You and your family have every intention of eating well - you want to serve up nutritious, filling, home-cooked dishes that your children will love, and that keeps them away from the snack cupboard. But with a busy working life, it's easy for that virtuous intention to go out of the window, as the reality of our jam-packed existences creeps in. Luckily, with a little advance preparation, you can get ahead of the game easily and use some simple hacks to make healthy meals an easily achievable reality, no matter how rushed you are in the evenings.
Cook Up Some Wholewheat Pasta
On a Sunday, set aside some quiet time for a bit of quick and easy meal preparation that will set you up for the week ahead. In your biggest pan, boiled some salted water and cook up a bag of pasta - not the white, starchy kind but the more filling and easily digested wholewheat sort. Cook it until only al dente, not too soft, and then you can add it to a range of things - minestrone soup to bulk it out and make it more of a meal for example. It's also great to be able to grab some for a quick lunchtime option mixed with some chopped cherry tomatoes, mint, olives and feta cheese.
Sautéed Veggies To Freeze
Another great hack is to pre-prepared some sautéed or even roasted chopped vegetables that fit into a variety of great dishes. Get started with a mix of colourful peppers, red onion, a little garlic and some tomatoes. Soften then in a pan via your induction cooktop or a roasting dish in the oven until they have just begun to brown. Then portion them up into individual meal sizes in freezer bags and pop them in the top shelf of your freezer. These baggies make a base for absolutely loads of different meals - from a simple pasta sauce, to adding some chopped chicken breast to make enchiladas or something like lemon chicken. You’ve cut a huge amount of the chopping and prep out of the mix if you can simply chuck one of these pre-prepared baggies into the pan or slow cooker, and it goes with almost everything.
Prep a Salad Dressing
Salads are a simple summer way to add a healthy dose of crunchy, tasty vegetables to any meal - but the dressings are often where we fall down. Shop-bought dressings are full of sugars, fats and calories and can sabotage your meal easily. The best way to avoid this is by prepping a tasty homemade salad dressing instead. Whip up a mix of grated garlic and ginger, a little balsamic vinegar, a dash of lemon and a shot of orange juice, for a dressing that is low on fat and sugar and big on taste. Pop into the fridge and you can add to salads easily throughout the week to make them truly virtuous and incredibly tasty.
With a few simple shortcuts, you won’t find yourself reaching for the processed frozen lasagne as much and will be able to provide nutritious, filling and delicious meals that aren’t a hassle to serve up on a busy week night.