We all have them. Days when spending hours (or much time at all) on meal prep just isn’t possible – whether through a genuine lack of time, or lack of inclination.
But however we think about it, we all need to eat, and to eat we all need to prepare food to some degree – so we need to get our heads around how to make this as simple as possible.
As a result, I have gathered together my 7 best tips on how to make life easier in the kitchen when preparing your meals.
These are tips that can really help to ensure you and your family can get a decent meal each and every day with as little fuss as possible – and we all want that!
Meal prep tip #1 – Use your freezer
Your freezer can be your best friend when it comes to making meals easier.
Think about making batches of foods such as curries, chillis, pasta sauces etc…. and freeze them in portion sizes so that you can grab what you want quickly when you come in from work.
I wrote a post all about what foods can be frozen to make life easier – so why not check it out HERE – you may well be surprised at how much of an asset your freezer can be to your cooking when you start using it more.
Meal prep tip #2 – Use a slow cooker
When we come home from a long day at the office/school etc… we just want to have a meal on the table quickly – and that’s the joy of a slow cooker.
You can prep everything when you do have some time – maybe even the night before – then add everything to the slow cooker and set the timer ready for everything to be cooked perfectly for when you get home. I can’t think of anything nicer than arriving home to the smell of freshly cooked casseroles or stews!
Meal prep tip #3 – Buy cheats
Nowadays we have the luxury when looking round the supermarket of having things available that have actually been prepared for us.
- Pre prepared veg
- Ready cooked meats
- Ready made sauces
- Bake at home bread
and I could go on… but you get the idea.
Why not make the most of these time savers to make great home made meals in super quick time.
For example – Use a ready roasted chicken and add to some pasta to make a filling meal, or make a stir fry in double quick time using pre prepared veg and sauce.
Meal prep tip #4 – Always have the ingredients for a few meals to hand
When you stock your kitchen cupboards, always think about having a few meals that can be made using purely what you have in your kitchen – that way you should never be caught out if you don’t have time to do the food shop for whatever reason.
Some great ideas for easy meals are:-
- Pasta with veg and sauce (i.e. tuna and sweetcorn pasta bake)
- Tinned soup swirled with pesto, served with ready to bake bread
- Pizza bases topped with toms/pesto/sweetcorn/tuna/pineapple etc…
- Prawn fried rice (frozen prawns, egg, veg etc…)
- Beans on toast (I always have frozen bread in stock as you can defrost in the toaster when you need it)
- Spinach and cheese omelette (frozen spinach is an amazing ingredient that can be easily added to most things!)
Meal prep tip #5 – Plan your meals
If you plan your meals out at least a week in advance, then you are more likely to be able to plan things that will fit into your schedule.
Work out which nights need easier foods, when you can go shopping, who is eating when etc… and you will find preparing meals becomes easier straight away as you take out the main annoyance which is the eternal question “what’s for tea?!”
TIP – use your time wisely when you have it – if you prep veg one night for tea, why not prep for the next night at the same time – it won’t take as long as doing prep both nights…
Meal prep tip #6 – Rethink what constitutes dinner
Trying to get a full roast dinner or an equivalent meal on the table each night can be daunting to say the least.
Take some time to rethink what you are trying to serve up, and make it easier on yourself if you can.
If your children can all have school dinners at least some days of the week, then they will be getting a nutritious meal at lunch time, so maybe on those days you can do something easy like soup with salad and a roll, or fish fingers, peas and baked potato. Even a home picnic would work well as you can eat up anything left over in the fridge such as meats/salads/dressings/sauces/bread etc… and everyone can help themselves.
Don’t get caught in the trap that you have to be making amazing meals each and every night – get the balance right and you will enjoy meal prep time much more.
Meal prep tip #7 – Share the load
Why do you have to do all the meal prep yourself?
If you have children of any age then they can help do certain tasks like peel potatoes, cut up veg etc….
You could also take it in turns with other adults in the house so you get a night or two off each week which will really help!
Both of these would dramatically cut the time it takes to prep dinner….
Have these meal prep tips helped?
I really hope so!
Meals should be a fun time – not a chore – and so anything that helps that come true is good by me – right?!