I know myself well enough to assume that after a 10 hour work day, I will not be coming home with enough energy to cook a whole dinner from scratch. Heck, I know myself well enough to assume that I also won’t wake up early enough before said 10 hour work day to make breakfast or pack lunch. If I didn’t take a few hours on my day off to prep for the week ahead, I’m sure I would end up eating ice cream out of the carton while staring mindlessly into the fridge waiting for dinner to magically appear. Spoiler alert: dinner does NOT magically appear, however, the ice cream magically disappears and I go to bed half hungry/half ashamed of myself for taking down that much ice cream. I also feel like planning ahead is a gluten free girl’s best friend (don’t worry Marilyn, I love diamonds too! They’re gluten free!). Planning ahead may save you from making unhealthy choices, especially if you forgot to pack lunch and your coworkers are ordering out, you don’t want salad again do you? Here are the five things I do on my day off that make the rest of my week easier!
1. Cook your grains for the week.
You won’t believe how much time this will save you! Why waste 20 minutes every night when you only have to do it one time for the whole week! The recommended serving size of whole grains is 1/2 cup of cooked quinoa or brown rice. Tailor this to your family and you can cook up a batch to last you all week. Here are a few recipes to make sure you get whole grains in your diet (and why it’s important):
The importance of whole grains in your diet
Buffalo Quinoa Bites
Quinoa Pizza Bites
2. Make sure your breakfast is “grab ‘n go”.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but mornings are hectic enough, so if it takes more than five minutes, it’s not happening for me. I bake up easy to freeze, easy to grab breakfast cups on my day off that end up lasting me longer than just the week ahead.
Morning Glory Muffins
Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins
Sweet Potato Black Bean Frittatas
A big batch of soup is easy to throw together, and while it cooks you can spend time prepping other food, or just relaxing. Soup freezes well and is so comforting in the colder seasons, once summer comes just switch to gazpacho! Split it up into single serving containers and lunch is ready to go!
Black Bean Sweet Potato Chili
4. Prep your vegetables.
Wash, cut up, and store your produce as recommended and you’ll be surprised with how much time you save durning the week and that you actually use them. Americans throw away nearly $165 billion in food a year, imagine how much less you would waste if you could just reach into your fridge and grab ready to use veggies! Throw some into a stir fry, frittata or salad and dinner is ready in no time.
5. Dust off your slow cooker and plan a day during the week to use it.
If dinner is cooking while you’re at work there’s nothing to worry about when you get home except which wine to drink! I’m not a morning person so I have been known to throw everything together the night before in the ceramic insert and just refrigerate it so it’s ready to go the next morning.
What is your favorite time saving tip in the kitchen?