Last week, we focused on involving the whole family in the meal planning process and the benefits of having support. Were you able to corral the family last week? Did you take turns picking meals or share in any of the food prep? We mentioned that Sunday Sanity Prep is an excellent starting point. However, even sometimes Sunday Sanity Prep can get away from us, and it’s important to remember that it’s okay.
Now that we’re a few weeks into January, some of us might already feel as if our New Year’s resolutions are beginning to unravel. Don’t lose hope! This week, give yourself a break. Though food prep can be therapeutic (personally, I find chopping fresh veggies can even be relaxing), we realize it takes time. This week, we’re going to offer some shortcuts to help you make mealtime more manageable.
Take these three shortcuts this week to get through your weeknight meal prep:
1. Pre-cut veggies
Sometimes pre-cut veggies are just the ticket we need to get through a busy week. Take butternut squash for example. It’s an amazing addition this time of year, to soups or stews, and even tacos. Though you’ll spend a little more money, you will save yourself the time during a busy week.
2. Frozen or pre-cooked brown rice and other whole grains
This one is a huge time saver. Instead of waiting 35+ minutes, my rice can be cooked in mere minutes just by heating up in the microwave. Just be sure to scan the nutrition label and avoid ones with added salt in the ingredients. The only ingredient you need is the grain.
3. Premade pizza dough, or pita or naan bread
Homemade pizza can be such a treat- for both children and adults alike. Luckily, premade pizza dough can really speed up the process. This kid-friendly spinach and artichoke pizza is sure to be a hit. Other ways to get creative, is to use whole wheat naan bread or pitas. We’ve got some great dishes so you can whip up a pizza midweek in no-time. Give our quick veggie pita pizza or Thai curry naan pizza a try this week.
Shortcuts like these remind us that we can still have a home-cooked meal during busy weeks. These types of meals are especially best for the nights you know you are going to work late, or when kids have late school activities. When part of the leg work is already done for you it gives you the impression that you have a head start in prep. Even if you are opening the refrigerator door at 7pm, you get the feeling that a home cooked meal is still possible. Plus, having some pre-made ingredients on hand offers a great alternative to take out on these busy nights.
Here’s a quick and easy weeknight plan that’s sure to impress:
Quick & Easy Weeknight Wins
All meals can be completed in under 30 minutes! A key shortcut you’ll find in this plan is the use of a pre-made rotisserie chicken, tossed into salads and tacos.
As we embark on new behavior change and goals around the family mealtime, it’s key to take it one step at a time, and zero in on the top one or two goals that are most important to you. Even if we initially set out to accomplish 10 goals in the new year, it’s good to be realistic, reset, and prioritize what is most important to us. This week, I challenge you to ditch the guilt about taking mealtime shortcuts, and relish in the fact that you’re still going to sit down to a delicious homemade meal together, regardless of who chopped the veggies. Bravo!
Monique Nadeau & Tara Linitz MS RD