In our everyday lives, it can be very difficult to have a proper diet. This comes from the fast-paced days that seem to fly by in a blink of an eye. To rectify these more and more people are opting to prepare lunch in advance, putting aside a day or two to cook food for the entire week, and managing to enact a healthier lifestyle free of fast food. However, to properly prepare these meals in advance it’s good to know some tips and tricks that will help us with that.
1. Planning meals
Before you can prepare food in advance you have to know when you’ll even eat it. Even if you are specifically planning lunch, the hours you use for lunch may greatly alter your preparation.
The key part about planning it out is obtaining knowledge on when you’ll be free to prepare food and avoid having to buy fast food or other, less healthy alternatives. For example, if you are planning on eating lunch at 2:30 pm but work until 2 pm it’s going to be impossible to get home and prepare lunch in those 30 minutes. The best course of action, in this case, is preparing a meal in the evening, preferably something that won’t lose its taste and potency when cold or heated up multiple times.
Of course, the free time and schedules will vary for each individual but the key to each meal should be variety. This is the second phase of planning your meals where you are supposed to spice up your lunch every day with different cuisine or style of dish. Preparing a proper list of foods you’ll make in the future allows you easier shopping making it a tip with many benefits.
2. No need to complicate
While variety should be kept up, make sure to never get hasty with the dishes you pick. Cooking takes time to properly learn and not every branch of cooking can be jumped into as easily.
While frying yourself some meat or preparing pasta are very simple cooking endeavors, baking would give even some of the more experienced cooks issues. This is why you should always start with the simpler recipes and slowly build to more complex ones. Try making pasta and rice sauces to spice up and alter your usual meals with a bit fresher flavor. This doesn’t take up much additional time and is rather easy but results in a much tastier meal. More complex sauces can alter a simple pasta into a premium treat.
Make sure to check not only the complexity of recipes but their preparation time too. Although a meal may be simple to prepare the process could take too long for your liking and can compromise your schedule.
3. Pick food that can be used for a lot of meals
The variety of meals is just one of your concerns. There may be days when you don’t feel like eating a certain dish and would prefer to try something new. For the sake of keeping these wishes fulfilled it is best to buy food that can be repurposed for a lot of different meals or be prepared in different ways. Vegetables are the primary actor here as food items like peppers and zucchini can be used in salads, fried meals, as a side dish, or as part of the main dish. They can be fried, cooked, boiled, grilled, along with some other versatile food such as chicken breasts.
These versatile foods have the additional benefits of being very healthy across the board, their nutritional value varying between styles of preparation. In case you aren’t sure about a recipe you want to apply check out beyondtheembrace.com before cooking lunch for some potent recipes. Some simple inclusions like rice stuffed peppers may be just the thing you are looking for to spice up your everyday cooking and get more out of the items you’ve bought.
The versatile foods also make it easy to turn leftovers from one meal into ingredients for a different meal. The well-known casserole may spring to mind first but we assure you it’s far from the only recipe. Having leftover rice you had as a side dish can be an opportune moment to mix it with some vegetables and cover it in soy sauce for an extremely simple yet tasty dish.
4. Get everything in one shopping trip
Frequently going out to shop can be exhausting and time-consuming, especially if you have specific locations you want to go to. Pick out a single day to do your shopping, this will cut the time you spend on it significantly. Some food that can go bad in a few days, like bread, has to be purchased more frequently but those minor purchases are easy to accommodate in our everyday life. After all, a quick visit to the bakery doesn’t take up much time.
5. Check how long the food will last
Speaking of, always make sure to keep in mind how long each item of food you buy can last. Although some items such as cheese and peanuts take a lot of time to spoil others have no more than few days left once you use them. Cooked chicken or ground beef has about two days at most before spoiling, which is a few days less than most other meats. If you are somebody who uses those two types of meat a lot in your cooking be wary of the way you schedule the meals that include them.
Planning meals comes in handy here as well, you can spread all the faster-perishing meals over the initial few days after preparing them while the longer-lasting ones can be used well into the week.
6. Don’t underestimate the benefit of freezing
There are those weeks where no amount of repurposing can save us from having too much food in our place. This is where freezing comes in handy. You can seal the food in airtight bags and leave it in a freezer for whole months. However, food with lots of water usually doesn’t work well with this method. Keep your tomatoes and similar foods in the fridge or use them quickly because they won’t maintain their juicy taste after the freezer. On the other hand, cooked meat can stick inside of a freezer for up to 6 months without going bad. Making it very handy to freeze and unfreeze for future use. If you want to freeze some fruit and nuts you mixed up for dessert make sure to use them in the following 8 months or they’ll spoil. The vegetables are the king of being frozen though, being able to endure for a whole year at times without spoiling making them exceptionally good not only in our nutrition but in lifespan they can have.