July 5, 2018


Finding time in our busy day to prepare healthy meals is almost impossible. So we chatted to personal trainer Lisa Kathleen Daly, author of Healthy Eating for the Time Poor, to get some tips.

Lisa explains: I became so time poor that I was struggling to find the time to create and make healthy, nutritious meals for myself and my family. Something needed to change. I needed to take control and develop a system that worked around my busy, health-conscious lifestyle, without adding more pressure on myself.

I wanted to create a system of organizing mealtimes and providing healthy meals. I wanted to avoid the ever-growing convenience of takeaway foods, which can tend to be very expensive with little nutritious value.

This is where the idea of creating a living, breathing book of recipes, tips and tricks for the 21st century time poor, came about.

WIN a copy of Lisa’s Healthy Eating for the Time Poor. Enter Now!

Lisa’s top 5 tips for healthy eating for the time poor

1. Claim your time back! Stop cooking every night. Using a system of cooking once, twice or three times a week will save time and stop the overburdening of yourself.

2. Double or even treble up on your recipes. Freeze the extra in convenient sized portions to suit your family needs.

3. If you can, get help in the kitchen. As the saying goes, ͚many hands make light work͛. Share the load. Chopping, slicing and dicing can be shared with family members to save even more time.

4. Teaching you to add vegetables and super foods without your children knowing.

5. Create and freeze smoothies and healthy juices using leftover fruits and vegetables.

So, we have claimed back some of our precious time. But what does that mean for us and our families?

By creating a system that ensures your family eat healthier, more nutritious meals, they are less likely to become overweight or obese. You know exactly what your family will eat at meal times and avoid serving up unhealthy processed foods or takeaway.

As you lead by example, your children can gain valuable life skills from you. Being healthy with your family means being healthy with yourself and your time. The extra time you gain means you have more quality time for yourself and the family. What could be better than that!

Top 10 Tips and tricks for meal planning for the time poor

1. First things first, you need to look at what day suits you and your family when planning your cooking times.

2. Check what you already have in your freezer and fridge/pantry. You can plan meals around some of these ingredients.

3. Life is not a one-woman show. Do you have any helping hands? Or is this something you need to look at creating and haven͛t thought about before.

4. Sharing the load will not only relieve you of the pressure to always provide your family with a balanced, tasty meal but it will also create a sense of wellbeing and togetherness as you work to reach shared outcomes.

5. Plan. Decide what you would like to eat for the next few days, week in advance.

6. Create a shopping list before you go out. I prefer to write my lists rather than use an electronic device, but whatever works for you is fine.

7. Be a savvy shopper. Check what specials are on in your local supermarket, butcher and grocery stores. Make a list of alternative items you can use if they are on special. For example, if lamb, chicken fillets, broccoli or sweet potatoes etc. are on special you can use these ingredients in your recipes as a tasty alternative to save money.

8. My suggestion would be to buy bulk mince and make at least three different dishes from that.

9. For example, spaghetti Bolognese, stuffed mince capsicum, rissoles, lasagne, mince and potatoes etc. You can always make more and freeze for another night. (These recipes can be found in my book, Healthy Eating for the Time Poor)

10. It͛s important to get the mind set of always thinking ahead of your evening meals for at least the week.

Healthy Eating for the Time Poor, New Holland Publishers, RRP $26.99 available from all good books retailers or online at www.newhollandpublishers.com

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  • I really like freezing meals so that on those crazy nights I can just pull something out and pop it in the microwave


  • Thank you everyone ! :)
    the stuffed Capsicums I just use left over bolognaise.
    have a miracle day X
    Lisa Kathleen Daly
    P.S Sorry for late reply as only seen this now.


  • Some good tips here, which I’m sure we all use till a certain extend.


  • A lot of this is common sense but thanks for sharing.


  • We work as a team in our home. I generally plan and have bought the ingredients, but hubby often picks up the cooking duties at least a couple of nights a week when I’m working. I try to always have leftovers or some prep in the freezer for nights when we’re caught out and I always plan. My shopping list is planning for the week ahead and I have a dinner plan on the fridge so hubby knows what our dinner options are.


  • Definitely need to plan more


  • Planning is always the key. Also if you’re going to make a meal try to use the same ingredient in another meal. Eg if you’re making beef stroganoff and using mushrooms, left over mushrooms can go in spaghetti bol or mixed in with gravy for meat and veggie meal. (Usually I fry up onion and mushrooms in a pan then add to the gravy)


  • You mentioned Stuffed Mince Capsicums do you actually have a recipe for this dish my mum used to make it for us as children but have not been able to locate the recipe since she passed on.
    Also Shepherds pie is an economical mince dish and adding vegies to the mince (children do not really notice) goes down well after a busy day doubling your batch and freezing for another day is also an excellent option.


  • Great article with some great time saving tips! Thanks!


  • Planning is definitely key. Love these tips I will use them from here on


  • Planning is always a big one for me. It makes it so much harder to cook if you aren’t organised


  • I love the idea of eating healthy without spending loads of time preparing meals. It’s a hard balancing act though.


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