We all know that life can be a whirlwind of busy schedules, deadlines, and responsibilities. Sometimes, it feels like there’s no time left to breathe, let alone cook healthy meals.
But cooking your own meals is important if you want to stay healthy. Not only does it save you money, but it also gives you control over what goes into your food.
If you cook your meals yourself, you can choose fresh, wholesome ingredients and avoid hidden sugars, salts, and fats often found in takeout or processed foods.
Fortunately, finding time to cook healthy meals is not as hard as you may think! With a little planning and some easy tricks, you can whip up delicious, nutritious meals in no time.
Here are 10 life-changing tricks that will make cooking at home a breeze, even if you’re super busy.
Ever heard of meal prepping? It’s a game-changer!
By dedicating a few hours on the weekend to prepare meals for the week, you can save time on busy weekdays.
Plan your meals, do the grocery shopping, and then cook and store your meals in the fridge or freezer. Then, when you’re busy or tired, you have a healthy meal ready to go.
Shop in Bulk
One simple way to save time is to shop in bulk. By buying large quantities of staple foods like rice, pasta, canned goods, and frozen veggies, you can cut down on shopping trips and always have ingredients on hand.
Plus, bulk items are often cheaper per unit, so you’ll be saving money too. Just make sure to store them properly to keep them fresh!
Make a Double Batch
Another time-saving trick is to make a double or even triple batch of meals.
Whether it’s a casserole, soup, or stir-fry, cooking more than you need means you’ll have leftovers for another day. This way, you’re not just cooking for one meal but at least two or three.
I usually cook both the main dish and the sides in bulk, which also gives me options to mix up my meals a bit.
Take Advantage of Your Freezer
If you’re cooking in bulk, why not freeze some portions for later? If you do that, you’ll always have a home-cooked meal ready to heat and eat. I’ve even frozen chocolate cake and apple pie and used them when I needed a quick dessert!
Additionally, many fruits and vegetables can be frozen without losing their nutritional value.
You can take your meal prep up a notch and prepare more veggies (and even meats) than what you need for your recipe. Then, the next time you need sliced chicken or diced onions, you can just pop them out of the freezer.
Don’t let those leftovers go to waste. With a little creativity, you can turn them into a whole new meal.
For instance, leftover roasted chicken can be used in a salad, soup, or sandwich the next day. Similarly, leftover veggies can be mixed into a stir-fry or used as a pizza topping. A new idea I recently found is using leftovers in wraps.
The possibilities are pretty much endless, so before you toss those leftovers, think about how you can repurpose them.
Embrace One-Pot Meals
One-pot meals are another great way to save time on cooking and cleaning up.
As the name suggests, these are meals that can be cooked in just one pot. Think stews, curries, pastas, and casseroles. My current favorite is this golden onion and spring veg pilaf by Olive Magazine.
There are a ton of other delicious recipes to choose from, and not only are they easy to make, but they also pack a lot of flavor as all the ingredients cook together.
Try Sheet Pan Meals
If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to cook, look no further than sheet pan meals. They have become a staple in our household, and we try one or two new recipes a month.
The beauty of sheet pan meals is that you can just toss your choice of protein and vegetables onto a sheet pan, drizzle them with some oil and seasonings, and bake. In less than an hour, you’ll have a delicious and nutritious meal ready to serve.
Plus, cleaning up is super easy, too; there’s just one pan to wash!
Cook with a Slow Cooker
Slow cookers are a godsend for those who are perpetually busy. These handy appliances allow you to prepare your meal in the morning, set the timer, and return home to a fully cooked dinner.
From soups and stews to roasts and casseroles, slow cookers can handle it all. Plus, they’re great for cooking in bulk, allowing you to have leftovers for the next few days or freeze for future meals.
Get an Instant Pot
Another kitchen appliance that can revolutionize your cooking routine is the Instant Pot. This multi-cooker can act as a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, and more, making it a versatile addition to your kitchen.
With an Instant Pot, you can cook meals in a fraction of the time it would take on the stove or in the oven. Plus, many models come with a delay start feature, allowing you to have your meal ready exactly when you want it.
Try Meal Delivery Services
If cooking just isn’t in the cards for you, consider trying a meal delivery service. These services deliver pre-portioned ingredients and easy-to-follow recipes right to your door, taking the guesswork out of meal planning and grocery shopping.
There are a plethora of options available, catering to various dietary preferences and needs. For example:
- Fresh N Lean
- Blue Apron
- Green Chef
- Purple Carrot
Many of these services offer flexible plans, allowing you to choose how many meals you want each week.
Ready To Get Cooking?
By embracing tricks like taking time to meal prep once a week, cooking larger batches, creatively using leftovers, and experimenting with sheet pan and one-pot meals, you can significantly reduce the time and effort required to prepare healthy meals.
You can also take advantage of technology and get a slow cooker or an Instant Pot that can have your dinner ready exactly when you want it. And if cooking just isn’t for you right now, a meal delivery service can help you survive the busy times.
So, are you ready to get started?