10 Tips For Fast Weeknight Meals
If spending more time in the kitchen is one of your 2020 goals, then this blog is for you.
It can be a challenging feat to incorporate more culinary time into your daily routine, especially if you currently struggle to grab lunch at work, let alone make a healthy dinner in the evening. Ordering take out has its conveniences, but cooking more is one of the best things you can do for your health since you can control ingredients and keep calories in check.
Cooking at home also helps increase creativity, supports increased bonding time with loved ones and can even be a meditative activity. Who knew chopping vegetables could be so zen?
It can also promote food diversity and increase oral tolerance levels, since a variety of foods can reduce inflammation, lower the risk of developing intolerances, promote a healthy gut microbiome, and reduce oxidative stress1.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
It takes time and effort to make meals at home, however the planning, prepping, and actual cooking is worth the benefits. Once you get into the culinary groove, you will be creating meals in your kitchen from scratch in no time at all.
Nothing is better than pouring your heart and soul into the creation of a beautiful meal and then enjoying – and sharing with others – the fruits of your labor.
So, how exactly do you get a home-cooked meal on the table every night?
10 TIPS FOR FAST WEEKNIGHT MEALS
1. PLAN, SHOP, AND PREP ON THE WEEKENDS
Over the weekend, plan your meals, shop for the ingredients, and do any prep that will help make cooking during the week faster like washing and chopping fruit and vegetables, or creating marinades for meat. If you don’t have weekends free, don’t worry. Pick one day that works best for you and make it a priority.
2. USE FROZEN INSTEAD OF FRESH
One of my biggest tips to clients who are strapped for time is to BUY FROZEN! The nutrients in frozen vegetables can be just as good as fresh, and organic varieties are available. The best part? Frozen vegetables are cheaper, too.
3. FREEZE LEFTOVERS
A stocked freezer is one of the best ways to have nutritious meals ready to go in a pinch. Portion out leftovers in airtight containers, using sticky notes to note the dish and the date. This is the perfect solution for those days that run over and there’s no time to cook.
4. INVEST IN A SLOW COOKER
Nothing is better than coming home to a hot meal that was essentially cooking itself while you were out. Stews, soups, and slow-cooked meats are all great options for a slow cooker since they tend to take some time. Just prep your ingredients, put them in the cooker, and set the temperature per the instructions.
5. THROW A MEAL PARTY
Once a month, invite a few close friends over to cook. Ask each person to bring the ingredients for one meal with instructions on how to reheat it. As the host, serve a selection of beverages for your guests to enjoy as everyone preps and cooks their meals.
Enjoy wonderful conversations with friends in addition to picking up some new culinary tips! At the end of the party, divide out the meals between friends in freezer ready bags. Everyone leaves with a selection of different dishes, ready for the week ahead.
6. ASK FOR HELP
Having a helping hand in the kitchen can make all the difference when it comes to throwing together a meal quickly.
Get your family involved in the cooking process – even small children can help with washing vegetables or setting the dinner table. Not only will the task of making dinner move a little faster, but it’s a great time to unwind together as a family.
7. EAT RAW
At least once per week, eat a completely raw meal. Not only will this allow you to bypass cooking altogether, but it will also save major dish cleaning time. My go-to raw meal is always a huge, colorful salad!
8. IMPROVE YOUR SKILLS
Cooking is faster when you have well-honed skills. There are so many great resources online to teach you how to become a more efficient cook, especially when you learn how to chop vegetables like a pro! You could also consider taking a cooking class with a partner or friend.
9. BATCH COOK – HOLD THE SEASONINGS
A great way to maintain variety in your diet while saving time is to batch cook simple things like proteins, vegetables, and grains. When it’s time to eat, use different seasonings and condiments to season your food, so you don’t feel like you’re eating the same thing over again.
10. TRACK YOUR FAVORITE RECIPES
Why reinvent the wheel each week? If you tried a recipe that was easy, fast, and delicious why not make it again? Keep track of your favorites either on a Pinterest board or bookmark them on your computer. Better still, keep a notebook of your favorites, with any notes about adjustments or variations you made.
THE KITCHEN IS OPEN!
Cooking can be time-consuming and takes effort, but there is simply no comparison to preparing a meal with patience and love versus a dish you order at a restaurant. Not only is cooking at home a huge money saver, you have full control over what you’re feeding yourself, and your family. No hidden additives or preservatives – just nutritious, wholesome food, on the table, every night.
Do you have any additional tips for getting dinner on the table fast?
Share in the comments below!