Eating right during the week can be hard. Families are pulled in many directions – school, work, sports, clubs, and other events. Breakfast is typically cold cereal or something grabbed on the way. Lunch is either school cafeteria or fast food. For many, dinner is the only opportunity to sit down as a family & enjoy a meal, but the busy lifestyle many have makes even that one difficult. Here are some of our favorite tips to help save time on your weekday meal prep!
A crockpot is great for just about everything. You can cook desserts, roasts, ribs and much more. One of the best things about crockpot recipes, most use five or fewer ingredients. You simply place all the ingredients into the pot, set the heat to low, and go about your daily business. And if you get everything prepared the night before, you only need 5 minutes in the morning.
Batch Cooking is a great way to get a head of your busy week. Instead of preparing one meal on Saturday & Sunday, you could make several casseroles and use the crockpot for a roast. I like to roast & shred a couple of chickens, use some of the meat in recipes, & put the rest into the freezer. I also love to brown 5 lbs of hamburger at a time. Keeping it in freezer bags allows me to quickly throw together on a hectic night.
Check out the great post Freetail Therapy wrote on freezer cooking!
Breakfast casserole is a great way to provide a healthy start to the day & can be prepared the night before. They’re hearty and satisfying and heat up in the microwave in a minute. You can also prepare hard boiled eggs and store them in the refrigerator for a fast protein source. Breakfast burritos can be prepared in advance, stored in the freezer, and cooked from frozen. Serve with fruit for a quick yet healthy start to the day.
One of the problems with fresh produce is that it generally requires lots of preparation. Now you can buy prepared salad mixes & prechopped veggies, however, they are more expensive and usually not as fresh as the produce on your grocer’s shelves. It's also hard to find organic produce already prepped.
Buy fresh produce and spend a bit of time on the weekends washing and storing the veggies. For example, you can buy a few bundles of fresh spinach. Wash and dry the spinach. Chop it into manageable pieces and store it in a zip lock bag. This way, whenever you want a quick fresh veggie you just pull it out of the bag and go.
For example, you can add chopped spinach to your ground beef before you make hamburgers and get more vegetables in your family’s diet. Chopped carrot sticks and sliced apples can be added to your child’s lunch.
One of the best ways to save time on weekday meals is to make a plan. Once a week sit down and decide what you and your family are going to eat for each meal. Make a list based on your plan to make sure you have the ingredients you need. You can save time by involving your family in both the meal planning and the meal preparation. Hate meal planning? Savvy Shopper Central put together a list of meal planning services.
What are some of your favorite meal time savers during the week?