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How to Make a Week of Meals in Less than Two Hours

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As a work-at-home new mom, I don't have extra time. As a vegetarian and self-proclaimed health nut, I also don't have the option to live on fast food or ramen noodles. This is a problem as I do have to eat.

I've figured out that if I keep certain items on hand, I can prepare enough food in one hour to make several quick, healthy meals throughout the week.

You just need a few staples, that most people have on hand in their kitchen, to make meals for the week. Here's what I keep in the kitchen:

  • Eggs
  • Dried black beans
  • Brown Rice
  • Greens
  • Apples and baby carrots
  • Nuts, seeds and dried fruit

How to Make a Week of Meals with Kitchen Staples

Try some of these recipes/preparation ideas to make healthy meals:

Eggs

Hard boil one or two for each day of the week and stash them in the fridge once they're cool. These work great for breakfast on their own or sliced onto toast with hot sauce or cheese. For lunch, dice one up with mayo and mustard for an egg salad sandwich. Egg slices can add flavor and texture to a dinner side salad.

Dried Black Beans

Prepare enough to fill a large cereal bowl and put them in the fridge. Make a fast lunch wrap with whole wheat tortillas, black beans, salsa, and lettuce. Pair the beans with rice for a hearty dinner. Black beans are also a great way to add protein to a green salad.

Brown Rice

In addition to going with beans for dinner, brown rice can be the base for any number of meals. Prepare a large pot at the beginning of the week and keep it in the fridge. Top it with broccoli, pepper, and chicken stir fry or toss with peas, sweet potato, cottage cheese, and curry. Brown rice is also an ideal side with fish or pork.

Greens

Besides being a salad base, greens add a layer to a sandwich and flavor to a tortilla wrap. At the beginning of the week, chop a big bowl of greens and they'll be ready to go for whatever you need.

Apples and Baby Carrots

Apples are easy to keep on hand because they don't need to be refrigerated, last quite a while, and are easily sliced. They complement breakfast foods, lunch sandwiches, and casseroles.

Baby Carrots also go well in a variety of foods. Eat them raw by themselves or in a salad. You can also steam them as a dinner side dish. No peeling or greens trimming necessary.

Nuts, Seeds, and Dried Fruit

I make a large batch of “trail mix” that can go in yogurt, on a salad, or eaten by the handful. You can use any nuts, seeds, and fruit you like. I usually mix almonds, sunflower seeds, soy nuts, pumpkin seeds, and raisins. This gives you a nice boost of fiber and protein during the earlier parts of the day.

It's really made a difference in our house to have some things ready beforehand, and I still feel like we're eating a well rounded and healthy diet. I hope these tips do the same for you!

 What are some simple tips you use to make save time and make sure your family eats healthy?

Featured image courtesy of Flickr.

Katherine E. Reilly Mitchell is an outreach ambassador for Assistanceforsinglemothers.com, which is a website that teaches women how to start a non profit organization. She also maintains a personal blog at humantextuality.com.

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Jill Greenlaw

Jill Greenlaw has a banking background. She gave that up 17 years ago when she got married and started having kids. She loved being a stay-at-home mom while raising her four beautiful children. A few years ago, Jill went back to work in sales. She is now working for the Mom It Forward team as their Community Manager. She loves her job. Her interests include camping, motorcycling, boating, photography, reading, cooking, and traveling. Put her in flip flops anywhere warm and she is happy.

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