No one has extra time during most of the year, so when the holidays creep up and we’re faced with parties to attend, gift boxes to bake for and presents to make, buy or wrap, something’s going to give. It’s too easy to let eating nutritiously be the first thing to go when it seems like ordering a pizza or grabbing fast food is so much faster than cooking. If you take the time to prepare real and nutritious food, however, you’ll be facing the holiday whirlwind with more energy and a better state of mind. My Mom Recycles has some great advice on prepping your veggies ahead of time to save precious minutes when mealtime rolls around and we’ve got some thoughts on how to get the best out of her advice.
Make a Plan
Make your meal plan for a week ahead or a month–however long makes sense given the frequency with which you go shopping. Having a plan means that when you get home with your groceries, you can take an extra half hour to wash and chop the veggies while you’re putting food away anyway because you know what state the veggies need to be in to prep them for your cooking.
Onions, garlic, celery, carrots and peppers are vegetables you’ll find minced and diced as a starting base for all manner of recipes. Buy these items in bulk once a month. Prep them as you normally would and freeze them in portions that are easy to grab for a single meal. When you’re making dinner, pull out what you’ll need for the next day to give it a chance to thaw.
Roast Your Roots
Beets, sweet potatoes, onions, squash, turnip and potatoes take the most time to cook of all the veggies you enjoy. Many recipes recommend roasting these vegetables for the best flavor. If you roast them in a large batch all at once, you can drastically reduce the amount of prep time when you’re ready to make the actual meal.
We’re not saying there’s no place for fresh veggies in a busy schedule, but there’s no denying that opening a can takes less time than washing, chopping and cooking many fresh veggies. Choose frozen or canned veggies that have no salt added and no sauces already on them and you’ll get the same nutritional value as fresh, but at a fraction of the prep time.