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Rachel C Johnson
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Rachel C Johnson

A few simple steps will make busy nights easier in the kitchen.

During busy work weeks and packed weekends, grabbing fast food can seem like the easiest option for dinner, but it doesn’t need to be that way. You can make healthy meals in a short amount of time with minimal ingredients and prep work. Read on for tips on how to make your life in the kitchen easier.

Have a plan. A little planning will go a long way. Having a meal plan set will help you quickly decide what to eat and avoid becoming overwhelmed. Start your grocery list by figuring out what meals and snacks you want to have each day. Plan meals according to your schedule—on a very busy day, plan to make balanced versions of convenience foods (think frozen pizzas, boxed dinners, frozen meals). If you will be using a convenience food, plan to have a fruit and/or vegetable along with it.

Prepare ahead of time. Taking extra time on days when you are less busy will save precious time on weeknights. When you get home from the grocery store, chop and dice any vegetables. Wash fruit and stock on the counter in the fruit bowl or leave at eye-level in the refrigerator. If you can mass-prepare a protein, this will save you the most time during the week. Meats typically take the longest to cook, so by cooking several pounds of meat at once on the weekend, you will save yourself a lot of time during the week. Here’s a great slow-cooker strategy.

Stock easy options. Stock your kitchen with simple fallback options that are easy to prepare. Frozen vegetables, frozen fruits, low sodium canned vegetables, fruit canned in juice, minute brown rice, whole grain tortillas and bread, low sodium lunch meat and dairy products can all be combined to form a nutritious meal. Try one of these easy options when you are short on time:

  • Scrambled eggs with toast and fruit
  • Tortilla with lunch meat, lettuce and cheese
  • Cheese and crackers with carrot sticks
  • Toast with hummus and sliced vegetables

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