One of the reasons that you rely on fast food so much is that you think there isn’t time to prepare nutritious meals at home. In fact, there are ways to streamline the process and still enjoy meals that are easy to make, taste great, and don’t require a lot of time in the kitchen. Here are some meal prep tips that will help you become a whiz in the kitchen, and still get all the other action items on your schedule done.
You can save a lot of time and effort by putting together a menu that will take you through at least one week. Remember that each day should include something for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Work in a mid-morning snack plus another one in the afternoon.
As you plan the meals for each day, keep in mind you will likely have leftovers along the way. The meat and vegetables that you have left over from Monday and Tuesday can be used to make a great soup for dinner on Wednesday. Nothing will go to waste and you’ll still have plenty of variety.
Don’t even think about heading to the grocery store without a list. Since you already know what you are having for each meal this coming week, base your lists on what you need to go with what’s already in the pantry. Keep in mind that picking up the fruits and vegetables at a local farmer’s market often saves money and also provides you with food that is grown in the area.
There is a school of thought that decrees meals must take a lot of time to prepare in order to be attractive and nutritious. Forget about elaborate dishes that require you to constantly stir, turn, and watch like a hawk. Use recipes that you allow you to prepare food in a slow cooker, under a broiler, or can be served raw.
For example, you just got home from work and need to prepare dinner. Tonight, you are using leftover vegetables and some type of meat to prepare a casserole. Mix all the ingredients together and place the dish in the oven. For the 30 minutes that it’s in the oven, treat yourself to a shower, then come back to the kitchen to toss a nice salad. The meal will be tasty, loaded with nutrition, and you will have little in the way of cleanup to do.
It’s easy to settle into a meal prep routine and rely on the same old recipes from week to week. While there’s nothing wrong with including some of your favorites, get outside that comfort zone and try something different. Did you know there are many different ways to prepare fresh asparagus? Has the idea of stuffing bell peppers with something other than meat and rice ever occurred to you? Try some new recipes that include only a few ingredients and you can put together in 15 minutes or less. You’ll be surprised how many approaches you can master in a short time.
Remember that along with saving time, the odds of getting more of the vitamins and minerals you need from the daily diet are improved if you meal prep at home. Try this approach for a month and see how it goes. Once you get into the habit and learn how to prepare a wider range of entrees and side dishes, stopping at the local burger joint on the way home will not have as much appeal.