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How 1 Hour In The Kitchen Can Save You 10

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roasted root vegetables

One of the biggest challenges my clients come to me with is this:

“I really want to eat healthier but I just don’t have the time”.

It’s especially challenging when cooking for one, as it’s so easy to just grab
the nearest hunger-filler rather than cooking from scratch for one serving.

But with a little forward planning, healthy and delicious food is not only
achievable but can actually save you time.

Here is an exercise I set for many of my clients and you can try it too.
The forward planning starts with getting a stock of great tasty vegetables
ready for a good ‘ole cookup.

Try this shopping list to get started:
8 sweet potatoes, 1 medium size squash, 2 courgette/zucchini, 2 carrots, 1 beetroot, 1 parsnip, 1 turnip, 2 cups quinoa.

You will also need several storage containers to store your cooked up goodies, and two baking sheets. Freezer bags or paper bags are really handy too.
Got all that covered? Let’s cook!

1.      Preheat oven to 200c 390f Gas Mark6

2.      Cut the squash in half, rub olive oil into the flesh and place both halves flesh side down on a baking sheet.

3.      Rub olive oil into the skins of all the sweet potatoes and place these onto the same sheet.

4.      Place the baking sheet on a shelf in the oven.

5.      Now peel all the root vegetables and chop into approx. 1inch chunks. Toss them in olive oil then transfer them to your second baking sheet. Sprinkle with sea salt and any herbs you like.

6.      Place these on another shelf in your oven.

7.      Leave all your oven ingredients to bake while you do the next step: cook your quinoa

8.      Thoroughly rinse quinoa in a sieve under fast running water then transfer to a cooking pot.
Add 3 cups of water and bring to a boil.

9.      Once boiling, reduce heat to simmer and cover. Cook for 15-20 minutes.

10.  While your quinoa simmers away, it’s time to do some real ninja veg prep: courgette/zucchini strips to use instead of pasta!

11.  Top and tail your courgette/zucchinis and cut lengthways at 1/2 inch intervals. Now take each ½inch slice and cut ¼inch slices lengthways until they all resemble tagliatelle strips.
Here’s an infographic 

12.  Place these strips in a paper/plastic bag or container and refrigerate to use within 3 days.

13.  Check your quinoa and remove from heat when cooked.

14.  Check your oven now to see how those roasted roots are doing. Go on, try a few. Softened but still some ‘bite’? Perfect. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

15.  Your sweet potatoes and squash should be done in about 45minutes, so check those too. The potatoes should be squashy and brown on the outside. Remove from the oven when cooked and set aside to cool.

So you have all this fabulous cooked food, now what do you do with it?


Sweet Potatoes
sweet potato pancakes








  • Use one or two as straight baked potatoes for dinner
  • Cut the rest in half and scoop most of the flesh from each half. Transfer this lovely flesh to storage containers to use later for mash, a base for healthy pancakes, potato cakes and even as a base for chocolate pudding.
  • You can freeze this flesh and defrost when required.
  • Don’t trash those skins! They make amazing loaded skins with toppings like salsa, guacamole, chilli, etc. You can freeze these for future use. They only take 30 minutes to defrost.

Recipes in my Free Recipe Series, so sign up if you haven’t already!

Roasted Squash
butternut squash soup









  • Scoop out flesh and transfer to storage containers to refrigerate or freeze.
  • Use to make satisfying soups or stir into quinoa for a healthy alternative to risotto.

Roasted Roots
roasted roots salad 







  • Transfer to storage containers and refrigerate for up to 5 days.
  • Use as a side to a meal, a base for veggie chilli or casserole, add to quinoa for a healthy warm or cold salad with herbs and pine nuts.

Recipes in my Free Recipe Series, so sign up if you haven’t already!

quinoa porridge 







  • Transfer to a storage container and refrigerate for up to 5 days
  • Use as a side to chilli or curries
  • Make a big ‘ole wholegrain salad with some of your roasted roots – perfect for packed lunches.
  • Make quinoa porridge for a protein-packed breakfast with almond milk and fresh or dried fruits.

Courgette/Zucchini Strips
pesto courgette








  • Saute lightly instead of cooking pasta/noodles

Recipes in my Free Recipe Series, so sign up if you haven’t already!


My math calculates that you will save about 10 hours of cooking time over cooking each of these options from scratch. Plus you’ll have great, healthy food choices on hand for every meal of the day.

For more recipes to use these great ingredients, sign up for my Take5 Series of healthy food inspiration.

Do you forward-plan and batch cook your food?
Have a fave time-saving food trick?
I would love to know your tips, so please leave a comment!


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