Eating healthier this year will not get done unless you properly plan it. And the first step in any plan is being clear about when it will happen. Just as you schedule other important appointments, block off a time in your planner each day or a few times a week that you will prepare your meals. Be sure to honor your commitment to yourself. What's also helpful is at the top of the week, jot down the meals you want to have throughout the week. This eliminates the guess work and stress of trying to figure out what's for dinner when time is of the essence.
Become a master at making soups, stews and casseroles. These dishes, often made with a variety of food categories, are usually packed with both flavor and nutrition. For example, a hearty soup during the winter is a great way to get grains, vegetables and a protein source all in one shot. Making one-pot meals saves time with cleaning up as well, since you won't be left with multiple pots and pans to clean up after your meal.
If you know you oftentimes use onion, garlic, tomatoes and carrots in your cooking, then have these things already washed and chopped in your refrigerator so they're ready to go when you need them for cooking. Also, wash, pick and even chop your fresh herbs and store them in the refrigerator. If you don't chop the washed herbs right away, wrap them in paper towel and store them in a sealed plastic bag to maximize their freshness.
This tip is what maximizing your time in the kitchen is all about. It can mean that you're preparing a large enough quantity of food to have leftovers for several days. It can also mean that you cook a large amount of a staple ingredient and use it in a variety of ways throughout the week. Grains, for example, are very versatile. From one pot of quinoa, you can have several dishes. Quinoa is great as side dish for dinner, but then take that same quinoa and make a porridge for breakfast (be sure to puree it in the blender if you want a smooth consistency). And let's not forget that a quinoa salad with parsley, carrots and cucumber with a lemon vinaigrette is the most refreshing and energizing dish ever! The possibilities are endless.