After a busy day, the thought of spending hours cooking and cleaning for the amount of time spent eating can be daunting.
Avoid the feeling of getting tired before you’ve even started with these small steps – and in doing so, you can ensure that every mealtime is made up of quick and easy meals that are still full of great flavors.
Anita Birges, a decluttering expert and professional organizer said “Saving time, money, and space starts with your storage.”
Organizing your fridge and cupboards
“Make the most of your fridge and cupboard space, and in doing so, it will be easier to cook healthier dinners more efficiently, also helping to reduce food waste.
“The foods you and your family eat the most should be easy to reach and find within your fridge and cupboards. Once you’ve placed these, then you should begin to add the rest of your food.
“Certain foods require a certain storage temperature to keep them fresh and to help them last as long as possible.
“For example, keep milk on the bottom shelf of the fridge door where it’s coldest, and for juices and soft dairy products such as butter and soft cheese.
“You don’t want to waste products you’ve previously bought, so make sure to rotate your older items to the front when restocking the fridge, and use these before you open a new packet or bottle.
“TikTok has caused a huge surge in popularity for storage boxes, shelf dividers, and labels.
“This is because it helps save time when prepping meals. You can easily find and access items in your fridge and cupboards by using storage boxes and labels, simply refresh any labels or boxes when you do your food shops.
“A really great hack is that ready-made meals make fridge organization easy. Simply choose your meals for the week and organize them based on a weekday within your fridge.
“Ready meals are perfectly rectangular and easy to stack on top of each other, making them the ideal solution for fridge organization and quick meals,” she said.
Preprepare your ingredients
“Having to wash, dry, peel, and chop your vegetables and ingredients every night can be a real obstacle to healthy eating,” said Anita.
“Preparing ingredients so that they’re ready to cook early in the week minimizes meal preparation time during the week and means you’re more likely to opt for healthy ingredients as they’re ready and waiting.
“An easy way to get into the routine of this is choosing Sunday evening as your ingredient prep time.
“Once prepped, keep ingredients in the correct storage and submerge them in water where necessary to stop them from drying out in the fridge,” she said.
Make a plan and stick to it
“Failure to prepare is preparing to fail and this applies to dinnertime, too.”
“Creating a plan of what you will eat, and when, at the start of the week reduces decision-making time, shopping time, and prepping time. Being prepared will never have tasted so good as when you’re coming home from work with the idea of dinner already designed with simple execution left to do,” said added.
Make the most of leftovers
“Before you go to throw that surplus pasta, leftover beef, or untouched broccoli into the trash, think again,” Birges said.
“What’s one evening’s loss could be tomorrow’s lunch’s gain by expanding the life of your leftovers and eating it for another meal. That’s one less time you have to cook something and you’re guaranteed to enjoy it!
“You could eat your leftovers in the same way you ate them the first time or by doing something small you could transform them into a new, exciting dish that switches things up.
“For example, adding chilies to your bolognese, pairing leftover protein with a different carbohydrate, or putting more fresh vegetables into your leftover stew – leftovers don’t have to be boring.
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