When you’re busy and your mind is running a hundred kilometres an hour, it’s hard to figure out what you want to eat. Usually, that leads to quick alternatives that aren’t exactly great for your health.
I’m talking about myself here — and I only really saw a problem with this when I realised how much money I was wasting on takeout. A quick trip to the shops — and to Kmart to grab the meal-prep essentials (obviously) — I started my home cooking journey.
Here are some holy grails I’ve learned along the way that’ll help you get your meals on track without all the extra work.
1. If the thought of chopping veggies up puts you off — do yourself a favour and prep them in advance!
You can buy them pre-cut at the shops or invest in a vegetable chopper. Store them in airtight food containers, so they stay fresh and easily accessible for cooking or snacking. Basically, when you’ve got prepped ingredients at your fingertips, it’s more likely that you’ll incorporate them into your meals — which means more nutrition with little to no effort.
2. Create your own spice blends to help you enhance your meals and avoid unnecessary additives (or costs).
Adding spices is so much easier when they are customised to your meals and taste. Feel free to experiment with combinations of herbs and spices to add depth to your meals — and taste and change your creations as you go. Pop them into some aesthetic spice jars — and your dishes will never lack flavour again.
3. If you’re wild about salads why not try the viral jar version, which will turn your lunch into a grab-and-go situation — so you won’t have to spend excessive amounts on lettuce.
Start with your dressing at the bottom to stop everything from getting soggy — then layer your ingredients, with the heartier items like proteins and grains at the top. When it’s time to eat, just shake the jar to distribute the dressing and enjoy! There’s even a noodle version of this hack for colder days!
4. Kitchen appliances like slow cookers, multi-cookers and air fryers can actually reduce the effort required to prepare meals.
We’ve heard it time and time again — but trust me, these helpers are the KEY to developing easy and maintainable cooking habits. Slow cookers are great for soups and stews, multi-cookers can speed up cooking time and air fryers are perfect for crispy, healthier versions of your favourite fried or baked foods. And if you’re worried about how much it’ll cost to buy any of these — you can always trust Kmart to have great appliances at low prices.
5. And finally, avoid sacrificing your favourite dishes by digging around on the internet and finding recipes that streamline the process — or allow you to prep and freeze ingredients ahead of time.
Say you love lasagna — but use a recipe that involves multiple steps and long cooking times. By finding an easier version you can easily reduce the prep time and effort. You might choose no-boil lasagna noodles, pre-made sauces, and pre-cooked meats, so you can throw it together as fast as possible. Plus, if you choose something like lasagne, which freezes well, you can make extra and store it for another night!
Good luck and happy eating!