I have been eating “clean” for almost two years. I love how I look and feel but sometimes the time I spend in the kitchen preparing and cooking food makes me crazy. That’s why I have come up with these 6 shortcuts to help me keep eating real food and save some time.
Schedule Time to Prep Food
Before I head out to go grocery shopping, I make sure I will have time to deal with the food once I get it home. Ideally, I try to do this the same day I shop, but life isn’t always ideal so sometimes I break the food prep out over several days after my shopping trip.
Cooking meat can be one of the most time-consuming parts of fixing a meal. I like to prep as much meat ahead of time as I can. A few times a month, I cook a pork shoulder or beef roast in the crockpot. When the meat is cooked, I shred it and divide it out into meal-sized portions and freeze.
I freeze a lot of raw meat, too. I like to cut thick pork chops and chicken breasts in half before putting them in the freezer so they will cook faster. If I am marinating meat like chicken for fajitas, I mix up the marinade and put it in the bag with meat before I seal it up to freeze.
Some vegetables can be pre-cooked, which makes getting vegetables on the table at dinnertime a snap. I like to steam-saute hearty vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli, kale, squash, and bell peppers.
I just wash the veggies in the sink, cut them up into bite-sized pieces and put the wet vegetables straight into a heated skillet on the stove. Then, I cover with a lid and remove the lid to stir occasionally and continue to cook. You’ll want to remove the vegetables when they are almost cooked. Don’t overcook. Once your vegetables are cool, place them in containers and throw them in the fridge where you can easily grab them for a quick meal. (Go here for an excellent, more detailed tutorial.)
Pre-Package Snacks and Meals
When hunger strikes, you’ve got to be prepared. I cut up vegetables like carrots and bell peppers and put them in a bag for easy grab-and-go snacking. Grapes and apples are another great option for portioning out. (I sprinkle a little lemon juice on cut apples to keep them from getting brown.)
I usually make a dozen hard-boiled eggs every week so I have a fast protein. I also pack lunches in divided containers like these. I work from home and sometimes struggle with stopping my work to eat lunch. Knowing that everything is prepped and ready to go, makes it much easier.
Make Spice Mixes Ahead of Time
One of the biggest surprises for me when I started cooking from scratch was how many spices I would use. Many of the recipes I make call for a mixture of spices.
On a food prep day, I put all of the spices that can be mixed together for a recipe into a labeled sandwich bag. I also make multiples of the spice mixture so I have enough to make the recipe several more times. If you’ve got the spices out, you might as well measure out several batches.
When I am making something like sweet potato fries, all I have to do is cut up the potatoes, add some oil, sprinkle with the pre-mixed spices and pop them in the oven.
If you are taking the time to cook a meal, it doesn’t take that much more effort to double the batch. Leftovers save me tons of time in the kitchen, but I am feeding six people every night and there usually isn’t anything left unless I double a recipe. With a second batch you have the option to eat the same meal another night that week or freeze the meal to use down the road.
I am always looking for new ways to save time and eat healthy. I would love to hear your tips. Share your shortcuts in the comments.
Sign-up here to get updates + easy access to my free printables.