When your schedule gets busy, do your food choices suffer?
Time can be a huge factor when making breakfast in the morning, packing a lunch, and/or putting a balanced meal on the table for dinner. Good news! Cooking doesn’t always have to require hours in the kitchen. The Dietitians at Banister Nutrition are letting you in on some of the kitchen shortcuts we use when we’re in a time crunch!
1. Have a plan
Having a plan for meals can help not only cut down on time spent at the grocery store, but also help cut down on time you spend during the week coming up with what to cook.
2. Chop and/or measure ahead of time
If you have free time the night before or on the weekend, spend a few minutes measuring and chopping to save time.
3. Prepare meals/sides ahead of time
Prepare 2-3 entrees and 3-4 side dishes on the weekend to save time during the week. You can mix and match to decide what sounds best each night. Make it fun by rolling a dice to choose or allowing each family member to put together a meal.
4. Use frozen/canned veggies or pre-chopped/diced veggies
Using frozen/canned veggies or pre-chopped/diced veggies can help to eliminate prep work when putting together a meal.
5. Purchase squeeze-bottle herbs
To help prevent the time you would spend removing stems and dicing into tiny pieces, try using squeeze bottle herbs.
6. Try pre-cooked meats (frozen chicken or refrigerated steak strips)
If cooking protein is a time-sucker for you, then this option is great. The nutritional value doesn’t significantly change, and it is still a great alternative to eating out.
7. Double or triple a recipe
By cooking in bulk, you can get several meals out of one time spent in the kitchen. Freeze in meal-size portions to enjoy for future use. Be sure to always label/date/keep inventory when storing foods in the freezer.
8. Keep it simple
Keeping it cold and simple may save time. Choose a fast protein like cottage cheese, a grain like Triscuit crackers, a raw veggie like baby carrots, and fresh fruit like an apple and – voila! – you have a balanced meal.
9. Don’t be afraid of compromise
If it comes down to it, consider picking up an entree out and pairing itwith a fast side dish at home, like premade bagged salad or frozen/canned veggies.
We hope you enjoy the extra time you save with these tips!