By Michael Linennen
Life keeps us busy. We have work, school, other commitments, and everything just piles up. We simply don’t have the time to cook a meal. I have been living by myself for the last few years, and I didn’t pay attention to what I ate. I would always eat prepackaged food. I used to be obsessed with buying a bulk package of frozen nuggets and broccoli chicken that could last me a week! It was fast, easy, cheap, and delicious. My go-to was to simply pop something in the microwave, but ever since my younger brother has moved in with me this September, he has encouraged me to prepare fresh food.
Make your own meal plan
Research some recipes to cook and decide what to eat for the week. This way, you won’t have to stress about deciding what to make every day. This can help save money on your groceries because you know what you want. You should also create two notebooks, one to write your food ideas when you’re craving for it so you can research some recipes, and one notebook to write down all the recipes you’ve used.
Make use of your containers and Ziploc bags
Find a day in the week to prepare your food by separating your ingredients (including the raw protein) into different containers or Ziploc bags for each meal. Portioning up your food into individual meals will make cooking easier for you because you don’t need to do all the measurements every time when you cook a meal. (Do the same for fruits! Portion up your fruits into containers or bowls so you can just grab and go!)
For leftovers (even though you shouldn’t have any if you planned your meal carefully, but it happens) I would suggest you put it in a glass container, and when you heat it up, just put it in the oven. Easy and simple.
Make use of your freezer
For the meals that you’re going to cook in the next three days, you can leave the raw meat and the ingredients in the fridge. But for the raw protein, you’re going to cook in day four to six, leave them in the freezer and start defrosting them by putting it into the fridge one day before you need them.
Make use of your oven
I love using my oven to cook food because it’s easy and it saves time since you can multi-task. When I arrive home, I can put my already prepared and marinated chicken in a casserole and let it sit in the oven for 40 minutes. You don’t have to be in the kitchen to stir or be mindful of it getting burnt if you’ve set the timer correctly. You can go about doing your other things while it cooks. (But of course, don’t leave it on when you’re not in the house!)
Cooking can be easy if you plan early and prepare all the ingredients before you cook. It will save you so much time and money and you won’t have an excuse to skip your meals. But make it reasonable and feasible!