Chances are that when it comes to cooking, most of us don’t have the extra time to prepare gourmet meals on a daily basis. But that doesn’t mean that you have to rely on fast food throughout the week. With a bit of planning and developing a few simple habits, you’ll be able to make healthy, home-cooked meals for you and your family.
1. Buy Pre-Cooked Chicken.
One of the easiest ways to meal plan is to purchase either grilled chicken at Trader Joe’s or a rotisserie chicken that is free of antibiotics and preservatives. You can divide the chicken into a different container for a of a different day the week. This will allow you to make a variety of meals in a matter of minutes. such as soups, salads, tacos and casseroles.
2. Use the Crock pot.
Using the crock pot at least one day per week saves not only cooking time but clean up time as well. When you have a hectic week, this can be a real life saver. Plus now there are numerous resources for crock pot recipes, whether it’s a complete meal, a roast or even a dessert,
3. Spend a Few Minutes Doing the Prep Work.
Don’t just toss all your groceries in the fridge right after shopping. By taking a few extra minutes to chop up vegetables and portion out meat, you will be able to easily throw together meals with little time after a long, tiring work day.
4. Meal Plan in 10 Minutes.
Spend a few minutes either at the beginning of the week or the end of the week take stock of the food you already have or need to use up and plan out at least a few healthy meals for the week. Be sure to spend no more than 10-15 minutes on this task. If you older children, be sure to have them help pick a meal or two as well. We use a system that goes something like this: Main Meal Mondays, Leftover Tuesdays, Crock Pot Wednesdays, Leftover Thursdays and Freezer Fridays, where we pull something already cooked from the freezer for quick heat up. On the weekends we make fun meals for movie nights or dinner guests.
5. Make Freezer Meals.
Every several weeks we spend an hour or two in the kitchen creating some delicious freezer meals that can quickly be pulled down from the freezer either at the end of the week when we’re too tired to cook and nights or dinner guests. We even keep a container of frozen home-made chicken soup for emergencies.