For busy families, weekday meals can be chaotic. Breakfasts are often consumed on the go. And preparing lunches and dinners is darned near impossible. Yet it is possible to prepare healthy and budget friendly meals without spending hours in the kitchen every day. The following 5 tips will help you save time each week.
#1 Crockpot Cooking
You’d be surprised what you can make in a crock pot. You can cook desserts, roasts, ribs and much more. And here’s the great thing about cooking with a crock pot, most recipes require five or fewer ingredients. You simply place all the ingredients into the pot, set the heat to low, and go about your daily business. And if you get everything prepared the night before, you can make dinner in about five minutes or less.
#2 Weekend Cooking
The weekend is a perfect time to get ahead. For example, you can make Sunday your meal preparation day. Spend Saturday planning the meals for the week and hitting the supermarket with your list. On Sunday, you can make several meals that will last the entire week. For example, you can make casseroles because they heat up well. You can also prepare a roast in your crock pot while your casserole is cooking. And when you’re planning and preparing meals for the week, consider doubling your efforts. Make two casseroles and two roasts. You can freeze them and reheat them later in the month.
#3 Great Breakfasts
Along the same lines, if you want to provide your family with healthier and more substantial morning meals, you can make a breakfast casserole. They’re hearty and satisfying and heat up in the microwave in a minute. You can also prepare hard boiled eggs and store them in the refrigerator for a fast protein source.
#4 Prepare Produce
One of the problems with fresh produce is that it generally requires lots of preparation. You need to wash it, chop it, and then cook it. Even if you only want a simple salad, it can take ten or more minutes to prepare. Now you can buy prepared salad mixes. However, they’re pricey and not as fresh as the produce on your grocer’s shelves.
Buy fresh produce and spend a bit of time on the weekends washing and storing the veggies. For example, you can buy a few bundles of fresh spinach. Wash and dry the spinach. Chop it into manageable pieces and store it in a zip lock bag. This way, whenever you want a quick fresh veggie you just pull it out of the bag and go.
For example, you can add chopped spinach to your ground beef before you make hamburgers and get more vegetables in your family’s diet. Chopped carrot sticks and sliced apples can be added to your child’s lunch.
#5 Preparation Matters
One of the best ways to save time on weekday meals is to make a plan. Once a week sit down and decide what you and your family are going to eat for each meal. Make a list based on your plan to make sure you have the ingredients you need. You can save time by involving your family in both the meal planning and the meal preparation.
Weekday meal preparation doesn’t have to be chaotic. With a little planning and advanced preparation you can quickly prepare healthy and budget friendly meals.