How to Cut Down on Snack and Cooking Time by Pre-preparing Food

I know how I feel when I am tired after a busy day. I want to just relax and not have no worry about spending a long time in the kitchen cooking. I’m sure you feel the same way too. It is hard to create an even balance in our lives when we are constantly on the go.

When we come home we should feel able to wind down and relax rather than starting all over again. But, by spending just a few minutes each day, you can significantly cut down the time spent preparing snacks and meals.

Snack time

Snack time need not involve diving into a bag of chips as a way of overcoming your hunger pangs until the next meal. If you are fond of nuts then you can spend the previous evening shelling unsalted peanuts, walnuts, pecans or hazelnuts. Place them into snack size containers and keep them away from direct sunlight. Then when you want a snack, they are readily available, shelled and ready to eat.

We all know we need to eat more fruit, but how many of you shy away from it because it is time consuming to peel or cut up a piece of fruit? Again, you can spend some time pre-preparing the fruit as soon as you get it home from the supermarket. Wash grapes thoroughly, placing the picked grapes into a snack size container. That will help save time when you want to snack healthily but do not feel like washing and picking each grape. The same can be said for kiwi fruit, oranges, pears and apples. Just peel the kiwi fruit, slice it and put it into the fridge ready for a snack or as a breakfast accompaniment.

Peel oranges and separate the segments, as another easy snack item. Pears and apples that are peeled and sliced will need to be soaked in a little lemon juice to prevent them from turning brown.

Vegetable preparation

Vegetable preparation can take a long time when you have a meal to get ready. But the same principles apply as they do for snack times. When you go shopping and bring the food home, rather than putting the vegetables away straightaway, invest a few minutes in getting them ready for the next few meals.

It will help if you know what you will be cooking over the next day or two so that you can prepare vegetables for specific meals. For example, if you plan on cooking a vegetable stir fry, decide which vegetables you will use and prepare them. Wash each vegetable, chop and slice the onion, wipe off the mushrooms with a damp cloth and cut the broccoli into small pieces. Place the ingredients into containers close by each other in the fridge, so that when it is time to cook, all of the necessary ingredients are stacked together.

All that you will then need to do is just heat up the ingredients. The meal will be ready to serve much quicker than if you had begun to prepare the vegetables from scratch.

Meat

Meat can also be pre-prepared a day or so in advance. If you are going to cook steak or pork chops, consider making up a homemade marinade and leaving them in the fridge until the next day. Grind meat in batches and freeze what you don't need. Add all of the marinade into a securely fastened plastic zip lock bag and shake it to combine all the ingredients.

In the meantime, wash the meat and remove any excess fat. Place it inside the bag and place in the fridge. Remember to keep it away from cooked meat, produce and dairy products. You do not want to run the risk of any of the meat juices dripping onto any other food items.

Salads

It is now much easier to find bags of lettuce already washed and chopped in the supermarkets. Make good use of these and add your own ingredients to these bags of lettuce. Chop up an onion, cucumber, celery and any other ingredients you like and combine these with the lettuce. Place the finished salad in the fridge until you need it. Eat the salad within two or three days.

If you spend a little time in pre-preparing ingredients soon after you buy them, you will be saving yourself a lot of time in the long run. Mealtimes will seem more effortless and less time consuming. Snack time will also be easier, as you will already have the nuts shelled and fruit cut up into bite size pieces ready to eat.

This will make it easier to make healthier snack options when you are hungry. You will also be left with more time to relax. You can then spend your time doing what you would prefer, rather than spending most of your time in the kitchen.