workweek. Check them out below…

Grocery day has never looked tastier {and prettier!}

1. Meal Plan and Prep Ingredients

For the busy young professional or anyone with kiddos, cooking on weeknights can feel overwhelming. But knowing exactly what you’re going to make for the whole week and prepping your ingredients ahead of time will save you so much time. Spend a couple of hours on Sunday crafting your menu, making your grocery list, and then prepping by precooking grains and chopping heartier vegetables. We also recommend keeping a Pinterest board of recipes you’ve actually made before and would make again. We all have boards of mealtime inspiration, but having a separate log of all your go-to recipes is a real time-saver. Check out this post for even more meal planning tips.

2. Get Your Groceries Delivered

Grocery shopping is everyone’s least favorite part about cooking. It’s time consuming, grocery stores are often crowded, and you can sometimes find yourself going to two or three different stores in a week to pick up specialty items. That’s where Instacart comes in. Instacart delivers groceries from your favorite local stores to your door. Using the instacart.com website or the Instacart mobile app, you can search a store’s entire range of offerings, and add items to your cart just like you would with any other online shopping site. Choose from favorites like Whole Foods Market, Costco, Petco and many other local grocery stores. Instacart even has deals with many of the stores they work with to keep prices the same as if you were shopping yourself. You can have your groceries delivered in as little as one hour by a trained Instacart shopper, or schedule a time that is convenient for you up to six days in advance. It is literally a lifesaver for anyone who is overwhelmed by the time it takes to shop.

Simple, whole ingredients are always healthiest.

3. Subscribe to Instacart Express

The most cost-efficient way to utilize Instacart’s grocery delivery service is to subscribe to their Instacart Express plan. With the $99 Express plan, all of your 2-hour and scheduled deliveries over $35 are free for the entire year instead of the usual $3.99. That way if you want to shop at a couple different stores or forget a last minute ingredient, all is not lost. All of your grocery shopping will be low-stress and incredibly convenient.

4. Stick to Simple, Whole Food Ingredients

When you’re making your Instacart shopping list, keep in mind that simple, whole ingredients are always healthiest. They’re also incredibly easy to cook with. Plan your meals with this perfectly portioned plate in mind: plenty of vegetables, an adequate source of protein, and some wholesome starches like whole grains or sweet potatoes. A meal doesn’t have to be fancy or complicated to be healthy and delicious. While processed ingredients are off limits, you can certainly choose precut produce or pre-washed, bagged salad greens. These tend to cost slightly more, but save you so much time in the kitchen. Another great thing about Instacart is that once you find ingredients you like, Instacart remembers items you’ve ordered before, so you can easily order your favorites again.

Preparing quick and healthy meals at home is easier than you think!

5. Love Your Oven

Roasting, baking, and broiling are three of the best methods for hands-off, healthy cooking. Everyone always touts the timesaving benefits of the slow-cooker, but truly healthy Crockpot recipes can be hard to come by. More often than not you end up with mushy veggies in a slow cooker. Roasting something in the oven, however, gives you some valuable time to catch up on emails or straighten up the house while your food cooks. For roasting, look for meat, fish, and vegetables when you are shopping for ingredients on Instacart.

Cooking quick and healthy meals at home starts with Instacart.

So are you ready to try Instacart? Our editors are obsessed with it…

Your first delivery is free (on orders of $10 or more), so you really have nothing to lose!

What healthy meals are on your menu this week?

Let us know in the comments.

XO Team LC

This post was proudly sponsored by…

Jessi Burrone Photography for LaurenConrad.com