Lately, it seems as if I don't have much extra time and the last thing I want to do is take a shortcut on healthy meals. And, it's probably safe to say that many of you are running into the same dilemma. Here are a couple things that I've been doing lately that have saved me some time:

1. On Sunday's, before the hectic work week, I:
• Steam 6 potatoes, white or sweet (or a mix), let them cool, wrap them in foil and put them in the fridge. Gently reheat for a few minutes for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
• Make a roasting chicken. I can use it for wraps, sandwiches, salads, etc., without the hassle of cooking individual chicken breasts throughout the week. Plus, I can use the bones to make chicken broth (getting 3 quarts of broth per chicken)
• Chop and wash vegetables for quick snacking or ready to steam or saute.
• Make small containers or fruit, yogurt, and nuts for easy lunch packing.
• Slow cook a pot of beans.
• Slow cook a couple cups of rice.
• Cook up 4 burgers (beef or turkey).

2. Keep dinners light. We eat a large breakfast and lunch with light snacking in between meals and eat a hearty salad with a cup of black beans, a baked potato, or brown rice for dinner. Eating a light dinner ensures easy digestion, less work after a long day, and a good night's rest. With the vegetables for the salad already chopped (see above), salads are a breeze to make.

3. Create a meal plan. I can't say enough how helpful a meal plan can be when it comes to eating healthy and maintaining a busy schedule.

4. Don't fret if your meals aren't fancy. There are days where my lunch consists of a can of tuna, a slice of Ezekiel Bread, a couple slices of fresh tomato, and a cup of plain yogurt. Or dinner is a salad with walnuts and olives and a baked potato with sour cream. It would be awesome if every meal could be gourmet, but it's just not realistic, especially for those who work outside of the home. Take pride in the healthiness factor, not whether or not it's a special recipe that took hours to make.

5.Make double batches of food and freeze (or refrigerate) or a later meal. Soups, burgers, meatballs, tomato sauce, etc, are all easy to make double batches of. Then, it's as easy as pulling it out of the freezer/fridge, thawing and lightly reheating on the stove.