It is true that food shopping and cooking takes time. Time is the most valuable aspect we have and most of us can not afford to invest it in these activities. The results is that we end up eating poorly and spending too much money on ready meals and take-away.
If you want to improve the quality of your nutrition and at the same time reduce the amount of money spend on food, you can apply the following practical methods that will allow you to cook healthy nutritious meals fast and easy. The idea is to cook quick and easy recipes which a healthy and tasty at the same time. These following 5 steps can help you enjoy your own recipes even if your time is very limited.
Everyone is aware of the idea of multitasking. Multicooking is about the same thing in the kitchen. You cook more than one recipe at the same time. Recipes that have ‘dead’ periods during which you need to wait are excellent solutions for this. While you make lunch you can also prepare something for dinner or something for the next day. Once you are in a “cooking mode” it is easy to cook more than one recipe.
2. Cook more
Cook large quantities of basic ingredients such as rice, beans, boiled veggies, roast chicken and hard-boiled eggs. These can be kept in the fridge and allow you to create easy recipes on the fly. For example Some beans can be added to your green salad for a nutritious fast meal or some chicken can get inside some bread for a quick sandwich. The idea is to have always available something that you can turn into a meal. If you have some extra minutes available you can use these foods in recipes that require some cooking. For example the precooked rice and chicken can be placed in a pan with some onions and spices to create a wonderful risotto that will be ready in less than 5 minutes.
3. Cook for the week.
Combine the two steps above and cook different ready meals that you fridge or put in the fridge. Cook large amounts of basic ingredients to allow you create easy recipes in a moment. During that time you can also pre-wash, dry and place in plastic bags the salad and vegetables you will use throughout the week.
4. Time saving cooking methods.
There are several ways to reduce the time taken for a meal to cook. Some common suggestions include cutting the food in small pieces, cooking with the lid on, cook in limited amount of liquids, using a pressure cooker, using the microwave oven, soaking the rice, grains and pulses in water before you cook them. Another clever way is to have some “no-cooking” meals such as salads and juices.
5. Ready to eat
Have some ready to eat foods around your house. In case you have no precooked food or leftovers in the fridge, you can keep a cupboard full of things that can be eaten right away. It is important to chose the most healthy and cheap alternatives. Avoid processed junk food or expensive ready meals. A good choice in cans of tuna, peas, corn or anything else you like. Canned food can quickly turn a green salad into a nutritious full meal. Other excellent choices to have always available are wholemeal rusks, nuts,
6. Let it cook by itself
Look for recipes that need little preparation time and can be cooked without requiring your presence. The best recipes of this kind are casseroles and other oven foods. For example roast chicken with chips and veggies in the oven can be left alone cooking while you do something else. Place the chicken in the tray, add frozen chips and mixed veggies, season and place in the oven to bake. If you have an oven timer, use it to have it turned of automatically. Otherwise, set your alarm clock to warn you or just stay in the kitchen and do what you do. It takes 5 minutes to prepare and during the 45 minutes it takes to cook you can do something else. Always be cautious with safety to avoid bad surprises. When I was a student I used to sit and study in the kitchen table while the food was been cooked.
Remember that time spent in the kitchen is time invested in your health and well being. The goal is not to just save time but also save money and improve the quality of your life. Your goal is not to avoid cooking but to make the best out of the limited amount of time you can invest for cooking.