The festive season is just around the corner, and we all know what this signifies. The introduction of seasonal drinks, continuous holiday movie binges, and the frenzy of Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals make it hard to resist the holiday spirit.
However, amidst all this winter joy, the stress comes with travel, family gatherings, and a seemingly endless to-do list. We’ve compiled a list of how to get fresh and healthy meals amid all this chaos.
Organize a Week-long Dinner Schedule
A lot of us are unsure about what’s for dinner even as late as 4pm. However, planning in advance only requires a few moments. Here’s a simple method to do so. Grab a notepad and your preferred cookbooks or culinary magazines every Friday evening or Saturday morning.
Consider what’s already in your fridge and freezer, your family’s food preferences, and the upcoming week’s events. Then, map out meals for the entire week (you can always reserve one night for takeaway pizzas).
Concurrently, note down your grocery list. Post this menu list on your refrigerator or notice board so it’s the first thing you see when you arrive home.
Enrolling in a meal delivery service can be an effective solution to escape the hassles and time-consumption of grocery shopping, meal planning, and hunting for recipes.
Depending on the company, the advantages may go beyond mere convenience. A meal kit subscription could expand your culinary horizons or enhance your cooking abilities.
From a practical standpoint, your chosen meal kit should align with your budget and timetable. Fortunately, most services provide the delivery of meals at your doorstep and flexibility in subscriptions. Some even allow you to adjust the number of meals you receive weekly.
Other important considerations include your dietary preferences and any specific dietary limitations. There are companies that emphasize vegetarian and vegan options, tailor menus based on your allergies, and provide portable options like soups, smoothies, and frozen meals.
Don’t be confined to the notion that leftovers are simply reheated versions of last night’s homemade meal. You can transform leftovers into a completely new dish by creatively repurposing ingredients like proteins and grains.
Consider the braised chicken thighs from your dinner yesterday. You can shred and reheat them with chicken stock, vegetables, and cooked quinoa to create a quick, nutritious soup for either lunch or dinner.
Leftover rice can be revamped into fried rice, used as a foundation for a wholesome grain bowl, or mixed with coconut milk and spices to whip up a fast breakfast pudding.
If you’re preparing peppers for homemade Philly cheesesteaks, slice a few extra ones for a vibrant snack that you can pair with your preferred dip the next day.
Serve Fruit as a Complementary Dish
Having the main course sorted is one thing, but preparing side dishes for a comprehensive meal can pose a challenge. Therefore, consider incorporating fruit into your nightly repertoire of quick and effortless sides.
Serve canned or jarred fruit, chilled and packed in natural juices or light syrup, like mandarin oranges, or an exotic blend of mangoes and pineapples.
Opt for freshly cored pineapple, chopped and kept cool in the refrigerator until mealtime. An even more straightforward option is a bowl of grapes; simply rinse them and they’re good to go.
If you’re lucky enough to have a partner, older children, or anyone else at home before you, enlist their help in preparing dinner. For instance, your partner could stop by the store to grab necessary ingredients, while your teenager could begin prepping the salad and filling the pot for pasta.
Meanwhile, your younger child could assemble the required ingredients for the recipe on the counter, preheat the oven, and set the dining table.
Although they might perceive it as a mundane task, incorporating elements of creativity (like designing place cards for dinner, experimenting with napkin folding, or trying out their own recipes) can pique their interest in healthy eating and inspire them to venture into new culinary territories.
Create Tortilla-Based Dishes
Whipping up a fast, nutritious, and budget-friendly meal is as simple as utilizing tortillas. Gather the necessary components and let each family member customize their own according to their liking.
Warm up some tortillas and add a combination of two or more fillings like heated black beans (after rinsing), diced tomatoes, grated cheese, cooked chicken or beef, guacamole, or sauteed veggies such as capsicums and onions.
To make it even easier, consider prepping as much as possible the previous night, or take advantage of store sales to purchase pre-shredded cheese. If you prefer, certain ingredients like black beans can be served separately on the side.
Overall, you don’t have to give up on eating healthy when life is hectic. From simple meal planning to meal kit delivery services, there are plenty of options for those looking to eat healthily without spending too much time or money.