8 Time-Saving Kitchen Hacks

Mar 2 2016
Question@2x Dear Hungry Girl,

I'm trying to clean up my eating habits, but I'm having trouble finding the time (especially on weeknights) to make healthy food. Do you have any healthy-eating tips for people who are low on time?

Busy Bee in Tennessee
Answer@2x Hi Busy Bee,

I sure do! There are plenty of ways to save time in the kitchen without sacrificing your commitment to healthy eating. Here are a few of my favorite time-saving tips 'n tricks...

1. Foil packs. If you're a longtime Hungry Girl reader, you know how much I love foil packs. Just combine your favorite protein, veggies, and sauce on a sheet of foil, wrap 'em up, and bake away. The food cooks super quickly, and cleanup is a snap. Click here for a bunch of delicious recipes.

2. Weekend = prep time. Spend time to save time! On a Saturday or Sunday, cut up a whole bunch of veggies at once. Then use them throughout the week in egg scrambles, for snacking, in salads, on sandwiches, etc. -- it’s much quicker than breaking out the knife and cutting board every day. You can also precook a pound of chicken for speedy meals and snacks.

3. Limit your trips to the fridge, trash, and pantry. Before you start cooking, read the recipe in detail so you know exactly what ingredients and cookware you’ll need. Pull everything you’ll need from the fridge, pantry, etc. Place the trash can right next to your workspace. This way, you'll be able to stay in one place while you’re prepping and cooking -- trust me, that constant loop you usually do from your cookbook to the fridge to the cutting board to the trash really adds up!

4. Two words: Slow. Cooker. It might sound counterintuitive to use a slow cooker to save time, but hear me out. Set it on low before you go to work, and dinner will be ready when you get home! No stirring, flipping, mixing... nothing. So easy! Click here and here for some of our very best slow-cooker recipes.

5. Embrace frozen fruits and veggies. Since they're precut, they'll save you a lot of prep time. And they're generally just as nutritious as their fresh counterparts. Just watch out for added sugar in that frozen fruit. Bonus: The frozen stuff is often less expensive! This teriyaki stir-fry uses frozen stir-fry veggies, and the recipe takes just 5 minutes of prep time.

6. Practice meal planning. Take a few minutes on Sunday to plan the entire week's worth of meals. Then make a grocery list, and head to the supermarket to get all the ingredients you'll need. That way, you can skip the “What’s for dinner? What do I need to buy? What can I make with the three ingredients I have on hand?” weeknight routine and dive right into cooking when you get home.

7. Clean as you cook. Wash your knives and cutting boards while the main course is in the oven, scrub the skillet while your veggies are steaming in the microwave... Cleaning as you go along will save you tons of time when you’re finished eating. And let's face it: The idea of a long time spent cleaning up can be a huge deterrent to cooking a healthy meal!

8. Make big-batch recipes. Cook once, eat twice... or three or four times! To keep things interesting, just change up the way you serve what you made. For example, if you make this Slow-Cookin' BBQ Chicken, you can have it on a salad one day with black beans and corn. Another day, have it in a high-fiber wrap with reduced-fat cheddar and scallions. Then add it to your scramble the next day for breakfast. You get the idea!

Now get to it... No time to waste!

Chew on this:

March is National Frozen Food Month -- the perfect time to experiment with that time-saving frozen produce!

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