Busy weeks and long days are likely to leave you feeling both tired and hungry at the end of the day. A common response to this is to grab some take away food to satiate your hunger quickly. But we all know that home made food is better for you than whatever fast food you pick up on your way home.
Devoting some of your free time to preparing and stocking your fridge and freezer with good and healthy meals will spare you ending up in the predicament of unhealthy take away versus a healthy home cooked meal on those days when you’re just too tired and hungry to think. Food prep is like turning your fridge into a take away joint.
Here are some of the foods I prepare beforehand to have on hand for quick meals:
Beets, cauliflower & broccoli
Peel, chop and boil beets, cauliflower and broccoli and store them in airtight containers in the fridge. I always have them on hand to add to my salads or as a side dish.
Bulgur, cous cous, rice, potatoes
Boiling potatoes and grains takes time, and that’s the last thing you want to be standing around waiting for when you’re hungry. I make a couple of portions of good carbs like bulgur, cous cous, rice or potatoes so that they’re ready to be added to my meal.
I’ll admit that roast vegetables are best when eaten straight out of the oven, reheated they tend to get a bit sad and mushy. But that’s a sacrifice I’m willing to live with if it means it’ll spare me cursing over the oven not heating up fast enough.
Beans and lentils
I usually buy cartons of organic lentils, chickpeas, butter beans and kidney beans that I keep on hand in my pantry, that’s the lazy way of doing it. Boiling your own is better, it avoids the added salts or preservatives that’s found in the canned or boxed kinds (even the organic ones are more than just beans). It takes quite some time to boil most beans, so make sure you prepare a big batch of them when you do.
Soy mince spaghetti sauce
Boiling soy mince only takes a couple of minutes, but I like to prepare and season it so I’ve got a good alternative source of protein on hand. Soy mince can also be used to prepare a big batch of spaghetti sauce. Throw a bunch of good stuff in the pot like kidney beans, tomato sauce, herbs and spices, and you’ve got a great stew that’s easy to reheat.
I mentioned my affection for cabbage slaws a while ago. I regularly prepare a big batch of it that I can add to my meals. Check out my recipes for Cauliflower and Red Onion Slaw and Red Cabbage and Carrot Slaw. They’re a great addition to salads, or as a side salad to your meal.
I love Hummus. It’s the perfect thing to prepare and have on hand to add to your meals or grab as a quick snack with crackers or carrot sticks. Here’s my favourite hummus recipe.
Falafel can be eaten in a number of ways, for example in pita bread, in a tortilla wrap or in a salad. Making falafel isn’t all that time consuming, but it’s a bit of a project involving pulling out the food processor, so preparing a big batch that can be reheated and added to whatever tickles your fancy is a time saver.
Soup is one of those things that can be made in an endless number of ingredient and flavour combinations. It’s also easy to make a huge batch of, that can be stored away in the freezer. For a heartier soup, add some of the bulgur or rice you prepared, and serve it with a side of that broccoli or slaw you already whipped up. One of my favourite go-to recipes for soup is this Creamy Pumpkin Soup.
With all these different prepared ingredients on hand, you’ll be able to create all kinds of combinations of meals within minutes.