5 time saving hacks to get hours back every week
Time saving kitchen tips to help you stay on track
Healthy meal planning, grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning all cut into our precious hours. If you’d like to save a bit of time in the kitchen without sacrificing your health goals, here are some time saving tips from Lite n’ Easy dietitian, Melissa Holloway.
1. Plan ahead
Have you ever finished a mammoth day at work and had the dreaded feeling of not knowing what to have for dinner? Knowing what you need to make ahead of time means you don’t have to think too hard about what to make at a time when your brain is ready for some ‘no-think’ time. It also means that you’re more likely to have shopped for what you need already. Plus, there won’t be an extra run to the supermarket and potentially buying more than you need.
The combination of being too busy and hungry can lead to poor food choices, so it’s handy to have some ready-made meals in the fridge or freezer, ready to go when you are. So there is always something healthy, convenient and portion controlled for you to eat.
Another great part of planning ahead is that you can prep bulk meals that can be then chilled or even frozen ahead of time. Cook up a storm in a couple of hours on the weekend, and you can settle into the week knowing there are nights that you don’t have to cook.
2. Keep your lunch at work
When it comes to packing a lunch for the workday, often time (or lack of it) can get in the way in the mornings. If you’re anything like me, getting on the road because you’re running late wins every time over making sure you’ve got your lunch.
Most take-out and convenience foods can be higher in calories and sodium than home-made or healthy ready-made meals, and can easily sabotage your weight management or health goals. So rather than packing a full lunch every day before work, consider keeping some healthy shelf-stable lunch options at work such as wholegrain crackers, pots of brown rice, cans of tuna or salmon, chickpeas, baked beans or nuts. Then you can just take a small salad, yoghurt, hummus or fresh fruit or veggies such as tomato, cucumber or carrot with you if you need to fill up your plate. Also, consider cooking more veggies the night before so that you can include in your lunch the next day.
Another option is to pack a week’s worth of lunches before the week begins and have it ready to grab-and-go each time you leave the house, or even leave it at work if there is space. This is guaranteed to save you time every morning and will help you avoid take-out lunch options on the days that you just can’t find the time to pack a lunch.
3. Keep it simple
Healthy eating doesn’t need to be a nightly 1-hour marathon of chopping, steaming, simmering and baking. Something as simple as scrambled eggs or baked beans on grainy toast, with a side of steamed fresh or frozen vegetables is a perfectly simple, and perfectly healthy meal – a great go-to for when you don’t feel like cooking. Even better, boil some eggs while you’ve got a spare 10 mins in the kitchen and pop them in the fridge to have throughout the week. It can be easy to over-extend yourself when planning meals, so try to pencil in one ‘easy meal’ night per week to ensure you get a break.
4. Pre-cut fruit and veggies
Smash your daily fruit and veg by prepping a stash of pre-cut vegetables like carrot, cucumber and celery that you can use as a healthy snack when you’re busy. These go really well with healthy dips like hummus or tzatziki. This is a great option to bring to work as a snack or to have with lunch. Pre-washing and cutting fruit a few days ahead such as berries, melon and pineapple means you’ve got a delicious fruit salad ready to eat all week.
You could even pre-wash and pack a few mixes for smoothies for the week if smoothies are your thing. A favourite in my house is banana, spinach and cucumber with Greek yoghurt – when you’re ready, just add water and blend. Extra veg for the win!
5. Grocery shop online
Do you have a habit of over buying groceries or aimlessly wandering the aisles? Save time by doing your grocery shopping online. Planning your groceries ahead of time means there are no more last minute trips to the shops, and less temptation towards lingering in the chocolate or biscuit aisles. You can even set up your weekly order as an auto-delivery so you don’t have to think about it every week. If you commute using public transport, this can be a great time to get your order in. Many fruit and veg grocers are now offering online shopping too and many offer free delivery. Save time, and support local business. Win win!
Why Lite n’ Easy?
Lite n’ Easy takes the hard work out of meal planning and preparation. There’s no better way to free yourself up than with one of our complete meal solutions. You’ll get to enjoy the right foods in the right portions throughout the day and you’ll save hours every week because there’s no meal planning or food shopping and very little preparation required. There’s also a range of other flexible options available, meaning you can choose any combination of our meals to suit your lifestyle needs and budget. Give us a call on 13 15 12 or order online now.
Melissa Holloway is an Accredited Practising Dietitian with extensive experience across a range of industries including aged care, elite sport and in hospitals. She is passionate about ensuring people have access to not only fresh and healthy food options but also that people get to choose food that they truly enjoy. As a mum, Melissa loves preparing healthy and delicious food for her family.