Whether you’re working full time or shuffling kids around all day, meal time can be stressful if you’re not prepared. You might find that you’re too tired to cook and it’s easier to run through the drive-thru to feed everyone. Every now and then, it makes sense to do that. However, by tweaking your routine and your kitchen to include meal prep, you can skip the drive- thru and eat healthier at home. Check out these food storage tips to speed up the meal prep process.
1. Make a meal prep station, where cutting boards and cooking utensils are easy to access. Carve out a lot of counter space so you can prep a lot of food at once. Start with a clean kitchen so everything is in its place and easy to find. Put prepared items in sealed containers for storage if you’re not using them right away.
2. Prep meals in bulk over the weekend and store in freezer bags so you can quickly grab and heat up during the week. Choose simple recipes that can be made quickly or in bulk, and rotate them on your schedule. There are plenty of recipes online that you can find if you don’t have any favorites.
3. Put grains, beans, and pasta into easy to access containers like clear plastic or mason jars. Label each product so you can quickly see and grab what you need. Your food will last longer and it will keep your pantry more organized.
4. Add zones to your pantry. Use pull-out shelving or baskets to keep like items together. It will make things easier to find. Keep frequently used items at eye level and place items that you use less often at the top.
5. Use plastic bins in your refrigerator to easily organize and grab what you need. Items that are hidden at the back of your fridge will be forgotten about, so keep frequently used items in sight. Try to house snacks together, so kids can quickly grab them for lunch boxes or after school. These may include cheese sticks, veggies, fruit, yogurt, pudding, and more.
6. Install a lazy susan to quickly access bulky items such as a blender or food processor. If you add one near your meal prep station, it can save you time. It might be a good place to also store plastic containers and freezer bags, baking dishes, and measuring cups.
7. Store condiments and oils like chefs. Use squeeze bottles or easy pour bottles when prepping your food. With one hand, it will be easier to add your ingredients.
8. Hang utensils from hooks above the counter for easy-to-reach access. If you can quickly grab your utensils, you won’t waste time shuffling through drawers to find what you need. Keep your hanging utensils in your meal prep station so everything is in one area.
Some weeks of food prep will be better than others, so be patient with yourself. The more you plan, the better your prepping will become. You will find that prepping your meals helps you save time and eat healthier.