Top 88 epic easy meal prep ideas that will save your time and money

Liubov Napadovska
Apr 23, 2017 · 56 min read

It is believed that cooking food is a very hard and ungrateful work.
I thought the same way all my life, until I started to collect these cooking hacks.

By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” — Benjamin Franklin

Some people think cooking food is hard and thankless work.

I once thought the same way — that is, until I started collecting these cooking hacks.

These secret tricks turned the process of preparing meals for my family into an easy and interesting activity.

I started to enjoy the process.

After 60 years!

In addition, my husband became more grateful for my tasty and healthy dishes.

I’m happy to share my list with you — so you, too, can save time, money and multiply your happiness.


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#1. Plan your meal.

One of the keys to a healthy diet is effective nutrition planning.

A good plan will provide you with access to nutritious food when you need it.

With a little planning, you can seriously reduce the time and save money needed to prepare and prepare a decent meal.

You won’t throw away spoiled products, and every day you’ll eat fresh, high-quality food.

So what’s needed for this?

First, write down what you want to eat for a week (don’t forget breakfast and snacks).

Look at the recipes, find out how much of each ingredient you need to match your diet plan, and make a list.

Look in your pantry and consider what you already have for cooking.

In another column, write down the products you need to buy.

Buying only the items on the list will save you from unnecessary purchases, and you’ll use them sooner because you actually need them.

Source: http://dailyburn.com/life/health/printable-meal-planning-templates/


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#2. Get flyers and print coupons.

Credits: https://www.rather-be-shopping.com/blog/2013/11/20/maximize-savings-which-retailers-let-you-stack-coupons/

The most important step here is to shop around for deals and coupons for products you’re looking to buy.

Get a flyer from your local grocery store — or perhaps flyers from two or three grocery stores.

Look for manufacturers coupons online.

The Simple Dollar Coupon Finder has hundreds of daily coupons and coupon codes that you can simply save and print.

It provides you with extra savings on every trip to the grocery store.

Source: http://www.thesimpledollar.com/how-to-plan-ahead-for-next-weeks-meals-and-save-significant-money-a-step-by-step-guide/


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#3. Buy durable products online.

Join a supermarket delivery service with quality products.

There are great advantages to this, since you can easily delete products from the general list.

For example, you can finally say goodbye to shopping around for tea, sugar, cereals, and other products that do not apply to perishable products.

Buying online can save you money (because you don’t pay for shipping),

relieve you of unnecessary hassles — and save you from having to leave the house on rainy days!

Shopping online pretty much makes you stick to your shopping list, eliminates impulse purchases and saves you from the tricks that stores use to make you spend more.

Source: http://dailyburn.com/life/tech/best-apps-meal-planning/


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#4. Use the services of local farmers.

Credits: http://www.cuesa.org/article/hothouse-tomatoes-pack-summer-flavor-springtime

First, buy fresh, quality products you need and that satisfy you. Such products can be chosen, touched and tasted.

Second, you can bargain and strike a price that also satisfies you.

Third, in such markets, seasonal locally produced food is sold, so it is the most freshest and contains the maximum amount of vitamins and other nutrients.

In grocery stores, a lot of products are imported from other countries. The produce is picked while still green, so it’s of much worse quality.

Source: https://www.helpguide.org/articles/healthy-eating/eating-well-on-the-cheap.htm


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#5. Purchase products in bulk.

By purchasing in bulk, you can process products for 2–3 hours and eat healthy food all week — or even longer.

To do this you need to wash, cut, ferment or make billets in jars.

Mass billets allow you to save money, because you go to shops less often and therefore avoid spontaneous purchases.

In addition, you get bonuses for buying in bulk that significantly reduce the price you pay.

Source: http://www.eatthis.com/meal-prep-sunday


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#6. Check your pantry for leftovers before grocery shopping.

This will keep you from over-buying.

Source: http://www.eatthis.com/meal-prep-sunday


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#7. Keep a pencil on the fridge so you can make shopping lists.

Every time you run out of something, quickly jot it down.

This keeps you from having to run to the store because you’ve run out of pantry staples. It will also reduce your food expenses, because each time you go to the store you’ll have a tendency to pick up additional items.

There are extra gas expenses involved in making more trips to the grocery store.

Source: http://herchristianhome.com/easy-meal-preparation-ideas-to-help-you-plan-and-budget-your-family-meals/


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#8. Use glass or Tupperware containers to store leftovers.

Having containers makes it easy to store food — they keep food fresh and make it easy to stay organized.

Buy containers which are BPA-free and ones that don’t melt in the microwave — or use glass or Tupperware containers.

To avoid confusion and overeating, get containers of the same size and shape.

The use of containers is advantageous and convenient.

Measure out any snacks you want to take for your day, and seal those up, too. Now all you have to do in the morning is throw your containers for the day into a bag or travel cooler — and you’re out the door!

Source: http://www.vegkitchen.com/tips/16-meal-prep-tips-for-healthier-eating-every-day/


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#9. Use measuring devices.

Portion-specific containers, measuring cups and spoons, and a food scale are all helpful when preparing meals.

There are so many helpful measuring products out there that you shouldn’t have any trouble choosing a few that meet your needs.

Source: http://www.learningmealprep.com/meal-prep-essentials/


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#10. Invest in a good cutting board.

Every good chef has his or her favorite type of cutting board.

It’s a good idea to have two boards — one for meat and one for vegetables and fruit.

Choose inexpensive, plastic or wooden ones to meet your chopping and slicing needs. Eventually you’ll want to try other types and sizes — but in the beginning, just have these two on hand.

Sharp knives, wooden spoons and other helpful gadgets speed up and simplify your prep time.

Source: http://herchristianhome.com/easy-meal-preparation-ideas-to-help-you-plan-and-budget-your-family-meals/


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#11. Chop or spiralize raw vegetables in advance.

Too hungry to make dinner at the end of a long day?

Cut veggies ahead of time to avoid wasting precious minutes chopping them on busy weeknights.

You can make this step a breeze using a simple Spiralizer.

Zucchini noodles (“zoodles”) and butternut squash noodles will stay fresh in the fridge for 3–5 days.

Chopped vegetables like carrots, onion and peppers will last a week when refrigerated properly in a sealed plastic bag or Tupperware container.

Source: http://dailyburn.com/life/health/meal-prep-ideas-healthy-eating//


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#12. Invest in a food processor.

Credits: (https://www.walmart.com/ip/Mainstays-Food-Chopper/14964950.

There are numerous food choppers on the market that quickly allow you to chop ingredients in a fraction of the time it would take you to chop them by hand. As is the case with dishes, remember to clean your chopper immediately after use so that you won’t have to deal with bits of food residue that have dried and stuck to the surface of the container.

Source: https://nutritiontribune.com/16-brilliant-meal-prep-ideas/


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#13. Upgrade your kitchen tools.

Credits: http://thekitchenprofessor.com/blog/enameled-cast-iron-vs-cast-iron

Think about your pots and pans: can you accommodate them all in your oven at the same time?

Making as best use of the oven as possible — cooking more than one thing at once, for instance — is also wise.

If so, you can cook more food in less time.

Source: http://www.treehugger.com/htgg/how-to-go-green-in-the-kitchen.html


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#15. Use a pressure cooker.

Pressure cookers are a handy cooking tool.

Popular in Europe, pressure cookers are just beginning to gain traction in America.

Pressure cookers enable you to cook your food fast. Imagine being able to cook dry beans in about 10 minutes!

Not only does your food cook faster with a pressure cooker, but the flavor is more intense. The steam helps to infuse your food with flavor.

Source: http://www.cookwithpressure.com/


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#16. Use a slow cooker.

A slow cooker is probably the best investment you can make to reduce the cost of cooking.

“It doesn’t matter if you have a crazy schedule, have too much faith in your culinary skills or just love juicy, tasty dishes — slow cookers are amazing,” says Jaime Messe, RDN, LDN.

To cook an amazing meal, all you need to do is plug in the slow cooker, throw in some chopped vegetables, meat, spices and liquids — and let it sit.

Most slow-cooker recipes call for a cooking time from four to eight hours — which means you can cook food while you’re out for a walk, at work or even asleep.

Slow cookers actually use less energy than the stovetop or oven. Saving at the grocery store is fine and dandy, but shaving dollars off the energy bill is a truly impressive feat.

Source: http://www.livestrong.com/slideshow/1011267-13-meal-prep-hacks-save-time-cooking/#slide=6


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#17. Clean out your fridge before shopping.

Credit: http://www.toutpratique.com/8-Cuisine/140-Refrigerateur-utilisation-ranger-les-aliments-dans-le-refrigerateur/277-Nettoyer-le-refrigerateur-ou-frigo.php

Plan a weekly clean-out the night before or on the day of your grocery shopping trip.

Organizing your refrigerator and pantry will make unloading and storing the groceries an easy, time-saving task.

If everything has a place, it will be much easier to unpack groceries next time.

Source: http://www.home-storage-solutions-101.com/organizing-refrigerator.htm


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#18. Cook once per week.

Choose one day a week and make the most (if not all) of your purchases and cooking on that day.

Doing everything at once means that you only need to reheat the oven once, cut the meat and vegetables once, and clean your kitchen once.

For example, to cut all the ingredients for one meal, it takes about 10 minutes. However, cutting all your ingredients into 15 servings at once takes about 40 minutes.

This is a huge time saver. However, resist the temptation to cook for two, three or four weeks ahead. Most cooked meals tend to stay fresh in your fridge for a week.

Source: http://www.livestrong.com/slideshow/1011267-13-meal-prep-hacks-save-time-cooking/#slide=2


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#19. Go old-fashioned — ditch the cans, use fresh ingredients!

Credits: https://authoritynutrition.com/foods/kidney-beans/

The more natural, old-fashioned your grocery purchases are, the more money you’ll save.

Case in point: dried beans. You can purchase an entire bag of dried beans for roughly the same price as a single can, which gives you you more for your money.

Source: http://chefmom.sheknows.com/articles/817085/Money-saving-meal-prep-strategies


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#20. Don’t forget snacks.

Snacks are very important. At work , we often experience stress and hunger, and snack can come to the rescue.

In addition, if you plan to stock snacks for a week, immediately pack them in packages for each day of the week and put them in the fridge. In the morning, just grab them and run.

This method can help you in the fight the temptation to grab something substandard on the way home or eat an extra cupcake at your colleague’s birthday party.

Crackers, almonds and dried fruits are great options.

Avoid disposable snacks. They cost more than boxes of the usual size and often are of questionable quality.

If you have a small refrigerator at work, you can also bring perishable snacks such as yogurt, curds, carrot sticks and sweet peppers.

Source: http://www.livestrong.com/slideshow/1011267-13-meal-prep-hacks-save-time-cooking/#slide=9


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#21. Get organized before you start cooking.

Credits: http://pinsandprocrastination.com/kitchen-organization-cabinets-countertops-drawers/

Make sure you have all the ingredients you need before you start cooking.

You don’t want to stop in the middle of your prep time to run to the store to pick up what you need.

Print off directions for any freezer meals, or take a Sharpie pen and write them on the Ziplock bags or disposable pans you’re going to use.

Take out all the containers and Ziplock bags you’ll be using for the meal prep.

Also, get all the kitchen utensils, gadgets or cookware you’ll need.

Source:http://herchristianhome.com/easy-meal-preparation-ideas-to-help-you-plan-and-budget-your-family-meals/


I’ve prepared a gift for you — access to my invitation-only community “Prevent Heart Attacks & Stroke With These Easy, Delicious Recipes”: http://20healthy.com/?ref=invt88mpi (This invitation link gives you access to easy delicious recipes and tips (all backed by science) on how to prevent heart attacks & stroke. Delivered to your email inbox every week)


#22. Get Your Family To Help.

Credits: http://www.firenzastone.com/blog/5-reasons-the-kitchen-is-the-heart-of-your-home/

Children can help with many tasks during meal prep.

Depending on their age, they can help cut, cook or put food in containers.

Set up an assembly line and assign each person a responsibility or two. When you have multiple children in your household, having them help will speed up the process.

Plus, they can make their own snacks and label them.

Children like to be part of the action and will feel useful. Not only that, but you’re teaching them how to prepare healthy food, but also other life skills they’ll need when they get out of the house.

Source: http://fukumotofitness.com/10-time-saving-meal-prep-tips-for-busy-lives/


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#23. Multi-task.

Credits: .http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2516990/Sorry-chaps-brains-arent-multi-tasking-But-women-hard-wired-juggle-jobs.html

Look at your recipes: which vegetables can go into the oven at the same time? Which ones are cooked at the same temperature?

What operations can be done while the water is boiling?

Use your time effectively — while preparing one thing, you can prepare another, etc. — and save a lot of time!

Source: http://www.wday.ru/dom-eda/kuhni-mira/how-to-save-time-on-kitchen/


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#24. Organize your fridge.

Pack it with completed meals to eat throughout week.

To make it even easier, dedicate each shelf in your fridge to a different meal: breakfast, lunch and dinner.

If you want to take some thought out of the whole “what lunch should I bring to work today?” conundrum, consider labeling each meal with the date you plan to eat it.

That way, you can eat from the front of your fridge to the back.

Plus, if you plan when you’ll eat each meal, you must make sure to vary each day’s proteins, grains, fruits and veggies.

Source: http://www.livestrong.com/slideshow/1011267-13-meal-prep-hacks-save-time-cooking/#slide=14


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#25. Use aluminum foil dividers.

If you’re sticking to lean meats like chicken, chowing down on the same flavors can get tedious after a while.

Save time without boring your taste buds by preparing two or three variations of chicken at once — by using aluminum foil dividers in your pan.

Sriracha, BBQ, honey mustard — you can have it all. Three birds, one pan!

Source: http://www.dailyburn.com/life/health/meal-prep-ideas-healthy-eating/


I’ve prepared a gift for you — access to my invitation-only community “Prevent Heart Attacks & Stroke With These Easy, Delicious Recipes”: http://20healthy.com/?ref=invt88mpi (This invitation link gives you access to easy delicious recipes and tips (all backed by science) on how to prevent heart attacks & stroke. Delivered to your email inbox every week)


#26. Store oils in labeled bottles.

Credits: http://global.filippoberio.com/products/olive-oils/olive-oil-spray/extra-virgin-olive-oil-cooking-and-salad/

These bottles are good for spraying — and easy and quick handling.

In addition, you’re less likely to abuse high-calorie oils if you spray instead of pour them out of the bottle.

Source: http://www.livestrong.com/slideshow/1011267-13-meal- Prep-hacks-save-time-cooking / # slide = 13).


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#27. On each lid, write out any cooking instructions.

Credits: http://sistemaplastics.com/products/microwave/rice-steamer

On each container lid, write appropriate cooking instructions.

For example, how much water should be added during cooking? What’s the cooking time?

This saves time and is much easier than dealing with drawers and clothespins.

Source: http://www.livestrong.com/slideshow/1011267-13-meal-prep-hacks-save-time-cooking/#slide=13).


I’ve prepared a gift for you — access to my invitation-only community “Prevent Heart Attacks & Stroke With These Easy, Delicious Recipes”: http://20healthy.com/?ref=invt88mpi (This invitation link gives you access to easy delicious recipes and tips (all backed by science) on how to prevent heart attacks & stroke. Delivered to your email inbox every week)


#28. Make measurements and portions crystal-clear.

Guard against overeating by portioning your nuts, pretzels, veggies or favorite nibbles into plastic baggies or portable jars.

It’s easy to mindlessly munch when you’ve got an entire bag sitting in front of you.

But having just enough ready to go for lunch or a snack will keep you from going overboard.

Source: http://dailyburn.com/life/health/meal-prep-ideas-healthy-eating/


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#29. Start cooking using simple recipes.

To learn how to prepare homemade food for beginners, one should adhere to the principle: “Cook in your comfort zone.”

Start with recipes that have only a few steps and a few ingredients you like.

Once you begin to feel more confident in your abilities, try a slightly more complex dish from time to time.

This will help you expand your skill set and enjoy new recipes without adding a ton of stress. After all, in the end, you cook food for pleasure, not for stress.

Source: http://www.livestrong.com/slideshow/1011267-13-meal-prep-hacks-save-time-cooking/#slide=3


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#30. Consider the shelf life of products.

Berries and greens (spinach, rucola) quickly become soft. Therefore, these and other perishable food items should be eaten at the beginning of the week.

For the second half of the week, make salads with carrots, cabbage and other more durable vegetables and fruits.

In addition, when processing and harvesting vegetables, keep in mind that cut vegetables quickly oxidize and darken. So don’t try to cut them very finely when harvesting (cut them smaller before eating them).

Source: http://www.livestrong.com/slideshow/1011267-13-meal-prep-hacks-save-time-cooking/#slide=4


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#31. Make extra meals during the week, and freeze them.


Credit: http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/eat-the-story-of-food/articles/how-cooking-has-changed-us/

Instead of making one casserole or enough soup for one meal, make enough for two or even three and freeze the extras. You can use them when you don’t have anything else planned.

You can freeze tomato paste, diced tomatoes, noodles, beans, cooked chicken and ground hamburger after it’s been cooked.

All of these can be used quickly and easily to create meals on a busy or late night.

Source: https://herchristianhome.com/easy-meal-preparation-ideas-to-help-you-plan-and-budget-your-family-meals/


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#32. Don’t dismiss frozen produce.

Frozen broccoli and blueberries, for example, are not just convenient. They are surprisingly nutritious.

According to studies conducted in 2013 at Chester University in England, the vast majority of frozen foods contain more antioxidants and other nutrients than fresh ones.

For example, the study found that frozen carrots contain about three times as much lutein and twice as much beta-carotene, as well as higher levels of vitamin C and polyphenols, compared to their fresh counterparts.

The quality of such foods is great, because they were frozen while mature. Therefore, they contain all the same nutrients as fresh veggies and did not lose them during transportation.

In addition, using frozen products, you save time on washing and cutting, as they are sold already clean and ready to eat. All you have to do is fry or boil them.

Source: http://www.livestrong.com/slideshow/1011267-13-meal-prep-hacks-save-time-cooking/#slide=7


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#33. Repeat meals.

In order to save time, repeat a meal within a week.

If, for example, you can and like to eat yogurt or curds several times a week, why don’t you try eating another dish several times a week — especially if you like it or it makes you feel good?

In the end, cooking a large batch of dishes, and then dividing them up for a whole week is a simple time-saver.

However, so you don’t get bored with the dishes, change them every week. For example, one week you might want to make a huge batch of quinoa salad, and a week or so later, a huge pot of turkey chili.

Source: http://www.livestrong.com/slideshow/1011267-13-meal-prep-hacks-save-time-cooking/#slide=8


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#34. Cross-utilize ingredients.

For cooking newbies, looking for precise, detailed recipes can prove helpful.

But for those who are prepared to take some creative license with their food, looking for ingredients you can use in a variety of dishes can save you time and money.

After all, if you buy an entire bunch of tomatoes for a single taco salad, you’re going to end up throwing a lot in the garbage.

But if you buy a whole bunch of tomatoes, cook them and divide them up to use in pastas, in wraps and in salads. You can save on cooking time and throw away less of your money.

Go to the store knowing how many servings of proteins, grains and vegetables you need. When you get home, get creative and use up everything you’ve purchased.

Source: http://www.livestrong.com/slideshow/1011267-13-meal-prep-hacks-save-time-cooking/#slide=10


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#35. Spice it up!

If you’re eating chicken three days in a row, spices and other flavorful ingredients — like salt, pepper, onion, garlic and olive oil — are vital to beating taste-bud boredom:.

They’re among the world’s most versatile flavoring agents and create a tasty palate for adding more herbs and spices.

After all, a sprinkle of basil in one dish and a dash of curry in another can make two seemingly similar chicken-and-onion dishes taste wildly different.

Bonus: Herbs and spices are full of health-boosting antioxidants and are great for adding flavor to meals without increasing your sodium intake, says Florida-based dietician nutritionist Jaime Mass, RDN, LDN.

So take a stroll down your supermarket aisle and stock up on spices.

Source: http://www.livestrong.com/slideshow/1011267-13-meal-prep-hacks-save-time-cooking/#slide=12


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#36. Make frozen smoothies and store them in muffin tins.

It saves time to buy your favorite ingredients in bulk.

Next, blend them together,

freeze them in a muffin pan

to give yourself an automatic sweet treat.

This a quick, easy and filling breakfast.

Source: http://mealprepxpt.com/10-meal-prep-ideas/


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#37. Grow some spicy greens (parsley, coriander, basil, lemon, etc.).

Credits: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/gardening/how-to-grow/from-coriander-to-mint-a-guide-to-growing-herbs/

First and foremost, you can decorate or simply refresh any dish with their help.

Second, you will always have fresh greens on hand and won’t waste time running to the store at the last minute.

Third, not all grocery stores stock spicy greens.

Source: http://www.polkacafe.com/11-kitchen-herbs-and-greens-to-grow-in-your-balcony-14.html


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#38. Store green condiments (like coriander, dill, parsley) in the refrigerator.

If you buy a lot of coriander, dill, parsley:

put the bunch in a cup of water

cover it with a plastic bag, and

tie it with an elastic band and put it in the fridge.

The greens will last much longer than usual!

Source: http://www.maximonline.ru/skills/food-n-drink/_article/cooking-hacks-2/


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#39. Dry parsley in the microwave oven.

To keep the grass intact and fresh:

- put it between two paper towels

- and take a minute to dry in the microwave.

Source: http://www.maximonline.ru/skills/food-n-drink/_article/cooking-hacks-2/


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#40. Don’t throw away yellowed greens.

Instead,

finely slice them,

mix with olive oil (or butter)

and pour the mixture into an ice-cube tray. Freeze.

Just pull out an ice cube the next time you need fresh greens!

Source: http://golbis.com/pin/dvadtsat-poleznyih-sovetov-na-kuhne/


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#41. Consolidate and Make Just 1 Trip to the Fridge.

Set out all the ingredients you’ll need before starting to cook, and fetch them on a single trip.

When you’re done, return them to the fridge in one go.

Source: https://nutritiontribune.com/16-brilliant-meal-prep-ideas/


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#42. Focus on preparing everything you need at the same time.

Instead of preparing each meal separately, focus on preparing different ingredients at once — just do everything step by step.

Almost every ingredient will require some combination of

washing

chopping

seasoning

and cooking.

Therefore, as soon as you return home from the supermarket,

rinse / wash each ingredient that needs it, and then grind it.

Turn on all four of your stove elements and use both oven racks to simultaneously cook up to six ingredients.

Then, all you have to do is mix and match the pre-prepared items to create your meals.

If you have more than six ingredients, repeat the process.

Source: http://www.livestrong.com/slideshow/1011267-13-meal-prep-hacks-save-time-cooking/#slide=11


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#43. Hard-boil eggs in the oven — not in a pot.

An excellent source of protein, vitamins A and B and healthy fat, eggs should be a staple snack for any health fiend.

The problem: you can usually only fit up to five eggs in a pot.

To make a delicious dozen in one go, bake your eggs in muffin tins for 30 minutes. You’ll get a perfectly hard-boiled batch.

Baking just does just as good a job as boiling in a pot.

The difference is that you get to manage your time.

Source: http://dailyburn.com/life/health/meal-prep-ideas-healthy-eating/


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#44. Roast different vegetables with same cooking times.

Roasting vegetables is a great way to bring out their natural sweetness.

But waiting 30 to 40 minutes for each pan of nutrient-rich goodness to cook can be hard for impatient cooks.

To prep a large batch of veggies, try pairing them based on their roasting time.

Fast-cooking vegetables that can bake in the same pan include:

asparagus

mushrooms

cherry tomatoes

Slow-roasting vegetables include:

carrots

cauliflower

onions

potatoes

parsnips

Source: http://gethealthyu.com/meal-prep-time-saving-ideas-beginners/


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#45. Skewer meats for quick portions.

Kabobs aren’t just street meat.

Weighing your chicken (or salmon or beef) and putting it on wooden skewers can help you control how much you’re eating in one sitting.

Four ounces of chicken has approximately 36 grams of protein, and six ounces of salmon has 34 grams of protein.

Cook up a batch of either, and save some on skewers for the rest of the week.

If you’re using wooden skewers, remember to soak them in water so they won’t catch fire in your grill or oven.

Source: http://dailyburn.com/life/health/meal-prep-ideas-healthy-eating/


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#46. Prepare Base Ingredients Once per Week.


Credit: http://steamykitchen.com/30301-how-to-cook-brown-rice-in-the-microwave.html

Preparing base ingredients in bulk is one of the simplest, yet often overlooked ways to free up time in the kitchen.

Cook the foods you use often (such as pasta, beans, beef, rice, or chicken, in bulk), and divide them into

portions suitable for single meals, and

freeze some for later use.

Quick Hint: If you pre-cook pasta, remember to drizzle a little vegetable oil to keep it from sticking when it defrosts.

Source: https://nutritiontribune.com/16-brilliant-meal-prep-ideas/


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#47. Clean fresh ginger using a teaspoon.

It’s more convenient, and much faster than a knife or scraper.

Source: http://golbis.com/pin/dvadtsat-poleznyih-sovetov-na-kuhne/


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#48. Pre-assemble a jar lunch salad.

Credits: http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-pack-the-perfect-salad-in-a-jar-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-192174

Assemble all the ingredients you want to include in your salad jar.

Measure everything and put them in the jar (but without the dressing, which poured into the the jar when you choose to eat your salad for lunch).

This literally takes less than 10 minutes to put together.

Putting food in portioned containers allows you to better measure your food intake.

Source: http://mealprepxpt.com/10-meal-prep-ideas/


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#49. Put smoothie ingredients in bags.

Ever put a little of this, a little of that in your blender and end up with a supersized smoothie?

Save yourself from unnecessary calories by pre-assembling and freezing your smoothie ingredients.

By measuring out your berries, yogurt (frozen in an ice cube tray) and greens ahead of time, your shake will be perfectly portioned, every time!

Source: http://dailyburn.com/life/health/meal-prep-ideas-healthy-eating/


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#50. Customize jars of healthy oatmeal add-ins.

Fiber-rich foods like oatmeal are ideal for keeping you satiated until lunchtime

If you use portable glass jars, you can control exactly what and how much you’re eating.

From “monkey mix” to “raspberries and dark chocolate”, these great flavor combinations will keep your taste buds happy, too.

Source: http://dailyburn.com/life/health/meal-prep-ideas-healthy-eating/


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#51. Use Low-Fuss Beans and Veggies.

Credits: https://www.pinterest.com/explore/dried-beans/

Canned beans require minimal preparation, making them easy to use in recipes.

Simply rinse beans in a colander and add them to recipes.

Source: https://nutritiontribune.com/16-brilliant-meal-prep-ideas/


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#52. Prepare a Main Dish Salad.

A main dish salad is the perfect meal for a hot summer’s night.

It’s light, cool, and quick to prepare.

Salad greens are the base ingredient, which makes preparing the dish easy.

Just put some spinach leaves or salad green into a bowl, add other ingredients and toss.

Some of the best add-ins include:

crumbled blue

cheese

cherry tomatoes

walnuts

dried cranberries

baby carrots

grilled chicken. and so on.

Source: http://allrecipes.com/recipes/260/main-dish/salads/


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#53. Use muffin tins to make breakfast frittatas.

You could enjoy a fancy frittata every morning of the week, and only turn your stove on once!

The secret? Make-ahead egg muffins!

Make several of these recipes in advance (you can store them in the fridge for up to five days) so you won’t get bored throughout the week.

Wrap them in a paper towel to microwave them. They won’t dry out.

Source: http://www.eatthis.com/meal-prep-sunday


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#54. Make fresh vegetable blanks for stewed or steamed vegetables.

If you like stewed or steamed vegetables, then cut and sort the vegetables you need for each meal and put them in plastic containers (or jars).

Put them in the fridge and use them when you need them.

For example, you can combine any of the following:

cabbage

onions

zucchini

tomato

eggplant

bell pepper

pumpkin

carrots, and much more.

On cooking day, just add various seasonings and sauces (according to your taste) and enjoy!

Source: http://www.dicasdemulher.com.br/salada-no-pote-de-vidro/


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#55. Create building blocks.

Similar to a bouillon cube, you can make yourself meal-building blocks to get dinner started in a jiffy.

Freeze pre-portioned packets of:

chicken or vegetable stock,

pesto, or butter mixed with herbs,

or make up baggies of your own spice

mixes — oregano, basil, parsley, and thyme for an Italian dish, or

onion, garlic, and chili powder, paprika, cumin, and cayenne pepper for a Fajita seasoning;

and chili powder, cumin, coriander, cayenne, paprika, and garlic powder for any barbeque rub.

Source: http://www.eatthis.com/meal-prep-sunday


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#56. Go raw!

Cooking batches of things like casseroles, soups, enchiladas, or pasta dishes you can reheat in the microwave or oven is always great.

Instead of baking, just prep all your food on Sunday and sequester it raw into baggies.

This way you, won’t feel like you’re eating leftovers every day.

Throw a bag of pre-portioned chicken and veggies into the slow cooker before work, or put an unbaked, frozen casserole dish into the oven as soon as you get home.

Sometimes just a little shortcut here and there will save you hours in the long run.

Source: http://www.eatthis.com/meal-prep-sunday


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#57. Make your own quick-energy balls.

Protein is essential for muscle recovery after a tough workout, and it also keeps hunger at bay — making it an A+ snack.

Instead of reaching for a packaged protein bar that could have more than 400 calories and 28 grams of sugar, try making your own energy balls.

Whip up a batch and store them in the fridge for up to six days.

Source: http://dailyburn.com/life/health/meal-prep-ideas-healthy-eating/


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#58. Create your own cutlets, biscuits or rolls.

It’s easy to go down the meat aisle at the grocery store and grab hamburger buns, but in fact these and otrher baked goods are not difficult to create yourself.

Your hands may get a little spoiled, but it will save you money and only take a few extra minutes of your time.

In addition, when you create your own cookies, biscuits or rolls, you can spice them up any way you like. The ingredients depend on what you want to create.

For example, using scissors, you can make a unique cookie.

You can also do this with buns or biscuits …

But such a cookie will always be eaten by children and adults with pleasure.

Source: http://golbis.com/pin/dvadtsat-poleznyih-sovetov-na-kuhne/


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#59. Substitute Meat with Vegetables.

Credits: http://images.wisegeek.com/frittata-in-skillet.jpg

Cooking meat takes a lot of time.

If you want a quick meal, skip the meat and choose sources of vegetable protein instead.

Some good options include:

cheese burritos

beans

lentils

oats

nuts and seeds.

Source: https://nutritiontribune.com/protein-for-vegans/


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#60. Don’t leave food in pots.

Credits: http://lifehacker.com/5814958/how-to-store-food-properly-in-the-freezer-and-fridge

Instead of leaving your cooked dishes to sit in the pots or pans you cooked them in, remove the portion you need for the meal and put the rest in storage containers.

Wash the cookware immediately to avoid having to scrub it off after it’s dried and stuck to the surface of pots and pans.

If you’re really running out of time, soak them in water for a faster clean-up later on.

Source: https://nutritiontribune.com/16-brilliant-meal-prep-ideas /


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#61. Homemade Herb and Spice Blends.

Many store-bought herb and spice blends can be expensive, and a lot of them contain additives, anti-caking agents or MSG.

Fortunately, most blends are very easy to make at home, and if you order your ingredients in bulk you can make 14 (or more) different spice blends using less than 30 herbs.

You’ll be able to eat the cuisine of another country every night for two weeks — and quality spice blends can make even plain meat and vegetables exciting.

If you’ve never made your own spice blends, I encourage you to try it!

It’s simple, saves money, and you avoid the chemical additives that are in most spice blends.

Source: https://wellnessmama.com/4430/homemade-spice-blends/


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#62. Night oats.

If you’ve never heard of a night oats, you’ll be glad you read about it here.

Night oats are not a ready-made way to cook oatmeal.

All you do is mix the rolled oats — that is, old-fashioned oats — with liquid and other add-ins, and leave it overnight in the fridge.

The next morning, you’ll wake up with a mixture muh like oatmeal, which you can simply grab and leave. Although the texture is creamy, in my opinion, it tastes much better.

The best part is that there are million-and-one recipes and options for night oats.

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2016/12/05/12-easy-healthy-meal-prep-ideas-that-will-save-time-and-money/


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#63. One-Pot Meals.

Much of the complexity in cooking today is due to the vast array of cookware, utensils and accessories in modern home kitchens.

While one-pot cooking methods are simple, the variety and quality of the meals are limited only by the cook’s imagination.

One-pot meals can be steamed, sauteed, stewed or baked, and the “one pot” can be a saucepan, skillet, crock pot, pressure cooker or baking dish.

One-pot meals can be planned in advance, but this cooking method also lends itself to spontaneous recipes based on whatever ingredients are available.

A “monk’s soup”, for example, challenges you to use only what’s in your pantry and fridge.

This can be made using:

bits of leftover veggies

meat

rice

pasta

that have accumulated in the fridge or freezer.

Preparing a “monk’s soup” will become a habit if you do it on the same night every week.

One-pot cooking uses less power than a many-pot meal, and you end up with only one pot to clean.

Besides being easy, your meal preparation and cleanup also saves electricity and conserves water.

Source: http://eartheasy.com/eat_simplify_meal_preparation.html


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#64. Break from the standard breakfast routine.

Credits: https://www.familiesforlife.sg/discover-an-article/Pages/30-Ways-to-Spend-More-Family-Time.aspx

Encourage your family to eat non-standard breakfast foods like:

soup

stew

fried rice

potatoes

grilled sandwiches, and

casseroles.

Usually, leftovers are more nutritious and filling than waffles and cold cereal, which are typically packed with carbs and sugar.

There’s no reason why breakfast can’t offer as much variety as other meals.

Think of a well-balanced diet over a week of meals, rather than a rigid goal for every meal.

Source: http://eartheasy.com/eat_simplify_meal_preparation.html


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#65. Buy Pre-cooked Meats.

Credits: https://www.charbroil.com/community/easy-roasted-chicken-on-the-grill/

You can often buy roast turkey or roast beef (both classified as lean meat) from your grocery deli.

Another tip: ask for extra-thick slices that you can dice and use in recipes.

Skinless chicken breasts, half a turkey breast, and whole chickens are available in nearly any supermarket. To use them,

remove the skin, then

shred or cut the meat as per your recipe.

Several food companies now sell seasoned chicken strips.

Check out the lunch meat section of your local grocery store.

Find cooked shrimp in the frozen fish section or at the fish counter.

Source: https://nutritiontribune.com/16-brilliant-meal-prep-ideas/


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#66. Experiment with aromas and spices, especially in home marinades and sauces.

Credits: http://www.chicagotribune.com/dining/recipes/sc-grilled-fish-brownson-food-0520-20160518-column.html

Improve the taste of your lean protein with some kind of sauce, spices, or lemon and olive oil.

Try to include as much variety as you can, so you won’t be bored eating the same thing every day.

This can be done simply by switching your spices or proteins.

For example, exchange chicken for fish, pork or beef meat every few days.

Source: http://www.chicagotribune.com/dining/recipes/sc-grilled-fish-brownson-food-0520-20160518-column.html


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#67. Turn a piece of meat into several full meals — and save money!

If you buy a large (and, at first glance, expensive) prime cut of meat and trim it down yourself, you’ll save money — a lot of it.

This is the first in a series of posts designed to help you save a ton of cash on food, specifically meats, by

buying prime cuts

and portioning them out yourself.

Source: http://www.unclejerryskitchen.com/diy/how-to-turn-a-whole-beef-brisket-into-7-full-meals-and-save-a-ton-of-money/


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#68. Make profitable purchases.

Credits: http://thehomesteadinghippy.com/how-to-cut-up-a-chicken/

Buy a whole chicken instead of buying pre-butchered parts of it. Your dollors wll go a lot further.

For example, you can prepare it in several ways during the week:

fried chicken for lunch

chicken salad for lunch

chicken broth or

bone soup later in the week.

Why buy broth in the store if it takes only a few minutes to cook the bones in a pan with

a couple of liters of water

cut onions

garlic

boil all this for an hour or so, then cool, strain and freeze it in 500 ml containers.

Making 2 liters of broth instead of buying it will cover a significant portion of the cost of the chicken!

Source: https://www.buzzfeed.com/rachelysanders/cooking-on-a-budget?utm_term=.tkNeW7Br1#.ulxQG836W


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#69. Eat less meat.

Eat less meat — it can act as a condiment and play a smaller role in your meal.

“You can use a little bacon for flavor, make a bibimbap with little shreds of meat and tons of vegetables.” — Scarlett Koller

“Eggs, peanut butter, and beans are fucking sweet protein. You don’t need meat every day — I buy it for two meals a week.” — Sarah Kerby

“I use beans as a filler when making meatloaf, tacos, etc.

I’ll use 3/4 ground beef or turkey and 1/4 beans. It saves on meat and is a good source of fiber.” — Vickie Simpson

Source: https://www.buzzfeed.com/rachelysanders/cooking-on-a-budget?utm_term=.mv7qJwRNK#.owlQ3XdJL


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#70. Fill your freezer.

Even after great planning, you can still run out of food in the refrigerator.

Therefore, use an efficient freezer. Most pre-cooked meat products can be stored in the freezer for two to six months.

Soups also store well in the freezer, and you can divide the batch into separate portions and store them for up to three months.

Therefore, note the date of the cooked meal on the package, using a marker.

Or you put the containers into bags and write the dates on the bags.

Source: http://www.livestrong.com/slideshow/1011267-13-meal-prep-hacks-save-time-cooking/#slide=5


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#71. Pierce the lemon with a toothpick.

If you need only a few drops of lemon juice to prepare a dish, there’s no need to

not necessary to cut it in half and squeeze out the half or whole lemon:

Just puncture the lemon with a toothpick, gently

press on the lemon to extract a stream of juice,

then put the lemon in the refrigerator.

Source: http://golbis.com/pin/dvadtsat-poleznyih-sovetov-na-kuhne/


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#72. Food remnants can help with healthy eating.

Credits: http://allrecipes.com/recipes/14503/everyday-cooking/everyday-leftovers/

Some people find leftovers unappealing, but these scraps of food can help you eat healthier and save time and money.

However, there’s nothing cheaper than eating all the food you buy. And with the help of some simple cooking techniques, you can often produce something amazingly tasty.

Just put the extra food in containers and store them in the fridge. Leftovers can be kept in the refrigerator up to 4 days without going bad.

Find out more at Internet Leftovers Recipes.

Source: http://www.vegkitchen.com/tips/16-meal-prep-tips-for-healthier-eating-every-day/?print=print).


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#73. Use leftovers for cooking new dishes.

Credits: http://www.webstaurantstore.com/article/101/types-of-pizza.html

Often, your refrigerator contains the remnants of former meals and their ingredients (e.g., pieces of sausage, a few pieces of olives, a couple of tomatoes, a little tomato sauce or mayonnaise and other remnants of food).

Some housewives throw this stuff away, thinkiong that the food has lost its original taste. But most of the time, it hasn’t! Don’t be afraid to use these scraps to cook new dishes.

An excellent option is pizza, where toppings can be anything you choose.

Therefore, plan your pizza cooking for the end of the week. You’ll not only end up with tasty pizzas, but also save money.

To make pizza, use all the remaining ingredients in your refrigerator:

tomatoes

tomato sauce

pieces of meat or sausages

some vegetables (onions, olives)

pieces of hard cheese

ham, etc.

Source: http://www.vegkitchen.com/tips/16-meal-prep-tips-for-healthier-eating-every-day/?print=print


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#74. Use up all of your bread — make croutons!

Credits: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/you/article-2069060/Recipe-Wonderful-souffl-croutons.html

As you get toward the end of a loaf of bread, store the ends and crusts in a paper bag and allow them to dry completely.

When you’ve accumulated a bagful:

break up the bread into small, bite-size pieces and place the broken pieces into a bowl, and season the bread with garlic, onion powder, oregano and parsley.

As you mix in the seasonings, simultaneously drizzle the bread with extra-virgin olive oil, thoroughly mixing the bread in the process.

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Let the bread sit in the seasoning as you wait for the oven to heat.

Roll tinfoil over a cookie sheet, and spread the bread on the cookie sheet.

Cook the croutons for five to eight minutes. Remove them from the oven, then cook them for another five to eight minutes. Keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t burn.

After you remove them from the oven, store them in a sealed container in the fridge.

You can also break up the croutons further to make homemade breadcrumbs.

Source: http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Croutons


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#75. Make bread crumbs.

Credits: http://dish.allrecipes.com/how-to-make-breadcrumbs/

Run your remaining bread through the food processor and store in an airtight container in the freezer.

Crumbs can be used:

- as a breaded base for fish and meat dishes

- in salads, side dishes and soups.

- in minced meat to make cutlets,

- as a basis for pies and cakes, and

- for bread pudding and trendy cheese muffins.

In addition, using dried bread crusts, you can prepare a wonderful homemade kvass.

Source: http://www.simplifylivelove.com/meal-prep-ideas/


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#76. Freeze the remnants of wine.

If you have wine left over after a party, pour it into an ice cube tray and freeze it.

Use the frozen cubes in any recipe that requires wine.

Source: http://www.maximonline.ru/skills/food-n-drink/_article/cooking-hacks-2/


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#77. Don’t allow dirty dishes to accumulate in the sink!

Credits: http://www.dvo.com/newsletter/weekly/2015/9-18-821/cooknart3.html

As soon as you’re finsihed using your pots and pans, immediately place them in the sink.

Fill the sink with soap and water, and in between cooking tasks, do a bit of dishwashing.

This prevents cooked food from drying and sticking to the walls of pots and pans, and enables you to sit down to eat in a clean kitchen.

In addition, after the meal, there will be less washing up to do.

So clean kitchen surfaces as you cook, and wash dishes right away!

Source: http://www.wday.ru/dom-eda/kuhni-mira/how-to-save-time-on-kitchen/


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#78. Buy Non-Stick Spray.

Credit: http://www.pamcookingspray.com/products/organic-canola-oil

Spray it on cooking surfaces for a super easy clean-up.

If you’re cooking casserole-type dishes such as lasagna that need to be wrapped in aluminum foil, coat the foil with non-stick spray.

After you remove the dish from your oven, you can easily the aluminum foil without taking off the top layer of your meal with it.

Source: https://nutritiontribune.com/16-brilliant-meal-prep-ideas/


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#79. Properly arrange furniture, appliances and kitchen utensils to save time.

Credits: https://www.thespruce.com/home-kitchen-pantry-1822031

A competent, efficient kitchen arrangement includes the following:

A minimal distance along the sides of the triangle formed by the stove, sink and refrigerator;

locatating dishes next to the sink and dishwasher;

pots and pan storage between the sink and stove, etc.

All this allows you to be more efficient in your movement and have less to clean, because the less you move around with food in the kitchen, the less dirty you get.

Source: http://www.wday.ru/dom-eda/kuhni-mira/how-to-save-time-on-kitchen/


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#80. Store apples and potatoes together.

The ethylene coating on apples will not allow the potatoes to sprout.

Source: http://golbis.com/pin/dvadtsat-poleznyih-sovetov-na-kuhne/


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#81. Store onions and garlic in perforated paper bags.

They will last for at least two months, and not grow mold.

Source: http://golbis.com/pin/dvadtsat-poleznyih-sovetov-na-kuhne/


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#82. Optimize freezer storage.

Use moisture-proof zipper bags and containers to help minimize freezer burn.

Store food in small servings to help it freeze quickly and allow you to defrost only what you need for a given meal.

If you’re storing individual servings of something, like pancakes, freeze everything first in a single layer.

After they’re cold, you can stuff them all into a bag, and they won’t stick together.

Store soups and stews in plastic bags to save space.

Fill the bag with the soup and flatten it as you remove air from the bag

Flat frozen bags are stacklable.

Source: http://www.eatthis.com/meal-prep-sunday


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#83. Wash and prep fruit right away.

Credits: http://3i133rqau023qjc1k3txdvr1.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/shutterstock_105958283-768x512.jpg.

“Good choices are a no-brainer” — if you don’t make it easy, you won’t pick that fresh fruit over a candy bar.

So wash and prep your fruit as soon as you bring it home.

Cut the fruit the way you would eat it, then put it in airtight containers.

Now you’ll have a portable fruit salad that’s ready to go for the rest of the week.

Source: http://gethealthyu.com/meal-prep-time-saving-ideas-beginners/


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#84. Grill or bake 3 flavors of meat all at once.

Season pork, chicken, steak or fish with 3 different flavors such as Cajun, Asian or BBQ seasoning.
Add the meat to salads or have it ready to go for dinner on busy nights.
Sometimes a crock pot a pork loin while grill several chicken breasts all seasoned differently.
Cooking meat ahead of time in bulk like this is easy and convenient. You’ll always have lean meat for burritos, wraps, sandwiches and salads ready to go.

Source: http://gethealthyu.com/meal-prep-time-saving-ideas-beginners/


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#85. Save time when cleaning potatoes.

Credits: http://enigma-project.ru/sonnik/chistit-kartoshku

When you peel potatoes, spread paper (e.g., newspaper) on the surface over which you’re peeling.

After you’ve peeled the potatoes, simply fold the paper and send it straight to the compost bin.

This saves cleaning time.

Source: http://www.wday.ru/dom-eda/kuhni-mira/how-to-save-time-on-kitchen/


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#86. Learn to love eggs.

Eggs. Learn to cook them. They’re great in every way:

  • Scrambled
  • In omelets
  • Fried
  • Poached.

They go well with veggies or fruit, or just with a piece of toast.

They taste great in sandwiches.

A dozen regular eggs still cost less than $2.

They have about 100 calories each and 6 grams of protein.

If you’re trying to lose weight and are short on cash, eggs + steamy veggies = a great, cheap meal.” — Katherine Grandstrand

“Breakfast for dinner! Eggs are cheap, and you can bulk them up by adding anything from fresh veggies to cold cuts or left-over roasted potatoes.”Carol Cutter Gonzales.

Source: https://www.buzzfeed.com/rachelysanders/cooking-on-a-budget?utm_term=.grq25zwqP#.eplQLXrEY


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#87. Cook large lots of food and freeze.

Here’s a tip from Jessie Deans. When a 10-lb bag of onions goes on sale for $3.99, caramelize 9 lbs of them. After they have cooled, shape them into patties (about the size of a hamburger) and put each one between pieces of parchment (about 5), then into freezer bags.

They can be used:

  • in omelets
  • in quiches
  • on burgers
  • and tossed with pasta
  • or mixed into mashed potatoes.

Source: https://www.buzzfeed.com/rachelysanders/cooking-on-a-budget?utm_term=.bpZkLdx9J#.fnmJpMENm


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#88. Make your own sauces, dressings and seasonings.

Credits: http://www.eatthis.com/meal-prep-sunday

“I make my own taco, ranch, and Italian seasonings.

I never have to buy the packets — they’re always on hand in large shakers in my spice cabinet.” — CarrieAnne Clemens.

“We stew and can our own tomatoes once a year and never need to buy sauce.” — Michał Pietrasiewicz.

“Salad dressings can be expensive.

All vinaigrettes are 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar.

Combine the vinegar with whatever spices and herbs you like,

then drizzle in the oil while whisking.

You can make as little or as much as you want.” — Nikki Ourand Lambert

Source: https://www.buzzfeed.com/rachelysanders/cooking-on-a-budget?utm_term=.bpZkLdx9J#.fnmJpMENm


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Final word

Some say that preparing healthy food is hard and the result is not tasty.

Now you know that the process can be easy and full of fun — when you know these simple tricks.

If you’re ready to apply them, but still lack healthy, delicious recipes…


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Liubov Napadovska

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