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The other day while paging through the November 2013 issue of Experience Life, I came across this statistic: “The average American spends 33 minutes on food preparation each day.” (Source: USDA Economic Research Services).

Only 33 minutes? That didn’t seem very long. Lately I’ve been doing my best to prepare most of my meals every day and it sure seems like I spend longer than that. But, did I? I decided to find out.

Below is a log of my food-preparing activities for a few days. I include cooking times as well, because to me, if I’m not eating something raw, cooking is part of preparing it. Also, I am only cooking for myself so all of these meals are for one person only.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Breakfast: Went the quick route as I was running a little behind schedule. I had one cup of hot rice cereal with raspberries, almonds and raw coconut.

Time spent cooking the rice cereal, washing raspberries, mixing everything together in a bowl: 15 minutes.

Lunch: I had a mixed green salad with shaved carrots, avocado, tomatoes from my garden, sunflower and pumpkin seeds. Dressing: olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

I prepared the salad in the morning before I left for the office. Total time spent washing and chopping vegetables and fruits about 15 minutes.

Dinner: I had a mixture of steamed broccoli and cauliflower over a small bed of brown rice. Total time cooking rice was about 20 minutes. I make about two cups at once and keep in my fridge for quick use in a variety of ways later. Chopping and cleaning cruciferous veggies took about ten minutes and time spent lightly steaming them in my bamboo steamer was about five minutes. Total prep time: 35 minutes.

Total time for the day: 65 minutes.

The rice really didn’t involve me doing much and it was enough to last for several days. So, if I deduct that 20 minutes, that leaves me at 45 minutes.

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

Breakfast: One fried egg with basil and sautéed spinach with garlic and lemon. Total time spent on prep. Very little. I cut garlic and lemon and I already had basil in my fridge and a bunch of washed spinach. It only takes a few minutes to fry an egg so the total time spent on prep for this meal was about 15 minutes.

Lunch: A salmon, cheese and mushroom corn tortilla quesadilla with sautéed kale on the side. I grated a little bit of cheese and reheated the pre-cooked salmon from my fridge along with the corn tortilla. I washed and cooked the kale and washed and sliced the mushrooms. Total prep and cooking time was about 20 minutes.

Dinner: I attended a fancy paleo-diet inspired birthday dinner party this night. That meal literally took hours for my friend, Karen, to prepare. She spent far more time making this one meal than I probably spend preparing meals for an entire week.

Total time spent preparing food for this day was: 35 minutes.

For comparison, here’s a sample day from 100 Days of Real Food.

For other information on the benefits of cooking, check out “Time to Cook” and you can also find helpful tips for making “Good Food, Fast.”

How much time do you spend each day on preparing and cooking your food?

Thoughts to share?

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