Cooking at home can be a great way to save money, eat healthier, and try new recipes, but it can also be time-consuming and overwhelming, especially if you have a busy schedule. If you’re struggling to find the time or energy to cook at home, here are some tips to help you get started.
Start meal planning
One of the biggest barriers to cooking at home is not knowing what to make or not having the ingredients on hand. Take some time on the weekend or at the beginning of the week to plan your meals and make a grocery list. This will save you time and energy during the week when you’re trying to get dinner on the table. Consider using a meal planning app or creating a spreadsheet to keep track of your meal ideas and grocery list.
Make use of leftovers
Don’t be afraid to cook a little extra and save the leftovers for lunch or another meal. You can also freeze leftovers for a quick and easy meal on a busy night. Be sure to store leftovers properly in the refrigerator or freezer to prevent spoilage.
There’s no shame in using shortcuts like pre-cut vegetables, canned beans, or store-bought sauces to save time in the kitchen. Look for products that are minimally processed and made with whole ingredients to ensure you’re still getting a healthy meal. These shortcuts can be especially helpful when you’re short on time or energy.
Try batch cooking
Dedicate a few hours on the weekend to cooking a large batch of a few different dishes that you can portion out and freeze for the week. This way, you’ll have quick and easy meals ready to go when you’re short on time. Batch cooking can also be a great way to save money by buying ingredients in bulk and reducing food waste.
Invest in a slow cooker or Instant Pot
These appliances can be a lifesaver for busy cooks. Simply add your ingredients in the morning and come home to a fully-cooked meal in the evening. Slow cookers and Instant Pots are also great for cooking tough, inexpensive cuts of meat that require long cooking times, like roasts and stews. This guide on how to make butter chicken in an instant pot is a good place to start.
Get creative with your meals
You don’t always have to cook a full, elaborate meal to eat at home. Consider making simple meals like sandwiches, salads, or even smoothies for a quick and easy dinner option. You can also try incorporating more plant-based meals into your diet, which can be quicker to prepare and often require fewer ingredients.
Involve the whole family
Cooking at home can be a great opportunity to get the whole family involved. Assign tasks to different family members to make the process more efficient and enjoyable. Children can help wash vegetables, measure ingredients, and set the table, while older family members can assist with more complex tasks like chopping and stirring.