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This will sound like a repeat. You’re REALLY busy. I’m REALLY. That said we don’t have time to slave away and waste the day in the kitchen. Here’s are my favorite ways to shave off some precious time and get out of the kitchen.
1. Get rid of all those kitchen gadgets. I truly believe you only really need a good knife, cutting board, and high quality blender (think Vita-mix.) Most other tools take up space, take up too much time to clean and are expensive and unnecessary.
2. Cook once, eat twice or three times. Get in the habit of making big batches when you do cook, so that you only have to actually cook a time or two each week.
3. Make breakfast and lunch the night before. And make at least 2 at a time. Who wants to be doing that same chore again tomorrow night?
4. Prep produce before you even put it away after grocery shopping. First of all, dirty produce has no place in your clean fridge, second, you don’t want to deal with cleaning produce several times a day. Take 20-30 minutes after the grocery and get it done. You’ll thank yourself later.
5. Pick one day a week and make big batches of seasonal food and eat on it for a few days. I typically do a grain, protein (bean), maybe some hummus or almond butter, and a nut milk, along with my prepped produce. You’ll have a ton of combinations with this. Mid week take 30 minutes to re-evaluate and fill in any gaps. For example, make more almond milk, cut more veggies for snacks and make a new quick grain (think quinoa) to get you through the rest of the week.
6. Multi-task. Set a timer for your rice, beans, squashes and things that take more than 30 minutes. This way you can go about your business of finishing your other tasks without waiting around on food you’re cooking.
7. Never mince garlic. Smash it with your knife, move on. This way you can put use it in more dishes too, as it’s so good for you!!
8. Invest in Ball canning jars for leftovers, smoothies and salad to go containers, etc. They’re easy to freeze soups and other goodies in, travel well, and will you save time scrambling though old tupperware containers and lids (which you know you shouldn’t be using anyway!! )
9. Join a CSA. If you’re like me, you typically shop mainly for produce anyway, so save the trip to the store, all while supporting your local farmer and your health.
10. Make your toaster oven your new BFF. Throw whatever you plan on eating in a single portioned oven safe dish, toss in oven, and go about your business. Come back in 10-20 minutes and your meal is ready. I’ll do this in the morning while getting ready or while paying bills or returning phone calls in the evening. You can do this with your regular oven as well, if you’re feeding your entire family. Leftovers will taste far better and you will support your health by not using a microwave.
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Melissa Schollaert is a Holistic Health & Nutrition Counselor and founder of Real Nutritious Living. Helping others achieve their health goals to attain their healthiest, happiest life is her greatest ambition.