Life gets crazy quickly, and meal planning is often the thing that gets pushed aside. In fact, 50 percent of the pizzas ordered each year are ordered on Fridays and Saturdays. We all start the week off with the intention of cooking healthy dinners but can find ourselves running out of time and energy by week’s end. You’ve heard all of these ideas before, and are probably thinking, giving me ideas doesn’t give me more time. And it’s true. But there are some ways to cut corners. I’m going to share with you mine.
Netflix and chop
The most time-consuming thing about eating healthy is all the prep work that goes into vegetables. It is exhausting just thinking about it! Recently, I’ve set up my laptop in the kitchen and put on one of my favorite shows while chopping away. Within an hour I’ve got everything I need cut, stored, and ready for the week. Tip: Store vegetables like carrots and peppers in water in the fridge, so they don’t dry out.
Dump freezer meals
Use the time you have while cooking dinner on Monday to prep some other meals. Dump freezer meals are the easiest out there. Simple meals like chicken breasts and barbeque sauce or pork chops and salsa can be prepared in a matter of minutes and then be ready to cook later on in the week.
Step 1: dump all the ingredients into a freezer safe container (or Ziploc bag).
Step 2: Freeze.
Step 3: Thaw & Cook! Tip: With an instant pot, I can cook frozen chicken in about 30 minutes.
I’m not sure about you, but if I don’t start the week off with a stocked fridge, the groceries do not magically appear. No one has time for a mid-week food shopping trip. But you can have a few things on hand to toss together quickly. One of my favorite last-minute meals is taco salad. I always have a few pounds of ground beef in the freezer and taco seasoning on hand. The rest is made up of whatever I have in the fridge. Another good option is scrambled eggs with meat and veggies.
Tip: Grab a box of pasta and a jar of sauce for an Italian-inspired midweek dinner.
Mix spices in advance
Absolutely nothing is more tedious than measuring out all the spices for dinner each night. So, I like to do it advance. Small plastic or glass containers are a great way to store them and have it all ready to go. This is also a great task for children to help with, though it may not save you time to have them do it.
Tip: You can also premix any marinades and store them in the fridge.
Whenever I see a weekly meal plan that has seven dinners on it, I get suspicious. No matter what happens, there will be leftovers! I build a leftover night into our weekly dinners so that we don’t waste food. It also gives me a night off from cooking without ordering out! Yes, there are somethings the kids will fight me on as leftovers, and sometimes we get tired of eating the same things over and over. But if it’s already cooked and there, why not eat it?
Tip: Freeze your leftovers and then enjoy them down the road, breaking up the monotony.
Short of coming into your kitchen and preparing healthy meals for you, these five steps are my best advice. I absolutely despise cooking dinner at dinner time, thank you children, but my family still needs to eat, and so these are some of the ways I’ve made it work. I hope they help you as well.Read comments