In short yes! The world is a much busier place than it was even as little as ten years ago. What with work, keeping a home running, our social lifes, our children’s social life, sometimes planning good, nutritious meals get pushed a bit to the wayside.
However, it’s still possible to make sure you and your family are eating well, and below we’ll outline a few tips for you.
Say No To Takeaway
It’s so easy to just grab a takeaway on the way home from work, and it’s become even easier to get instant food with the advent of delivery services such as Deliveroo or Uber Eats.
A takeaway is a lovely treat every now and then, but it should not become a daily staple. It would quickly become very expensive if you were buying food in every day.
Takeaway food is also full of added fats, calories and salt, which is partly why it tastes so delicious, but is not good for your body on a regular basis.
The same goes for frozen ready meals. These are a great convenience when there is really no option, but the preservatives and added flavourings will have a negative impact on your health if you eat them regularly.
Slow cookers are so useful when you have a lot of things going on. They are often overlooked as being old fashioned, but they’ve had a resurgence in recent years, and there are many more recipes to help you on the way.
Using a slow cooker means you can put pretty much all your ingredients in before you leave the house in the morning, turn it on, and when you get home your dinner will be ready.
Having used only one piece of equipment – the slow cooker itself – there is much less cleaning up to do.
Slow cookers also use much less energy than a traditional oven, so they will save you money, and they are safe to leave on for long periods of time.
You can also use up those vegetables you have sitting in the fridge, and use cheaper cuts of meat, which is also economical.
There’s lots of recipes and ideas out there depending for slow cookers such as this cornish hen from Carrie cooks
The easiest way to batch cook is when you are cooking a meal for yourself or your family, is to double or even triple the recipe. This takes some more time and effort, but you can freezer the remainder into portion sizes and have an easy meal for those extra busy days.
You can also batch cook all your meals for the entire week on a Sunday so that you have your lunches ready for the whole week, to stop you popping out to the shop and spending money at lunchtime.
It’s also quite easy to batch cook something like breakfast muffins, so you have an easy to go breakfast that will keep you full up until lunchtime.
Don’t Waste Your Food
Many people will go food shopping with good intentions, and stock up on lots of healthy food and vegetables. This all goes straight in the fridge and much of it will be forgotten about until you find it wilting and moldy and needs to be thrown out, and wasted.
Instead, utilise your freezer. Not everything can be frozen, but many things can. Cut things into portions that you will need when cooking and put them in a freezer bag, write the contents and date on the outside in a permanent pen and put it in the freezer.
That way, you will have minimal wastage, and be able to easily grab something from your freezer to cook with.
Do A Weekly Stock Take
Once a week, go through your cupboards, fridge and freezer and see what you have. It’s easy to forget everything that you have in.
Make a list for each area of food storage, and stick it to the front of the cupboards. When you use something cross it off.
This makes it easy to see what you have at a glance, so that you can make a meal out of what you have, instead of buying more ingredients you don’t need.
Stock Up On Staples
It’s really useful to have a cupboard full of staples that don’t have a quick expiry date. Canned goods are useful, having dried pasta and jars of pasta sauce is really useful.
You can also freeze loaves of bread and pints of milk, amongst many other things.
This has never been more useful than during the COVID-19 pandemic. It doesn’t take long for things to go out of stock in a supermarket, so having some healthy, filling staple foods in your food store is always a good idea.
Not only is it useful in case of emergency, but also for those days when you are really very tired and do not want to spend lots of time preparing food.
Herbs and Spices Are Important
Never underestimate the importance of herbs and spices. They can completely change the taste of the meal.
So even if you decide to have the same meal every day for a week, say chicken and potatoes, just by changing the flavourings that you add to it, you can feel like you are eating something new every day.
Keep your cupboard stocked with different types of herbs and spices to allow you the versatility to change up your cooking. They also have a very long shelf life of several years normally, so you don’t have to worry if you only use them now and again.
So, as you can see, even with the busiest of lifestyles it is possible to ensure that you and your family still eat well.
It takes some extra planning on your part, but once you have got used to it, you will be able to save money and time, and still have healthy and nutritious meals.