This post on easy time-saving kitchen tips is sponsored by Microban and The Cleaner Home. Thanks for supporting!
Time-saving kitchen tips
One of the biggest things I hear from people who are having trouble eating healthy is that they say that they don’t have time to cook their own food in their own kitchen. Well, I get it. When you work full time, have people to take care of, hit the gym regularly and want a social life — the last thing you may want to devote time to is being in the kitchen. However, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing and you don’t have to spend all day in there. If you work smarter, you can live more and worry less. 🙂
You guys know I’m all about efficiency and minimal effort in the kitchen to get the most impact for your health, and thus have some tips for being quick in the kitchen, including a plan for meal prep. And for this post, I also decided to ask some super fit and healthy ladies — with varying degree of professions and responsibilities in the A Lady Goes West Friends Group — how they do it to give you even more good information.
Many healthy and fit people rely on batch cooking
One of the overwhelming things I heard from the people that I asked is that it’s best to devote just a couple of hours on a Sunday (or just before the beginning of the week) to do a majority of your food prep, so on the busy weekdays, you have healthy and cooked ingredients to pull from. That will make it so you know you can head home from work and the gym and have food that will be ready to eat in no time, which will hopefully stop you from swinging into a drive-through or ordering Chinese take-out again.
And now, welcome, to this crowd-sourced section of advice for killing it in the kitchen …
- Try to make recipes that utilize similar ingredients, so you can buy in bulk. And before you start cooking, lay everything out on the counter in front of you, so that you have it all in one place and know that nothing is missing. And if you’re following a recipe, put it on a tablet and prop that up right in the kitchen, so you have it on the ready without fumbling through a book.
- Use your space. Multi-task by baking a casserole in the oven and steaming another dish on the stove, so you can prep and prepare both dishes at once.
- Speaking of casseroles, they are simple to prepare and can be easily stored and reheated for a few days — try using spaghetti squash or eggplant as the base to up the veggie content. Also, you can make the casserole the night before you need to cook it and just keep it in the fridge. This is great for parties, and something I just did this past weekend when hosting a brunch on a Sunday.
- Use the right tools. Cut your veggies with sharp knives and have your area ready for chopping and prep with the antimicrobial protected cutting board line from Microban and Neoflam. These cutting boards have ridges to collect juice and come in a set of three, so you can quickly move from meat chopping on one board to veggie chopping on another, and then throw the boards straight into the dishwasher for cleaning — who doesn’t love that.
- Always make enough for more than one serving. If you are cooking dinner for two people, make enough so that you each have lunch for the next day as well. Immediately pack the leftovers in safe glass containers, so you don’t eat more than you need and you’ve got lunch on the ready.
- Buy rice packets. Organic jasmine rice or brown rice (my new favorite is jasmine, by the way), packets are super versatile. If you boil a few packets in a pot, you can season each slightly differently. Plus, rice does well in the fridge and reheats well. Then, combine the rice with a protein and a veggie for an easy balanced meal.
- Don’t be scared to buy frozen fruits and veggies to quickly throw in your smoothies. And if you want to really up your smoothie game, section out the ingredients you need for each smoothie in a freezer bag, so you can pull the bag out and drop it straight into your blender.
- When it comes to batch preparing breakfasts for the week, easy overnight oats are the way to go. You can make several containers at a time and store them in the fridge for a few days. Then, in the morning, you just take a single-serve container out about 10 minutes before you plan to eat it, and then eat it cold (I promise, it’s good cold!). Here’s a favorite overnight oats recipe.
- Like mini things? Try making mini frittatas with eggs in a muffin tin in the oven — these are simple to make and store very well and you can put almost any veggies or meat in them too.
- When in doubt, assemble your meals, with a protein, a veggie and a healthy fat — you don’t have to get complicated or even do a “recipe” if you just add some seasoning to each part of the meal.
Pretty sweet tips, right? Now here’s my take on a couple of time-saving staple efforts in the kitchen …
The best and easiest proteins for meal prepping
There are many ways you can batch cook food, but I like to think that two of the easiest things featuring protein are crockpot chicken and hard-boiled eggs. Fun fact: I ate crockpot chicken as my daily protein in a salad every single day when I was working as a trainer at Equinox. It was just TOO easy not to make. And that’s coming from someone who doesn’t love to cook meat.
- For crockpot chicken, all you have to do is throw a few organic chicken breasts into a crockpot with salt and pepper, salsa or even broth, and then let the breasts simmer on high for about four hours or on low for about eight hours or so. Set it and FORGET it.
- When they are done, all you have to do is take the chicken out, place it on your meat-labeled Microban Neoflam cutting board and shred the chicken with a fork. Then, store the chicken in a glass container in the fridge. You can use this chicken on salads, put in pasta, put it in a casserole or even put it on top of a baked sweet potato and it will last for a few days.
And think of what you could do with all that free time while the chicken is cooking in the crockpot.
- For hard-boiled eggs, buy a dozen pasture-raised eggs, throw them in sauce-pan, cover them with about one inch of cold water, and bring the water to a boil. Once the water is boiling, cover the pan and remove it from heat. Let the eggs sit in the hot water in the pan for about 12 to 15 minutes. Then, drain the hot water and put the eggs in strainer and run cold water over them. After a little while, they will be ready to peel and store in the fridge.
- Hard-boiled eggs have great staying power and are the perfect protein snack, paired with an organic apple, or as a salad topper. Love some spice? Add some hot sauce or salsa to your hard-boiled eggs.
And you can make the whole batch at once, perhaps filing your nails while you wait for the eggs to cool.
The best and easiest veggies for meal prepping
Not all veggies last a couple of days after meal prepping, but I think that Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes have great staying power. All you have to do is cook a load of them one day, and then you can enjoy them for a few days.
Baked sweet potatoes
- With sweet potatoes, all you have to do is wash them, poke a few holes in them and bake them at 375 directly on the oven rack for about an hour — nothing else needed. So easy!
- After the potatoes are done, place them on your veggie-devoted Microban Neoflam board and remove the sides. You can also cut them in half. Once they have cooled, store them in a glass container in the fridge.
- And talk about saving time, these sweet potatoes, made in a batch, can then be used as a vessel for multiple meal variations, or as a healthy side. One of my favorite ways to eat them is with eggs and avocado — perhaps the perfect healthy-fat-dense meal. But I’ve also topped a sweet potato with almond butter and nuts for a breakfast on the go.
Roasted Brussels sprouts
- For Brussels sprouts, all you have to do is wash them, chop them in half, drizzle olive oil and salt and pepper on them, and bake them for about 25 minutes at 425 on a foil-lined baking sheet coated in cooking spray. I also like to add turmeric for a little flavor.
- Then, you can eat your Brussel sprouts as a side dish with meat or eggs and even add them into a pasta or casserole. Fun fact: while they taste better when warmed up, you can even enjoy them cold.
Microban and Neoflam cutting boards
Let’s talk about the Neoflam Coded Cutting Board Set in this post …
They come in a set of three, and have a very convenient organizational holster that stands them upright. They have grooves to collect the juices that form when you cut into meat or moist veggies and non-slip handles. And want to know the biggest selling point?
The Microban Silvershield Antimicrobial Protection, which helps fight the growth of stain and odor-causing bacteria, helps keep these boards 99 percent cleaner, longer. And this protection stays on the board and won’t wash off. Even though, yes, these cutting boards are dishwasher safe. Major plus for saving time!
There you have it! With the right tools and a plan, you can be in and out of the kitchen in no time, with a few healthy meals just waiting to be enjoyed! Thanks for reading, my friends!
Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Microban and The Cleaner Home. While I received compensation and complimentary product, all the words and opinions are totally my own. Thank you SO much for supporting the great brands that we partner with here on A Lady Goes West.
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Questions of the day
What’s your favorite quick week-night dinner?
What’s one time-saving kitchen tool you cannot live without?