If kitchen chaos has you stressed out, try these time saving meal prep hacks
I know, I know, meal planning can be soooo boring. I get it. But it really doesn’t have to be! Let me explain.
Knowing ahead of time what’s for dinner can save you a LOT of time and aggravation. Thus, saving time means more time for fun! Plus, you can plan healthier meals which is great if you want to stay or get in shape. The better you feel the more energy you’ll have for…yep, more FUN. So, you see, meal planning can be fun.
To get started, you will have to answer these 2 basic questions:
Once you have an idea of how many meals you will need, just follow these simple hacks to a healthier and less stressful life:
- Prep meals in advance - Pick a day or a night to prepare several meals that you can simply warm up throughout the week.
- Take the time to separate snacks into portion-controlled bags that you can quickly grab on your way out the door. Don’t forget to include some raw vegetables. They are always a simple, quick and healthy option.
- Create a shopping list – Having a list is imperative because it keeps you on task and away from buying things you neither need nor want. And thank God for technology! Now it’s easier than ever to create a shopping list. Just ask Alexa or your phone app to add it to the grocery list. Before you head out to the grocery store, check your app or have Alexa read it back to you. This is a great way to remember what to add no matter where you are. Simply blurt it out and it is magically recorded!
- Schedule home delivery meals – Delivery meal kits are great alternatives to prepared foods because they do all the hard work for you. All you have to do is click on the meal that you like, choose your delivery frequency, and follow the recipe when the kit arrives. I find having an already planned meal sent to my house once or twice a week is just the break I need from coming up with creative meals. Order more or less to suit your needs, the choice is yours!
- Buy veggies from a salad bar - If you are watching your weight and are on a low-carb diet, having already prepared veggies is a must. Or, if you are cooking with veggies and maybe you only need a quarter cup of onion for a recipe, try an alternative approach to buying them bulk. You can buy just the right amount you need and pay by the ounce from your grocers’ salad bar. Try adding common salad bar items to meals like omelets, stir-fry or homemade pizza.
- Prepare easy or family favorite chicken, soup, and sauce recipes and store them in the freezer. Make sure you always have 3 or 4 of them available at your discretion. These save time and take the load off when in a pinch. The best part is if you make sauce ahead of time freeze them in egg holders to pop out a couple when in a pinch!
- Utilize a crockpot or instant pot – On Sunday night, chop up veggies such as onions, carrots, celery, zucchini, green peppers and put them into individual zipper storage bags. When making a crockpot recipe during the week that calls for them, they are readily available. Try using them in stews and soups. Also, any meat in a crockpot with a light sauce that you already have frozen is going to be so succulent. I literally cannot live without my crockpot! So easy.
- Host a party with your friends and meal prep together. Families meal share - each house takes one day during the week to make a meal – This one takes a little bit more energy but reaps big rewards because you only have to prepare a few meals a week. A few times a month get together for a “Sip and Stir.” You and three or four friends or neighbors get together and cook meals while having a glass of wine (or 2 or 3). I have always been the one to make the spaghetti sauce, which we split 4 ways. Others make enough of their favorite meals and share them with the rest of the group. It’s a great way to spend time together doing something constructive while enjoying each other’s company. You all walk away with 4 or 5 already prepared meals to freeze or put in the refrigerator for the week.
Shop the Look: Meal prep with the best using kitchen baskets to hold your prepped food.
Joyce Colovas is a content writer at mDesign
and an avid lover of all things fun and fabulous!
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