meal planning

7 Time-Saving Tips for Making Healthy, Home-Cooked Meals

Crispy Bean & Cheese Burritos

Cooking every night can be a daunting endeavor especially when you’ve been at work all day. It’s definitely one of the reasons many people resort to fast food, take-out or frozen meals. But don’t be discouraged by the clock. You can pull together a home-cooked meal in a snap. Here’s what I recommended to the Avaglianos because I know how pressed they are for time.

#1: Create a daily menu for the week.  It’s best to do this on the computer because eventually you’ll create enough menus and shopping lists that you can cut, paste, rotate and repeat the weeks instead of coming up with new ideas.

#2:  Decide who is in charge of what meal. It’s important to delegate cooking responsibilities especially if you have older children in the house.

#3: Seek out great recipes. Check out these 20-minute meals and shortcut suppers. And don’t try to make anything too complicated especially when you know you only have a short amount of time.

#4: Use your shopping list. Going to the store with a firm plan makes it so much quicker to shop. Don’t forget to double the ingredients if you want to make enough for the next night’s meal or the following day’s lunch. This will ultimately save you time and money.

#5: Stick to ingredients you need. Don’t get lured into buying what’s on sale that week or sweet treats you don’t need when you are shopping. But do leave room for healthy snacks and lots of fruit and vegetables to snack on.

#6: Prep ahead of time. If you know you need chopped onions in 3 recipes then get a bunch of them chopped on Sunday when you get back from the grocery store and keep them in a plastic container until you are ready to use them.

#7: Make it known. Print out and post the schedule and menu on the refrigerator so all family members know when it is their turn to cook dinner!

 Registered dietician Elizabeth Fassberg runs Eat Food, a New York City-based company that designs and delivers custom food and nutrition programs for businesses, organizations and individuals. She’s coaching the Avagliano family through the six-month Healthy Family Challenge.