If you work from home, you may not have a lot of time to prepare delicious, nutritious meals. But at the same time, you don’t want to rely on takeout or frozen dinners as staples to your diet, either. Luckily, there are several tips that can help you prepare good food at home – I’ll discuss them in this post.
- Season meat three ways using one pan – If you like lean meats like chicken, you know that eating them the same way day and and day out can get boring. But if you cook enough chicken ahead of time to last you a few days, you may not know how to season it different ways so you can have different flavors of chicken every night. There is a way to do that however – use an aluminum pan and get foil dividers for it so you can divide up your meat and have the different flavors separated from one another.
- Hard boil eggs in the oven instead of in a pot – Eggs are a great source of vitamin A and B, and healthy fat, and they don’t contain a lot of cholesterol like people previously thought they did. The problem is when you’re hard boiling eggs, you can usually only fit up to 5 eggs in a pot. However, if you bake your eggs in the oven in a muffin tin, you can make up to a dozen eggs at one time. Bake them for 30 minutes, and be sure to do a small test run first to make sure your oven doesn’t get too hot or too cold.
- Freeze blended smoothies in muffin tins – If you like to make smoothies in the morning, but don’t have the time to measure out all the ingredients, try buying your ingredients in bulk ahead of time, blending up your smoothie, and then freezing the mixture in muffin tins. The next time you need to make a smoothie right away, throw two or three of the frozen smoothie cups into a blender and blend it up.
- Chop or spiralize your vegetables ahead of time – If you’re too hungry to make dinner at the end of a long day, try cutting or spiralizing yoru vegetables ahead of time so you don’t have to spend time chopping them up at the end of the day. Zucchini noodles will stay fresh in the refrigerator for three to five days, and chopped vegetables like carrots, onion and pepper will last a week if they’re refrigerated in sealed plastic bags or tupperware containers.
- When roasting lots of vegetables, roast the ones with similar cooking times together – Waiting 30 to 40 minutes for each pan of roasted vegetables can be time-consuming if you’re roasting a lot of them. To save time, try roasting vegetables with similar cooking times together. You can cook vegetables like asparagus, mushrooms and cherry tomatoes together because they cook faster, and slow cooking vegetables like carrots, cauliflower, onions, potatoes and parsnips can be cooked together.
- Portion out foods ahead of time – You can help prevent overeating by portioning out things you like to nibble on ahead of time, like nuts, pretzels, or veggies into plastic bags or portable jars – it’s easy to munch on something mindlessly when you’ve got a whole bag sitting in front of you, but if you have just enough ready to go for lunch or a snack, you’re less likely to go overboard. Plus, it makes it easy to grab if you’re pressed for time – I like to make up portions of baby carrots to eat at lunch time on days when I work my full-time job at Apptical.
- Customize healthy oatmeal jars – Oatmeal is great to eat at breakfast, because it has a lot of fiber, so it will keep you satisfied until lunchtime. However a lot of brands of oatmeal have added sugar and added preservatives. You can make oatmeal blends yourself though – just put the oatmeal and the ingredients you want to add to it, such as fruit, spices or other ingredients, into Mason jars until you’re ready to make the oatmeal up.
- Bag up smoothie ingredients – Measure out ingredients for smoothies, such as berries, greens and yogurt, ahead of time. You can create yogurt portions for smoothies by putting the yogurt in ice cube trays and freezing it. Put your ingredients in the freezer, and they’ll be ready for your next smoothie. You can find some other creative ice cube tray ideas here: http://dailyburn.com/life/recipes/ice-cube-tray-snacks/
- Make breakfast frittatas in muffin tins – You can make mini-frittatas in muffin tins in your oven once, and enjoy them all week because the little mini-frittatas will last for up to a week. You can check out some mini-frittata recipes here: http://dailyburn.com/life/recipes/egg-muffins-breakfast-recipes/
- Always have some protein-rich snacks handy – Protein is important to help your muscles recover after a workout, and it also helps you keep from getting hungry, which makes it great for snacks. Instead of getting a pre-packaged protein bar, however, try these recipes for no-bake energy bites.
- Skewer meats for quick portions – You’ve probably eaten chicken or beef kebabs before, but did you know that putting meat chunks on skewers like that can actually help you control your portions? Next time you cook up meat to put on skewers, save some for the rest of the week. Remember if you’re using wooden skewers, soak them in water first so they won’t catch fire in your grill or oven.
These are just some of the tips that are out there that will help make meal preparation easier, there are many others – if you have any other meal preparation ideas you use I’d love to hear them! Please feel free to comment below.