Many families today eat a lot of fast food and prepared convenience foods due to the lack of time they believe they have. The problem is, these foods will end up being very expensive ? not only at the supermarket but also will result in more visits to the doctor due to the lack of nutrition and unhealthy ingredients in such foods.
Thankfully, you don’t have to give up healthy meals or avoid cooking just because you’re busy. You can eat well, and cook too, without giving up anything? including time.
Plan Ahead – Trying to start cooking without a plan is like going on a trip without a road map or GPS. You need to know what your final goal is before you even write one thing down on a shopping list. Plan meals, plan when you’ll cook, and plan who will help.
Cook Assembly Line Style – Get all the ingredients out and measured first, putting containers away immediately, then put it together in order like an assembly line. Get help from the family to make it even easier and a time of bonding.
Shop and Cook Weekly – Shop with your weekly flyers to buy what’s on sale and in season. Then the next day organizes it and prepare it all for reheating and enjoying throughout the week.
Feed the Freezer – Whenever you cook, double the recipe and freeze half. This will make a homemade TV dinner to use when the time is short or you simply don’t feel like cooking.
Have a Cooking Party – Want to make a bunch of one item? You can organize a cooking party. Everyone brings something to the event; everyone helps cook (and eat), then everyone takes home a portion to put in their freezer for eating later.
Have a Pot Luck Party – Another way to cook less, yet eat more, is to have a potluck. You need no reasons to organize a potluck. Make the invites, clear the times of the party, and you’ll have fun visiting and save time too.
Swap Cooking Duties – Take turns with friends and family having “family meal night”. If you had five friends willing to participate, you would eliminate five nights of cooking for yourself and them.
Keep Plastic Wrap Cold –You know how hard it is to get plastic wrap to cooperate, and you end up with a horrible mess. But, you can end that today by storing your wrap in the refrigerator. This will cut down on the static and help it stick only to the dish you’re covering.
Use Parchment Paper – This is a great way to keep your pans cleaner and avoid sticking food. Just use to line any pan you plan to bake with parchment paper before putting the food on it. Once the food is done, toss. Side note: Using parchment paper also cuts down on how much fat you have to add.
Use Equipment Creatively – Did you know you can use your waffle iron to make other things besides waffles? Take a baked potato; smash it in a hot waffle iron – instant crispy delicious hash browns.
Make Lunch Salads in a Jar – Put dressing on the very bottom, add cherry tomatoes, then everything else, ending with the lightest ingredient such as lettuce and spinach. Seal jar tightly. Shake before eating to distribute dressing. Eat right out of the jar.
Stop Overcooking Veggies – Sadly, most people overcook their veggies to the extreme. Most veggies taste best and are most healthy when lightly steamed or roasted..You’ll save time, and improve your health too.
Sneak in More Veggies – Add extra veggies to all your meals to up the nutritional component of them. For example, chop zucchini and add to chili, or shred carrots to add to spaghetti sauce. You can also add veggies to mac & cheese; just use your imagination.
Cook Ahead – Using a crockpot you can start your oatmeal before bed. Or for a real energy pick-me-up, serve fruit smoothies each morning from frozen fruits and veggies. This takes literally minutes and can be enjoyed on the go.
If you plan it right, you can have dinner on the table within 30 minutes each evening, lunches prepared in advance, and never miss breakfast again. Cooking no longer has to be a dreaded chore that sends you to the drive-thru.