You come home from a long, busy day at work and realize you haven’t had dinner, and neither has the rest of your family. It’s your turn to make dinner, but the last thing you want to do is spend two hours in the kitchen cooking a meal for five.
Does this sound familiar? Keep reading on, because I have the perfect tips for you!
1. Stock up on frozen foods
Not all frozen food is bad for you. Frozen vegetables may contain slightly less Vitamin C than fresh vegetables, are still a great substitute for days you lack the energy or time. Some of my must-haves are frozen veggies are broccoli, cauliflower, corn, peas and carrots. They can be added directly to soups, stews and stir-fry’s – so easy!
I also like to keep frozen seafood such as peeled prawns, or a marinara mix in my freezer for those days I want to make a one-pot marinara pasta.
2. Pre-prepare your ingredients
Find a day in the week when you’ve got more free time on your hands, to prep the ingredients you need for the week.
Cut up veggies that are unwashed, or washed and air-dried, before putting over a damp paper towel and storing them in airtight containers in the fridge. Read this guide on how to prepare different types of ingredients in advance to save you time in the kitchen. You may consider investing in a mandoline for more efficient vegetable chopping!
3. Stock up on the essentials
My go-tos are canned chickpeas, black beans, salmon and tuna, which are great protein sources that make up a balanced meal. They don’t require any additional cooking, but may be heated up on the stove, oven or microwave based on your preference. I’m guilty of eating them straight out of the can. (weird, I know!)
Other healthy staples include tinned tomatoes, low-sodium vegetable stock, wholegrain pasta, brown rice and quinoa, which are the main ingredients for many one-pot recipes!
Two things to note:
- Canned food is usually submerged in brine, typically high in salt, for food preservation purposes. I’d recommend draining away the brine and rinsing the food, especially peas and beans, in water before consuming. Or if you’re feeling creative, you can even use the chickpea water to whip up aqua faba, a vegan substitute for eggs whites!
- Once opened, leftover canned food should be transferred to airtight containers and stored in the fridge.
4. Use a slow cooker to make one pot recipes
I know I’ve been going on about one-pot recipes but that’s because they make my life a whole lot easier. What’s even easier is using a slow cooker that does all the hard work for you while you get busy – say goodbye to spending hours standing at the stove.
All you need is 10 minutes in the morning putting pre-prepared ingredients into the slow cooker and turning it on. The food cooks while you’re away and voila – dinner is ready when you get home!
Here are some of my favorite slow cooker recipes:
Pumpkin Quinoa Chili – Simple Quinoa
Chicken Curry – Lexi’s Clean Living
Butternut Squash & Kale Lasagna – The Foodie Dietitian
Loaded “Baked” Sweet Potatoes – Hummusapien
5. Cook enough for at least two meals
If you’re like me, not a fan of eating the same meals for the entire week, I highly recommend cooking just enough extras at every meal to last you for the next meal. That’ll at least save you a bit of time!
Leftover food can be refrigerated for 3-5 days or frozen for weeks to months.
The bottom line: Cooking doesn’t have to be fancy or time-consuming, no one is going to fault you for taking shortcuts in the kitchen. Spend a little less time in the kitchen, and a little more time on recharging for your next busy day!
Wanting to improve your health but need more support as a busy woman? Book in a FREE discovery call with me to get started!