Life during the Covid-19 pandemic has been hectic and stressful yet many of us have spent more time at home, so meal planning ahead of time may have been put on the back burner (no pun intended). Here are some time-saving tips for how to meal plan as things open up and we find ourselves with less time at home to cook:
1) Batch Cooking
Take 1-2 hours on a Saturday or Sunday to cook a large quantity of lean protein (e.g. chicken breast, salmon) as well as grains (e.g. quinoa, brown rice) and of course nutrient-packed, colorful veggies (e.g. broccoli, kale, carrots). These staples can be repurposed throughout the week by using different sauces or add-ons.
2) Prepare Meals that Freeze Well
Click here for a list of 20 meals that freeze well.
3) Slow-Cooker Recipes
Pop your ingredients in before you go to work and come home to a delicious, nourishing meal. For slow cooker meals that freeze well, click here.
4) Time-Saving Ingredients
1- Pasta sauce in a jar (Choose tomato-based in place of cream-based; use in moderation due to high sodium content.)
2- Rotisserie chickens (Remove skin.)
3- Bagged spinach and other greens (A bit pricier, but rinse and spin and they're ready to go.)
4- Canned broth/stock (For soups, stews, and sauces, canned broth can save a lot of time. Choose low-sodium versions and simmer with a bay leaf, whole spices, or dried crushed herbs to enhance the flavor.)
5- Canned beans (Drain and rinse the beans to reduce sodium.)
6- Frozen veggies (Picked and frozen at peak ripeness, frozen veggies maintain their nutrients better than fresh produce transported from far distances and you don't have to worry about it going to waste.)