As you know, I’m a huge huge advocate of meal planning and I always recommend it to people when they ask me what they can do to save some money.
The reactions I get from people more often than not fall into one of three categories – there are the people who already meal plan, the people who think it’s worth giving it a go and then there are the people who think it’s too much of a faff and will take too much time.
It might take a little time to actually work out what you have in and then planning the meals you’re going to cook and the extra shopping you’re going to use but you soon get used to that and it doesn’t take long at all. The time you spend doing this though will save you massively through the week if you’re clever about it.
Here’s just a few super simple ways that you can use that will make a big difference to how much time you spend cooking.
Prepare Everything in Advance
Meal planning is all about getting things ready in advance, so being organised with your cooking can help you a lot. You can do things like making sure you have any utensils that you need ready to go before you get started. Having your ingredients ready, whether it means chopping them up or just putting them on the counter, is useful too. Of course, it also helps to know what you’re going to cook and when. You can waste a lot of time being stuck for ideas, and then end up going for an unhealthy but quick option.
Use Some Quick Prep and Serving Tips
Some food preparation just seems to take forever. Perhaps you’re not very quick at cutting things up, or you’re never sure how to tackle a butternut squash. The great thing is that there are almost always shortcuts you can take to get perfect results without all of the hassle. Among the cooking hacks you need to try are using a knife to serve ice cream and quickly dicing a mango. Some of the things you can do might not seem like a huge deal, but the time you save can build up.
Make Meals When You Have Time
Many of us try to cook when we feel we should have to. It gets to 5 or 6pm, and you think that it’s time to start cooking. But it can be tough to find the time and energy at the end of the day or in the morning when you’ve just woken up. One good idea is to use the time and energy you have when it’s available, whenever that might be. If you’re more energetic in the morning, prepare something for your slow cooker or maybe do the same before going to bed for the next day.
Choose Time-saving Ingredients
Your choice of ingredients can also make a difference to how much time your cooking takes up. While you could opt for prepared vegetables and the like, this can get expensive and come with a lot of packaging. If you want to save on prepared vegetables, frozen or tinned ingredients can be great. They’re cheap and easy to use too. There are other ingredients that you can choose for faster cooking as well, such as quick-cooking whole grains.
Cooking doesn’t have to be time-consuming. You can save a lot of time by using the right tricks.