This can be a busy time of year with many indulgences; however, we also want to continue to eat well. Today I have a guest post from Emma Lawson about how to save time with meal prep.
Being a parent is about balancing: balancing your time, balancing the home budget, balancing your work and, at the same time, being a good and responsible parent. Sometimes it’s just too much for us to handle, but when it comes to cooking and diet, we all do our best to make sure our children eat healthy food. When you don’t have a lot of time, and your children are hungry, it’s good to have a couple of time-saving tricks up your sleeve, such as meal prep.
Cook once (or twice) a week
You should remember that having enough time to cook is a treat, and that time should be used wisely. The best thing is to cook more than you actually need for a single meal, and to save some of the food for days when you’ll either be too tired or you just won’t have the time to prepare a meal for your hungry family. Pick one day and do the grocery shopping as well as cooking. When you do it all at once, you won’t have to spend a couple of hours every day on it, so no preheating the oven, washing and chopping the veggies seven times a week. It will save you a lot of time as well as some money on your electricity bill.
Involve your children
Children love being with you when you’re working, which doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing. You can use their natural curiosity and desire to play to turn them into your little helpers. If they are still very young, they can start by washing the fruit and veggies in the sink, or washing spoons and bowls you’ve been using to prepare a meal, and if they’re older they can season the dish or chop the necessary ingredients.
If you’re trying to save time (not to mention money), you can start by getting ingredients you can use in several different recipes, not just for one particular meal. When buying tomatoes, use them for salads, pasta, as well as wraps, and try to get creative with everything you purchase: grain, frozen fruit and vegetables, as well as meat and dairy.
Stack chopped veggies
When you’ve had a really long day and you’re feeling hungry, most times you just reach for the phone and order pizza, since you’re too tired to cook. If, however, you take time and cut your veggies in a bulk the next time you’re preparing lunch, you can freeze some of them and save them for those nights when you’re too tired to cook. A simple KitchenAid spiralizer will allow you to cut your zucchini and carrots into noodles which are not only fun to eat, but healthy too. When stored properly, most veggies will stay fresh up to a week, and you can take them out of the freezer and prepare a nice meal in a blink of an eye.
Freeze some smoothies
There’s nothing like a healthy breakfast to get you going, and smoothies are the best option. Still, you probably don’t have the time to measure out the ingredients and turn on your blender every morning, so why not save some time and always have a smoothie supply in your freezer? You can save a lot of time if you just buy your ingredients in a bulk, blend your smoothie, drink some right away, and save the rest for later. You can pour it into muffin tins and leave it in a freezer, so the next time you’re in a hurry, you can simply put two frozen ‘smoothie cups’ in a powerful blender, and there you have it.
Cooking from scratch is a great way to become a better cook, and it gives you a chance to try something new by combining different recipes and ingredients. When you don’t have too much time for meal preparation, you can always speed up the meal prep process and still come up with delicious and healthy meals for your entire family.
Emma Lawson is a passionate writer, online article editor and health enthusiast. In her spare time, she likes to do research, and write articles to create awareness regarding healthy lifestyle choices. She also strives to suggest innovative home remedies that can help you lead a better and longer life. You can follow her at her Twitter account @EmmahLawson.