It can be a struggle to work a full-time job and run a household. This is why many parents turn to fast food. The good news is you don’t have to. There are a number of ways to make cooking easier for weeknight meals. Whether you cook meals on the weekends or use your slow cooker, you can serve healthy meals every night of the week.
Make Cooking Easier with these 7 Tips
1. Make a Menu
This is a fun activity to do as a family. Treat it like you are running your own personal restaurant. Writing down what you want to eat helps plan your shopping so you have all the ingredients you need.
Making a menu also help minimize the stress of wondering what’s for dinner each night. It’s fine to just throw things together from time to time, but but not a great habit to make cooking easier overall.
When you identify favorite menu items, you’ll get better at cooking without a recipe. Until then, use recipes and menus to take the stress away from what to cook at the last minute.
You might also like: The Ultimate Guide to Meal Planning for Beginners
2. Schedule Grocery Shopping Trips
If you have time in your schedule to shop on a weekday morning, it’s a great time to avoid the crowds and focus on your list. Scrambling to get to the grocery store after work is inconvenient and only adds to the stress of the day.
Inevitably, shopping right after work means you’re hungry and hungry shoppers are more likely to splurge on convenience foods and snacks.
Aim to shop once or twice a week. Make it a family affair. Get everyone involved on a Saturday morning. You’ll pend less time running around town. Consider visiting a farmers’ market or receive a farm box delivery. Then you can plan your menu around what’s in season.
3. Cook on the Weekends
One of the easiest things you can do is prepare meals over the weekend. All you have to do is pop the meals in the freezer and get them out when you’re ready to eat. You can do this with friends and each person make one or two meals in large quantities and swap with the other cooks. That way everyone has meals for the entire week without spending a lot of time cooking. Here are a few of my favorite recipes that you can cook ahead and use during the week.
4. Prep Vegetables Ahead of Time
Another simple thing you can do is to have your vegetables prepped for meals. On Sunday, chop and slice vegetables for Monday – Wednesday’s meals. You can then prep more vegetables on Wednesday for Thursday and Friday. This allows you to quickly throw together a stir-fry, salad, or even roast chicken with veggies.
5. Break Out the Slow Cooker
The slow cooker is a working woman’s best friend. Each evening, toss the ingredients for the next day’s meals in the liner and store in the fridge. Before heading out the door, put the liner in the slow cooker and program it. When you get home, you’ll have a delicious meal waiting for you. Here are a few of my favorite crockpot recipes from great bloggers like me.
6. Stock Your Pantry and Freezer
A well-stocked pantry allows you to create yummy meals that don’t take a lot of work. You want to stock your pantry with pasta, boil-in-the-bag rice, canned beans, and other quick fix items that can be prepared with the homemade sauces and frozen meals you made over the weekend.
7. Make Homemade Convenience Items
Last, but not least, make your own convenience items. Not only is it more affordable, but you control the ingredients. For example, make your own taco seasoning. You can control the salt, get better flavor, and have something that allows you to create a delicious meal in a matter of minutes. Here is a great recipe for:
You can do this!
Weeknight meals don’t have to come from the drive-thru and you don’t have to quit your job to make healthy meals. All it takes is good planning. Whether it’s using your slow cooker or stocking your pantry, you can make cooking weeknight meals easier.