It is always an eye opener to add up how much money you are spending on eating out in restaurants and on quick snacks picked up at a convenience store and especially fancy coffee drinks at the local coffee house. Whatever amount you might be spending eating convenient, processed, sugary foods you could spend at the grocery store or farmers market and purchase ingredients. Those ingredients will go much further than processed foods when you create your own meals from home.
Besides blogging, I teach at two schools and work as a master instructor, so my work hours can total 60-80 per week. I understand what it is to be super busy. I still make it a priority to create food for my family because our health is too important to rely on quick processed foods.
To make eating real meals possible in my household, I set aside a 4-5 hour block on Sundays to cook for the week. I use crock pots, electric pans and a portable electric oven in order to cook several items at once and not stand over the stove for that amount of time. Occasionally I also fire up the outdoor grill and cook two or three items on that. I rarely ever cook for just one meal. I always want there to be enough for several meals.
If you are not used to cooking, there are tons of recipes on the internet. Here are a few ideas as well. You can throw a whole chicken covered with herbs, onion & garlic powder into the crock pot and walk away. Five hours later it is amazing. One pound of grass fed buffalo or beef can make 6 servings if 6-8 cups of chopped vegetables are added. Breakfast can be vegetables sauteed with eggs. To make enough for eight servings, I use 6 eggs, 12 whites and 5-6 cups of mixed vegetables. I have also discovered many stores carry chicken sausage w/out hormones or nitrates and that is excellent for breakfast or added to shrimp and vegees for a creole stew.
A typical list of foods/meals that will last 5-6 days includes: breakfast: egg & vegee dish; chicken sausage sauteed w/ apple sauce. Lunch & dinner: coleslaw w/ chicken on top; green salad w/ salmon or mahi mahi baked; ground meat & vegee dish and some baked yams or squash. Snacks: raw nut & dried fruit mix; whey protein shake w/ almond & coconut milk & 1/2 banana.
You will notice there is no rice, potatoes or pasta in these dishes. The starchy carbs are digested into sugar and easily stored as fat, so limiting consumption can assist in losing weight and keeping it off. It is not that you should not eat them ever, but remember if you want to use stored body fat as fuel, having an excess of carbs does not help. The vegetables and fruit will give you all the carbs you need and plenty of nutrients.