5 Time Hacks for Meal PrepPosted on December 21st, 2018
Have you ever been the victim of eating out because you just didn’t have time…. or better yet grabbing take out after grocery shopping? I love to cook, which makes it much easier to dedicate the time towards preparing home cooked meals but I am going to share with you guys five of my favorite short cuts to make meal time simple.
- Schedule time into your calendar.
Treat meal planning and prep like an appointment in your schedule. Pencil in an hour to plan your meals for the week, along with a shopping list. I also like to schedule a hour on Sundays to prep any food I may be using throughout the week, you may want to schedule more time if you don’t mind repeating the same meals. I have found that devoting time to the planning and preparation can significantly cut down on my time spent at the store and trying to figure out what we are going to eat every night.
- Batch cook your proteins and grains.
You can do this by either setting aside time one day and cooking up several proteins and grains and using them throughout the week or freezing them for later or you can do what I do at home. I prefer to just prepare extra of these staple items when I already have them scheduled for dinner. My favorites are rice, whole wheat pasta, hamburger meat, shredded chicken, and pulled pork. These freeze well and are easily defrosted to make a variety of meals.
- Repurpose your leftovers.
I like to spend most of my time cooking bigger meals only a few times a week then reusing leftover ingredients to throw together quick and healthy meals during the work week. One of my favorites is pork loin. I will typically cook one or two pork loins in my slow cooker which then allows me to easily shred this lean cut of pork in about six hours without even touching it all day. I will then use the pork to create BBQ pulled pork sandwiches, pork tacos, pork empanadas, pork rice bowls, and more! Sometimes I will use the pork several times throughout the same week or I will just freeze my leftovers for another week. Since it is just me and my husband, I also try to think of ways I can ingredients multiple times during the week so they don’t go to waste like tortillas or hamburger buns.
- Buy ready to use ingredients.
There is no shame in buying ingredients that are ready to use! My favorites are frozen and/or canned fruits and vegetables that require very little cook time and effort to prepare. If frozen or canned produce isn’t your thing, no worries, Reasor’s has pre-cut fresh fruits and veggies for convenience as well. Don’t shy away from using quick cooking grains or pre-cooked meats if time is not in your favor. A lot of great and healthy meals can be thrown together with using these ingredients like our rotisserie chicken, frozen broccoli, and a quick cook brown rice!
- Put time saving kitchen appliances to the test.
Take advantage of those handy kitchen appliances you have sitting around that can save you some SERIOUS time. My favorites are the Instant Pot (which can literally do everything), a Crock Pot, and a rice cooker. The instant pot is the most versatile of all with the ability to slow cook, pressure cook, sauté, steam, and more. The rice cooker isn’t just for rice but any grain and can save you time and the hassle of standing over the stove, plus you can use it to steam veggies. And everyone is familiar with the Crock Pot which allows you to throw everything in, set the timer, and walk away to only have a complete meal ready to devour! Don’t have the countertop space for these appliances? A dutch oven is also incredibly versatile and can be used to slow cook meals in the oven with ease.
Heather Steele, RD/LD is a Registered Dietitian and loves to garden, cook, and ride her bike! Heather offices out of the Reasor’s off 71st & Lynn Lane and also covers the 101st & Elm location for all of your food & nutrition needs.
Information included does not constitute medical advice and should only be used as a general recommendation for a healthy, balanced diet and lifestyle. Reasor’s Registered Dietitians’ opinions and recommendations are their own; they are not paid to endorse any products or services.