How to make meals less stressful
Does the thought of cooking balanced, healthy meals for your family make your head spin? One of the biggest obstacles busy Americans face when preparing nutritious meals is lack of time. But there is thankfully a simple solution that can help manage mealtime mayhem: preparation, planning, and a “cook once, eat twice” strategy.
Here’s why you should implement this strategy to make mealtime less stressful:
Even the happiest chefs don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen; therefore the cook once, eat twice method is a game changer. Finding simple, 30-minute (or less) recipes that serve more than needed at meals is the easiest way to escape takeout (or the dreaded vending machine at work).
RECIPE: 20-minute Shrimp & Broccoli Linguine
Not everyone loves leftovers, but they can become more appealing if it saves you from coming up with something to eat later on. The best part? Sometimes reheating a meal tastes better the second time around. And no one said that you can’t doctor it up a little differently the second time around. Steak last night makes the perfect protein in a burrito bowl today.
RECIPE: Hawaiian Slow Pulled Pork
If less cooking didn’t convince you to go this route of planning/prepping, then maybe the dollar sign will. It’s no secret that some forecasting on the front end can help your wallet (and waistline) on the back end. Whether you’re cooking for one or an entire family, expanding the ways you use and stretch your grocery dollar can be a major benefit.
TIPS: Healthy shopping and eating on a budget
Now that you’re convinced that the "cook once, eat twice" strategy is the gold standard in stress-free meal making, let’s talk about food. Whether you plan your meals around the protein, the carb, or even the veggie – all can be used to save you time later in the week.
- Try grilling up extra chicken breasts so you can enjoy it with a side of roasted potatoes and asparagus one night and chicken stir-fry the next.
- Brown extra ground beef - think tacos tonight and chili tomorrow.
- Never discount the incredible, edible egg. Hard-boiled eggs can be used at breakfast, tossed in a salad, or as a quick snack mid-afternoon.
- Toss together a large bowl of dark leafy greens, tomatoes and carrots – pull out for a side salad here and there, and dress it as it goes. This is an easy way to add some produce in your life without all the prep.
Life’s hectic, but meal prep doesn’t have to be. Start incorporating these strategies today for a simpler (and tastier) tomorrow.
Paige Green received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Management at the University of Northern Iowa in 2012. She pursued her passion for nutrition at Iowa State University, where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in dietetics during the spring of 2015. She is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the Iowa Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Paige truly sets out to educate individuals on finding a healthy balance in life and her passion for people and nutrition inspires clients of all ages. You can find Paige at the Ames Hy-Vee on Lincoln Way.