Hear us out... these tips are not your typical "magic pill" type of solution-style time-saving tips. They are HABITS that you build over time, which will benefit you in the long run.
Our goal is to help support you to make the most out of your time and nourish your families in the best means possible. So read along...
Tip #1: STOCK IT UP
- spices: a basic list would be salt, pepper, dried herbs (basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary), garlic powder, smoked paprika, chili pepper or cayenne, cinnamon
- frozen fruits and vegetables: berries, mangoes, corn, peas, carrots
- pulses: lentils, beans, refried beans, dried peas (dried or canned)
- non-perishable starch: whole grains like oats, quinoa, barley, & wheat berries, or rice, pasta, gnocchi, taco shells
- baking essentials: flour, baking soda, baking powder, yeast (I've definitely made homemade bread when I've forgotten to buy it!)
- frozen meats: chicken breasts, lean ground beef, stew cut beef (frozen in smaller portions to make defrosting simple)
- frozen shredded cheese: low fat mozza & cheddar
- canned goods: canned tomatoes, all-purpose tomato sauce, tuna, salmon, beans
- boxed low-sodium soup stock or broth (I'm not a fan of the powdered variety, but if that's what you can get and have on hand, it still gets the job done)
- and of course: onions and garlic (every dish starts with these beauties)
So many amazing meals can be put together such as chili, refried bean tacos, beef and barley soup, pasta casserole, stewed lentils or beans with rice, etc...
Tip #2: PLAN AHEAD
- Design a weekly menu. Figuring out weekly meals can be an added stress, so why not make a weekly menu where you can decide in advance what will be on the table. Make it fun by including the family!
- Create a grocery list out of the meals you have planned for the week - this will save you time and money when shopping
- Save recipes that work well and the family loves. Create a recipe box to easily draw from using the staple items you stocked up
- Double up your family favourite recipes and freeze. The next time you don't have a meal prepared for dinner you can pull it out in the morning and it will thawed by supper (see batch cooking below)
- Keep non-perishable snacks in the car to buy you enough time to get home and skip the drive through window
- Prep & chop fresh fruits and vegetables like carrot sticks in water or apple slices for the kids to keep on hand when having the need at home to reach for a quick nutritious snack
Tip #3: BATCH COOKING
Some examples of what I may do to save time:
- Cook extra protein (chicken breasts, ground beef with sauteed onion, lentils, etc...)
- Roast cheap or not-so-fresh vegetables (especially from the discount section)
- Make large batches of all-purpose tomato sauce that I can use for pasta, pizza, or curry bases
- Make transformable meals, such as turning a chili soup into a burger patty, or a sloppy joe beef mix into a shepherd's pie (using leftovers in several ways is one of my specialties!)
- Purchase and use ingredients that are versatile; like carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower can be eaten raw for snacks, turned into a salad with a few extra ingredients and used in cooked dishes & entrees
- Make extra batches of the more time and work intensive dishes, the next time you cook a casserole or family dish like lasagna, make an extra batch and pop it into the freezer for those days you want a break from the kitchen
Is this too much? or not enough?
If you find yourself thinking that you just want someone to help you figure it out, LOOK NO MORE. That's what we're here for. Cristel brings her nutrition education and cooking expertise into YOUR kitchen to be your very own food coach.