Zoe Foods ~ The slow pace of summer has faded into the hectic back-to-school season, leaving many families facing a real time crunch. One of the first things to go is healthful, home-cooked meals, often replaced with expensive convenience items like prepared foods and takeout. In this economy, who can afford it? With a little planning, anyone can save time and money serving healthful, home-cooked meals. Just follow these easy tips:
By planning the entire week’s menu in advance, you can shop ahead of time and eliminate extra trips to the store. It allows you to vary your family’s diet more, and you can mix up your menu so that meals that are quicker to prepare alternate with ones that take more time. Plan on cooking more than you need so that you can have leftovers for dinner later in the week!
• Use your weekends wisely
Weekends are a great time to prep ingredients for the coming week’s menu. For example, if you’re planning to serve a stir-fry, chop up the veggies on Sunday and store them in plastic baggies or re-usable containers. Pre-cut vegetables and meats are generally more expensive than their non-prepared counterparts. Buy a whole chicken and cut it into parts yourself, or buy heads of lettuce and chop into salad yourself.
• Re-use ingredients
If you are serving broccoli in your stir-fry one night, and have some left over but not cooked, steam the remainder and serve it with some other vegetables later in the week Serve boiled potatoes one night, then serve the leftovers as mashed potatoes later.
• Eat seasonally
Buy what’s in season to get the freshest and least expensive fresh vegetables and fruits. Seasonal foods naturally complement each other, making it easier to plan the menu.
• Love your freezer
Make extra on purpose, and freeze an entire meal or components of a meal so that you have it on hand when you’re crunched for time at a later date.
Remember: with just a little extra time spent preparing in advance, it becomes quick and easy to throw together dinner at the last minute. Need more motivation to commit? Think of the money you’ll save!
Zoe Foods produces a full line of granolas, cereals, and energy bars made with all natural ingredients.