Try These 7 Time-Saving Meal Tips
You get the kids fed and ready for school; work all day; stop at the grocery store on your way home then prepare dinner for the family. Oh, and let’s not forget about making lunches. And all the cleanup.
Meal preparation makes up a big part of lives. It takes time, planning, money and significant amounts of our precious time and energy.
7 Time-Saving Meal Tips
Try some or all of the following suggestions, see if they can make life a little easier for you.
1. You’ve heard this one before but it really does work – cook a week’s worth of meals and freeze in ready-to-heat-and-serve portions. If you cook a bag of potatoes, for instance, freeze/store in sizes equal to what you’d serve for a family meal. Yes, it takes a bit of extra time one day a week but when you arrive home dead tired, or have to run the kids to soccer, you’ll be really happy that you only have to heat everything up.
2. Clean, chop and properly store all of your fresh fruits and vegetables as soon as you bring them home. You’ll just to grab them out of the fridge, all ready to go. Throw together a salad, grab cut-up veggies for a stir-fry, or grab a piece of fruit for the child running late for the bus.
3. Plan your meals ahead of time. Like, before you make your shopping list and go to the supermarket. Not only does this save time and ensure that you don’t forget an ingredient, but you won’t have to think what you’re going to make for what night. You already know what you’re serving and when.
*BONUS – since you’re making meals ahead of time and know what you’re eating each day, you can switch things around. If you decide you don’t feel like meatloaf on Thursday, trade it for the nachos scheduled for Saturday. It doesn’t take any more time because everything is already prepared – yay!
*NOTE – make sure to check your cupboards and fridge to make double-sure that you have all the ingredients you need for your weekly meals.
4. Enlist your family’s help. With as many things as possible. Even young children can give you ideas of what they’d like in their lunches, for after schools snacks and dinners. They can also set the table or clean vegetables, assuming they’re tall enough to reach the tap and you show them how. Maybe older children or a spouse can help with the shopping and cooking. You get the idea.
Not only does this help you but it can be a great family bonding experience for everyone to be in the kitchen helping out. A great opportunity to hear about your family’s day, for example.
It also helps teach children about these things. They need to learn how to take care of themselves and how to work as a team. Everybody wins.
*SUGGESTION – Let your spouse or one of the older kids barbecue sometimes, relieving you of at least part of the cooking cleanup and kitchen mess.
5. Have any recipes you plan to use out or filed, ready to go when you are. This will save you hunting through your recipe box or cookbooks when the time comes to prepare a meal.
Speaking of recipes, it’s always a nice idea to have your favourites and ones you want to try organized in one place. It’s also a good idea for coming up with a change in meal planning, if you want to avoid eating the same food the same day of every week.
6. Find, save or print your coupons once you have your weekly meal planning done. After you have them rounded up, stick them in your purse, store them on your phone, or put them in an envelope in your glove box, so you don’t get to the checkout and realize you left them on the counter.
Sometimes, you can get good coupons to save money on ready-made dishes. These could save you some time and work, as well.
7. If you can afford it, order in a meal or treat the family to a meal out. No cooking, no dishes, no mess. There are sites that offer discounts and coupons for your local eateries. A lot of places have an inexpensive children’s menu, too.
One More Tip
If you’re up for it, try planning your meals for one month intervals, rather than a week at a time. You can still do your weekly shopping but planning that far in advance, allows you to watch for ingredients to come on sale and you only go through the pain of creating menus and lining up recipes once every 30 days.
Hope these time-saving meal tips help you. If so, why not share them on your social network so others can benefit from them, too?
If you have any tips of your own, please share them in the comments below.