How to Incorporate Cooking into Your Home Routine

Preparing healthy meals can seem like a daunting and time-consuming task for any family.

Balancing work life and family life can be overwhelming, and you may feel like you do not have time to prepare quality meals for yourself or your loved ones. The following tips and tricks can make cooking at home less intimidating and time-consuming.  


Keep plenty of frozen fruits and vegetables on hand.  

These are great because they have a longer shelf life and can be utilized in a variety of recipes from smoothies to soups and side dishes. They allow for a quicker and healthier meal prep. 


Utilize “smart” technology.  

Many times, we hear the phrase “set it and forget it” because anyone with a smartphone can utilize a crock pot or multi-cooker along with a smart outlet to start or finish a meal. Using the smart outlet and an Amazon Echo or Google Nest device, you can easily control your appliances remotely. This allows for a quick and easy lunch or dinner when the kids return home from school.  


Make a meal plan.  

Utilize a monthly whiteboard calendar on your refrigerator or a digital planner to save time at the grocery store by planning out meals on a weekly or monthly basis (i.e. Spaghetti and Meatball Mondays, Taco Tuesdays, Tuna Casserole Wednesdays). This can be more fun with seasonal changes or special holiday recipes are included and can get the whole family involved! 


Buy flexible ingredients. 

Buy easy-to-cook ingredients that can work in a variety of meals (i.e. fresh ground turkey, beans, lentils, chickpeas, zucchini, or squash). The more versatile the food, the more options that are available. 


Allow for some easy-to-grab snacks and meals. 

Having easy-to-eat snacks and meals will help you avoid stops at fast food restaurants. Some ideas include carrot and celery sticks, peanut butter and bananas, dried fruit and nuts, Uncrustables and sandwiches, and frozen or fresh pastas that cook quickly and can be incorporated into or alongside various dishes. 


Make meals a la carte.  

Make meals that ingredients may be easily added or subtracted to include even the pickiest eaters. For example, preparing dry pasta noodles with sauce or meat on the side can be fixed in a variety of ways to please various palettes. The leftovers can also be used in soups, homemade macaroni and cheese, or pasta salad.  


Plan ahead.  

Prepare ingredients during downtime. Perform tasks such as washing and cutting a variety of fruits and vegetables (berries, lettuce, sliced apples, cucumbers, celery, pineapple) when they are purchased to make them more user-friendly so that produce does not go to waste.  


Be mindful of how items are stored.  

Check the labels to see if items need to be refrigerated after opening. You would be surprised to learn that many items including eggs, melons, tomatoes, and bread do not need to take up refrigerator space leaving more room for you to store pre-prepped items. 


Author: Lourice Adili, OTR/L

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Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog is for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as professional advice. The content is based on the author's personal experiences, research, and opinions. It is always recommended to consult with a qualified professional or expert before making any decisions or taking action based on the information provided in this blog.

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