I won’t sugar coat it. Eating right takes work. There’s planning, shopping and of course… the cooking. It can feel like a full time job trying to stay on top of it all. And then you get through a week – “whoa, I did it!” And Monday comes again…
I’ll let you in on a secret though… it doesn’t have to be this way. With a little strategy you can save yourself hours in the kitchen and make more time for the things you really want to be doing… like the other kind of vegging. Here are a few tricks you can use in the kitchen to help you save time and sanity….
Use Leftovers – A Monday night is very different from a Thursday night. We all have the best of intentions at the beginning of the week, but by the end the take-out menu stack can be all to enticing. So set yourself up for a healthy week by harnessing that “it’s a new week” motivation and make a few things that will give you plenty of leftovers to work with when you run out of steam. Spaghetti squash can be combined with other veggies and sauce for a pasta, or add it to a soup as “noodles.” Cook up pots of grains, beans, lentils and combine them with your favorite veggies and seasonings later in the week. With part of the work already done, you’ll cut your cooking (and clean up) time in half.
Multitask – My philosophy is if you’re going to mess up the kitchen, make it count! And get as much done and prepared when your kitchen is already a disaster as you possibly can. For me, this means making my lunch for the next day while dinner is cooking. If you have kids, it could be making baby food, snacks, lunches, anything easy and edible while you’re at it. You already have the things out that you’ll need. And you’ll already have to clean up the kitchen anyway. So knock it out. And it’ll be one less thing you have to do (and clean) later. Plus it gives you something to do other than checking Instagram while you wait for the water to boil.
Prep Ahead – Again, here’s where that “it’s a new week” energy can really serve you well. After going to the store, instead of shoving all your veg in the fridge, chop them up first and store them in containers. With that part out of the way, most of the work is done. And putting a meal together is just a matter of combining a few ingredients. Use your chopped veg in salads, stir fries or whatever else you have planned to make for the week. And in the time you would have spent chopping each night, go for walk, read a book, catch up on the DVR, or whatever else YOU want to do.
Want more tips? Hop on over to my friend Sarah’s blog to read about our grocery store tour. She has all sorts of great shopping tips from our time together. Still want more? I offer personalized shopping tours that can help make the whole planning/shopping thing a breeze. Contact me for more info.
Megan Adams Brown, CHC, helps families find healthy routines that work, with no more “what’s for dinner?” stress, and a lot better food. Her family meal plans help moms take charge of their kitchen and their own health, leading to more vegetables and less junk all around. Megan also shares kid-approved, allergy-friendly recipes on her blog. To learn more click here.