Eating Well in a Pinch

Posted by Healthful Elements Staff

This post is an installment in our 52 Health Hinges series. Remember, “Small hinges swing big doors.”

So…we’ve been talking now for a couple of months; it’s probably time for a bit of an introduction.

Before I tell you a little more about myself, I’d like to give you a glimpse into what you can expect from this Hinges series going forward.

The last few Hinges have been about whole foods: cooking, chewing, the pitfalls of skimping on breakfast, the dangers of too much sugar consumption – generally, introducing you to the idea that whole foods are a million times better than anything packaged, processed, or sugar-laden.

Some of the future themes of this series are: taming inflammation, relaxation, the benefits – yes, benefits – of cholesterol, my reading recommendations, healthful snacks and smoothies, taming stress, assessing the toxins in your food and skincare, healthful fats, how to detox your kitchen, smart supplementation, and managing food sensitivities.

To name a few.

I hope you’re as excited about learning about these topics as I am writing about them!

More about me. I live in a suburb of Minneapolis, MN with my three guys – husband Ryan, and sons Leo (2 ½) and Bo (7 months). In addition to health coaching, I also work part time as an IT leader at a national retailer.

It’s important to me to share this with you because I want you to know how much I get it – life is crazy busy, and many of the things that I’m suggesting can be time consuming. I get it.

Some weeks are more challenging than others, and just like you, sometimes I have to take shortcuts in order to juggle it all. 

I’ve challenged you to start cooking more at home. So today, I want to share some of the hacks that I turn to when life happens and I just don’t have the time to shop or cook.

  1. Grab a partner! I’m lucky enough to be able to share cooking responsibilities with my husband. He is a great cook and enjoys it. Sometimes we cook together (it’s much faster to make a recipe when two people are chopping vs. one), and sometimes we divide and conquer (I’ll cook recipe A for the week, and he’ll cook recipe B). Do you have a spouse, roommate, parent, child, friend, or co-worker that you could split cooking duties with?
  2. Grab a chicken! Sometimes, teamwork isn’t enough to get the job done and we need something pronto. At times like these, I swing by my local Whole Foods or co-op and pick up a quality rotisserie chicken and vegetables for a decent cooked-for-you dinner.
  3. Grab your keys! Sometimes we eat at restaurants because we want a meal out, and sometimes it’s a last resort because we don’t have anything at home. The key is to be prepared with your go-to list of restaurants that you trust. As a general rule, I recommend against chain restaurants (an exception being Chipotle, one of my faves), and I lean more toward local establishments that make a point of sourcing locally and cooking with the seasons. Take time to find some restaurants like this in your neighborhood (or within reasonable driving distance) so you have some options when you’re in a pinch. 

If you live in the U.S., the Eat Well Guide is a great resource for finding farm-to-table restaurants in your area.

What are your go-to ideas when things get nuts? Feel free to share your favorite ideas in the blog comments below.

Posted by Healthful Elements Staff


We do breakfast for dinner: scrambled eggs with organic (no trans/sat fat) french fries. For the veg, we'll add whatever we have on hand, piling eggs on top of greens, sauting peppers with the eggs, adding slices of avocado to the whole thing, etc.)

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