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On the "Anyone Up for a Revival" thread, ThyPeace wrote:

The other things that I still find very difficult are a) chopping all those vegetables and b) finding food that is quick and easy and still actually good for me. I work a lot of hours and work hard with DD who is struggling in school right now. (Four to five hours of homework every night.) So fitting in time for the extensive amounts of cooking we've been doing is really hard. Much of the time, life looks like sleep-chop-eat-work-homework-chop-cook-eat-sleep.

This strikes me as a topic of interest in itself. I have been making my weight trend sideways for almost three years now, and I am an empty nester. But still, I am struck by how much more *time* it takes to eat healthy than it took to eat cheap. (That, and the time required to keep in shape for running; but I love to run, so that's not a problem for me.)

I benefit from apparently having none of the food sensitivities that drive people to things like Whole 30, and from a very generous calorie allowance related to being male and a runner, and I still notice how much time food takes.

Throwing together a standard-for-me salad doesn't take much time, because I pre-chop onions, bell peppers, and baked chicken breast; I use bagged salad rather than chopping lettuce; and I buy pre-sliced mushrooms. Still, I regularly run out of onions, bell peppers, and chicken and have chop (and in the case of chicken, bake) more. It's the overhead of keeping the ingredients stocked that catches my attention.

That, and the shopping. I can buy a big bag of apples and have it last a couple weeks. I can't buy two weeks' worth of bananas, or milk, or mushrooms, or bagged salad without having some go bad. I run out of stuff at different times, and end up going to the store for food 3 or 4 times a week. This appears to simply be the price of eating fresh stuff instead of packaged stuff, but the time does squeeze out other stuff I might like to do.

I don't know how people who still have kids at home and all the time obligations associated with being a parent cope with this.

I don't actually cook all that much. I assemble salads. I will assemble a BBQ chicken wrap (flour tortilla, pre-chopped chicken breast, small quantity of cheese purchased pre-shredded, 1 tbsp BBQ sauce, microwave to heat and melt the cheese.) I will cook easy things like microwave potatoes or sweet potatoes, fried eggs, or an omelet. I place a premium on things that get few dishes dirty and that don't take much time. I cook steel cut oats in the microwave because that only gets one dish dirty, but it still takes a long time to cook steel cut oats. I eat a lot of fresh fruit, and regularly eat almonds to round out the required fat grams for a day.

Still, the time required even to assemble reasonably healthy stuff is noticeable. I've ended up eating one meal a day a Taco Bell mostly because it's low prep time and very low clean up time. (Yes, I have to be careful what I order for caloric reasons, even with a runner's generous calorie allowance. Yes, everything on the menu is high in sodium. That doesn't bother me because I'm not particularly sensitive to sodium, I drink a lot of water, and I run enough that making sure I have enough sodium is a bigger concern than getting too much.)

This may be part of the reason so many people put the weight back on after losing down to goal weight. It's not just getting there; some of the things that are done to lose weight need to be done for life to keep the weight off. Eating healthy is one of those things, and as far as I can see it simply takes a lot of time. I still do it (mostly) because it's worth it to me to be able to use the same clothes I bought three years ago and to be able to run 13 miles; but I notice the time requirement.

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