9 Easy and Convenient Food Prep Tips to Save Time
Preparing your own meals instead of eating out can help you save some money, and it can even make it easier for you to eat healthy foods.
However, working in the kitchen takes time, especially if you don’t have a lot of experience prepping ingredients and following recipes to create your meals from scratch. If you have a busy schedule, you could be tempted to choose takeout or delivery, or to buy cheap processed foods at the grocery store. Fortunately, it’s possible to eat well without spending too much time in the kitchen.
Use these 9 food prep tips to help you save time:
Tip #1: Keep your fridge well organized
Organization one of the most important food prep tips to save time. Before you think about going out to buy groceries or about trying to prep your meals for a few days, take a look inside your fridge.
If it’s messy and full of things you just know you’ll never eat, clean it up. Throw away the items you won’t eat. And as you add new things to the shelves, organize them so it will be easy to find whatever you are looking for.
Decluttering your fridge could take a moment, but it will save you a lot of time.
Tip #2: Don’t hesitate to write things down
If you want to be able to prepare a few meals in advance, don’t hesitate to create a meal schedule. Write down what you want to eat, and when.
Then, make a list of the ingredients you will need, and bring it with you when you go grocery shopping. This will help you save time at the store, and you will be sure to have everything you need to prep your food.
Tip #3: Consider using frozen and canned ingredients
Frozen and canned fruits and vegetables can be as nutritious as fresh produce, and they will help you save a lot of time. For example, opening a can of beans and rinsing them to remove some sodium is a lot faster than cooking dried beans.
Plus, frozen fruits and veggies can be used for a lot of quick recipes, including delicious smoothies.
Tip #4: Put everything you need in front of you before you start cooking
Even if you are in a hurry, you should always take the time to read a recipe from start to finish before getting started. Make sure you have everything you will need, and you understand the different tasks to be performed.
You should also put all the ingredients and utensils you need in front of you. This way, you won’t have to look all around your kitchen for a clean spatula or for a sharp knife while you are prepping your meal.
Tip #5: Prep some ingredients ahead of time
When you get back from the grocery store with fresh produce and meat, take a moment to prep some ingredients ahead of time. Wash and chop your veggies and fruits, and place them in sealed containers. They will be ready to eat, or to add to a recipe.
You could also cook some meat right away, and store it in your fridge or freezer. Chicken, for example, can be delicious in many recipes, so having cooked chicken ready to use will save you a ton of time.
Tip #6: Learn how to enjoy leftovers
If you don’t enjoy leftovers, you are missing out on an opportunity to save a lot of time in the kitchen. Whenever you cook a meal, don’t hesitate to prepare an extra portion or two. Or more.
Eat some for lunch the next day, or simply add a few ingredients to your leftovers to prepare a quick new meal!
Tip #7: Use simple ingredients that can be repurposed
To really make the most of your leftovers, try to use simple ingredients that can easily be repurposed.
Pasta, rice, vegetables, chicken, beans, or eggs, to name a few, can be cooked in batches and used to create a variety of dishes you will enjoy eating all week long. This could be more appealing than preparing one complex meal, and eating it for supper each day of the week.
Tip #8: Prepare meals that can quickly be reheated
Divide some of the extra food you cook into individual portions, and freeze them. Meals that can quickly be reheated will come to the rescue when you are too tired to prepare something.
Alternatively, you could order a few meals from a prepared meal delivery service, keep them in your fridge, and reheat them in the microwave. If you get tired of eating the same thing a few days in a row, healthy meals prepped by a chef will add variety to your diet.
Tip #9: Try a one-pan dinner
Finally, if you like meals that can be prepared in one container, why not try a one-pan dinner? Toss some protein with chopped vegetables and potatoes on one pan, season them, and put the pan in your oven.
The result will be a simple dinner that could also become your lunch for the following day.