5 Time-Saving Strategies for Cooking More at Home

5 Time-Saving Strategies for Cooking More at Home

“I just don’t have the time to cook.” Does this excuse sound familiar to you? Most people find themselves eating out at restaurants, or relying on unhealthy takeout food too often, because they feel they can’t possibly fit yet another task into their busy schedule. If anything’s going to get thrown off the to-do list, it’s usually cooking at home. The key to cooking more at home is preparing ahead of time when you do have some time, this way eating a healthy diet by preparing more of your own food becomes really simple.

The easiest way to do more home cooking when your schedule is packed, is preparing and planning ahead of time. Here is how to begin effectively “meal prepping” in 5 steps:

1. Plan to go grocery shopping one time per week

  • First make a list of the recipes you want to make for that week. Write down all the food you will need. Saving a list of the ingredients to your phone is perfectly fine, no need to get fancy.
  • Plan to go grocery shopping one time per week and stock up on everything you will need for the week. You can do another trip if you have time, but this way you’ve got everything in advance.

2. Keep an eye out for groceries that save time

  • Look for things like pre-chopped vegetables and prepared proteins, where the prep work has already been done for you

3. Cook all of your basic foods in bulk

  • Cook in large batches 1-2 times per week, making a whole lot of food all at once.

4. Keep bulk-cooked food on the basic side

  • This way you can reuse it in different ways (for example make grilled chicken instead of teriyaki flavored chicken). 

5. Use leftovers creatively throughout the week

  • Each day you can quickly bring these together by adding some unique flavors and additions, like fresh herbs, spices, salad dressings, etc. Use the leftovers you have from your bulk cooking to create new, or repeated, meals for the rest of the week.
  • For example, you could cook grilled chicken and brown rice in large quantities on a Sunday and then again on a Wednesday. You would make enough of these to take you through the next 3 days, so you aren’t slaving away in the kitchen each night. On the other days, you can quickly add some cooked vegetables, sauces and condiments, etc.
  • Each meal prep day will probably take you about 2 hours of cooking (4 hours per week), but then you are off the hook cooking entire meals from scratch for days, which ultimately saves you lots of time and hassle!

 

4 Reasons Why This Strategy Works Well:

  1.  It takes the excuse out of eating well- you cannot say “I have no time to cook today” or “there was nothing healthy at home for me to eat”.
  2. It can help with weight loss since it gives you more control over what you eat, since you end up having more homemade meals, and less takeout food or meals at restaurants.
  3. It gets you in the habit of eating meals that are the right portions, since you can pre-portion out your carbs, proteins, and fats for each day if you’d like.
  4. It frees up more time in your schedule, so you can do things like go to the gym, or anything else that demands your time.