Finding it a bit challenging to get a healthy, balanced, homemade meal on the table at a decent time? Become more efficient when it comes to preparing meals with these meal planning short cuts.
Meal plan on your smart phone, on a piece of paper, or use a meal planning app. When you do your grocery shopping, make sure that you have a list of everything you need for your dinner meals so that you don’t forget any key ingredients.
Choose Meats Wisely
Preparing and cooking the meat portion of the meal tends to be the most time-consuming, so why not save yourself the hassle of cooking a different meat every night and instead, make a leftover-friendly meat dish on Sunday or Monday that can get you through at least two or three left-over meals during the week. For example, on Monday night, roast a whole chicken and then with the leftover meat made BBQ Chicken Pizza one night and healthy chicken fried rice another night.
Find a Way to Save Recipes That Works for You
Use Pinterest (or other recipe websites) to bookmark recipes. Or print and store recipes in a planner or binder to take to the grocery store, or use while cooking. Keeping them all in one place save so much time.
Buy Ready-to-Eat Vegetables
Ever notice that your veggies often spoil in the fridge? Buy ready-to-eat veggies like bagged green salad mixes, pre-sliced mushrooms, mini cucumbers, snap peas, baby tomatoes, carrots, or raw veggie trays. These are great to toss in a salad, stir-fry, omelet, or to simply eat on their own.
Rock the Crock
Some recipes require a little prep work, such as browning the meat beforehand to produce maximum flavor. Many recipes, however, simply require you to dump the ingredients in, flip the switch and come home to a fully cooked meal.
With only a few hours a week, you can make fresh meals, freeze them, then defrost and bake on a busy weeknight. Whip up a double batch and freeze one for a meal for down the road.
Before heading to the grocery store, simply sit down and make an old-fashioned list. Plan a menu for the entire week. This planning will add a few extra minutes on the front end, but it will save tons of wasted time hitting up the grocery store on the way home from work.
Stock your pantry with healthy foods
That way you will always have some healthy, go-to foods in a pinch.
Other Tips to Help You Get Healthy Meals on the Table
Wash and cut up produce when you get home from the grocery store so it is ready to eat anytime.
Plan snacks at the beginning of the week so you are more likely to give your kids something healthy and not just easy and fast.
Keep your pantry stocked with staples to avoid last minute shopping trips.
Keep a list of snacks inside the pantry door for kids who are always asking what they can eat.
Always make double recipes of freezer-friendly foods. So you will have an additional meal with only a little extra effort.
Pre-portion homemade snacks for quick eating and seal them yourself.
Stock up on frozen vegetables. This way you will always have a vegetable ready to be added to dinner, even if it’s been a week since shopping day. These are also perfect for stir fry’s and casseroles.