Most of you know that I’m a planner and list-maker. I have been doing a weekly menu for as long as I’ve been cooking.
My mother convinced me to do it.
She never did and at least 4 nights out of 7 she would be debating with herself what to ‘cook for supper’.
In fairness to my mother she also didn’t do the weekly shopping. My father did, and he bought whatever was on special or looked good to him in the moment. She never knew what to expect. (He always came home with at least 1 bag of candy….. my mother did not approve.)
Because I like to eat I learned to cook.
If I’m going to cook I want to make sure I have what I need. I don’t want to be wandering aimlessly in the kitchen wondering what to ‘cook for supper’.
If you are more like my mother here are some tips for getting organized. And if you are like me you may still find something new and useful.
Everyone loves to eat good food. But not all are inclined to go through the complex process of preparing a healthy meal. Nutritionists have identified a few common snags most people encounter when preparing a meal.
- Being unable to use the ingredients properly
- Being unsure of what to prepare or cook
- Difficulty getting food that is ready to use
- A lack of kitchen or cooking equipment
- Choosing between health and convenience
Meal preparation can be complicated and sometimes messy. If not well thought of, it can lead to a waste of time, money, and sacrifice nutritional food.
Here are some meal prepping tips that can help ease those kitchen worries.
Plan and organize
Most successful people say that the success of any action depends mostly on planning. The goal is not only to be useful in the kitchen but also to be efficient.
Start your plan by creating a list of menus for the entire week. You can set specific dishes for every meal. With the inventory on hand, you will know what to buy and how much quantity or volume to buy. You also have a view of the nutritional content of each dish.
It is easier to serve a balanced meal if the menu is planned. Having set meals also makes every dinner, lunch, even breakfast something to look forward to.
Invest in quality kitchen items
High-quality kitchen utensils, cookware, containers, and equipment can make a vast difference in your cooking experience. Most chefs prefer using wooden cooking utensils, cast iron cookware (like this Uno Casa cast iron cookware), and glass containers.
What you cook and store your food in can really affect the quality of the food you prepare. Glass containers are more effective in maintaining the freshness of the prepped fruits and vegetables than plastic containers, and cast iron cookware isn’t’ likely to leech any harmful chemicals into your food.
Choose a prep day
Select a day when you can do the week-long meal plan, mark the dishes on the calendar, go shopping for all the needed ingredients, and organize the bought items.
Preparing for a week-long meal plan may take most of the time of the day, so this day should not be your hectic day. It is also ideal to go shopping once.
You can involve the entire family on the prep day activities. Ask what dish they would like for specific days, assign or delegate tasks, and assist in shopping.
Keep the menu healthy
We all have food cravings and favorites that we want to eat. Some are used to having packed meals, which are very convenient, heat then serve.
When creating a weekly meal plan, make sure that there is a balance in nutrition in your meals. Everything is okay in moderation. So set that cheat day, just be sure to make up for it the rest of the week by getting in all of that healthy stuff you need.
Do not forget the essentials
List the essentials according to nutritional value. List your preferred sources of protein, carbohydrates, sugar, calories, and others. Among the list, pick those that will fit the dishes that you set for the week. Do not forget your dairy, veggies, and fruits.
Of course, we all enjoy the simplicity of using a store-bought sauce now and then, but if you are really wanting to live a little healthier making your own sauces is the way to go.
Nothing beats homemade sauces cooked using fresh ingredients. Cooking homemade sauces gives you the freedom to add, change, or remove some components. Adjust the tastes to fit you.
Once cooked, cool them down, portion, and store in an airtight container. Some sauces do not require to be refrigerated to maintain quality—some need to be placed in a freezer.
Slow cooking is the key
We all know how long cooking meat can take. Having a slow cooker can make meal prepping much easier. With a slow cooker, you can throw everything in and let it cook all day while you go about your day. At the end of the day, dish it all out into small portions that you can freeze or put in the fridge to pull out whenever needed.
A hectic lifestyle gives us less time to prepare for our food. Careful meal planning can relieve burdens and give you more time to do what you truly love, all while making sure you are taking in a healthy diet.