Health Habits: Time Saving Kitchen Tricks

It’s Monday again, it was a long day and you just don’t want to spend a long time cooking dinner. It’s either fast food or a frozen dinner. Sound familiar?  We all lead busy lives and at the end of the day, exhaustion can keep us from eating nutritious meals.  A balanced meal is key for fueling your body properly. There are quick and easy tricks that you can do, using the appliances you already have in your kitchen and shortcuts available to you at the grocery store. 

First, shift your mindset. Make the decision to implement some new changes in your routine and your budget.  You may find that taking advantage of quick tricks in the kitchen will save you some hard-earned money. Be ready to spend a little time planning for the week.  It may sound counter-productive, but it will pay off in the end when you can whip up a meal for the family in minutes. 

Invest a day to reorganize your fridge and pantry, throw out expired food, take inventory and create a list of staples. Having pantry staples on hand will help you create meals in a matter of minutes.   Some pantry staples to stock up on may include rice, nuts, legumes (black beans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans), flours, oils and vinegars (search for specialty shops in your area or find a small selection at your local market), pastas, spices, condiments and certain canned items. Canned low-sodium or no-salt added broths, stocks and tomatoes are also great things to have on hand.  Stock up frozen vegetable medleys, spiralized sweet potato, or riced cauliflower.  The possibilities are endless.

Consider purchasing prepared items to cut down on prep time. Some examples of items you can purchase that are quick and easy to use are prewashed spinach, sliced mushrooms, pre-cut broccoli, butternut squash and cherry tomatoes.  Precooked rice and oven-ready pasta is available, which helps cut down on cooking time.  Take advantage of premade pizza crust, shredded cheese and pre-prepped veggies for a quick pizza or purchase thinly sliced beef, sliced frozen bell peppers, and canned chunk tomatoes with chili peppers for fajitas.  

Use your kitchen appliances to your advantage and let them do the work.  Create one-pan dinners in a pinch; throw some vegetables, baby potatoes and chicken on a pan and let the oven take care of the rest.  Do you still have that Instapot sitting in the box? Dust it off and allow it to do the cooking for you. How about that crockpot? Summer is here and the oven can be quite inconvenient to use.  Throw some of your favorite pantry staples together in the morning and come home to a nice hot meal. 

This week’s health habit: consider the benefits of a little kitchen and pantry organization for quick and healthy meals.  Make a plan with the family or get together with some friends to share dinner ideas and recipes.

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