Eating out can wreak havoc on your bank account, as well as any healthy habits you are trying to incorporate. Why not cook your own meals in batches? Here are some time saving, essential tools that will make prepping meals economical, healthier, and better tasting because they’ll be made by you with love.
1. Electric Multi-Function Cooker
What makes this so great? It is one tool that serves many purposes, such as: slow cooker; electric pressure cooker; yogurt maker and rice cooker. Have frozen chicken you want to cook up for dinner? No problem, this can cook it quickly.
Cooking in an electric multi-function cooker is so convenient that you can put your ingredients into it, secure the lid, and walk away while you do other things. There aren’t that many parts to clean (the inner pot, the lid and the accompanying silicone sealing ring), which is nice when you don’t want to spend too much time with clean up. Another time saving feature is that it can cook things much faster than other cooking methods, such as a slow cooker. If you’re someone who likes to save time while preparing meals and cook enough food to last several meals, this is perfect for you.
Let’s face it. If you balk at eating vegetables, you may not balk at ones that look pretty and springy. Many people looking to watch their carbohydrate intake have turned to buying vegetable “noodles” as a way of avoiding rice, wheat or flour. Why not make them at home and save some money? You can use spiralized vegetables in stir-fries or as garnishes for other dishes such as salads. Fruits can also be spiralized; the possibilities are endless!
3. Sustainable Storage
Using plastic bags and then throwing them out seems so wasteful. What if it didn’t have to be? Reusable silicone bags are becoming more and more popular and are available in different sizes. Things you can do with silicone bags, besides store food in them: steam or reheat food in either boiling water or in the microwave; place in the freezer and clean in the top rack of the dishwasher.
Another consideration--glass containers rather than plastic containers. Plastic containers tend to look a little...funky...after repeatedly being used to reheat foods. It can also be daunting to think of chemicals potentially leaching into your food, which can be eliminated by using glass.
4. Rimmed Sheet Pans
If you aspire to eat healthier, one way to do it is to increase your vegetable consumption. Roasting lots of them with a variety of spices is easy to do with sheet pans--simply cut them up, toss with a little olive oil or other healthy fat of your choice, add a seasoning you’ll enjoy, spread them on a sheet pan, and cook til they’re done. Pair with a protein and you have a fulfilling, nutritious meal.
Meals can also be created on sheet pans! As an example: spread sliced lemons onto a pan, add spiced chicken, onions and olives. Drizzle a little oil on top and roast in the oven. When it’s done, portion out servings and store for consumption later.
5. A Good Knife
One. That’s all you need. If you’re trying to stick to a budget, a chef’s knife will do, but make sure it is durable, feels good in your hand, and can do these things really well: slice, chop, dice and mince.
Other knives that are nice to have but aren’t necessary: a paring knife for peeling, chopping and other small tasks; a serrated knife for cutting fine or delicate foods and a bread knife for slicing through loaves of bread. Be sure to hand wash, hand dry and safely store your knives to protect them from dulling.
A great infographic on knives can be found here.Michele is a part time fitness and nutrition coach. Fitness has been a part of her life for the past 20 years as a requirement for her career, and she enjoys sharing her knowledge with others. She is most passionate about strength training and defensive measures training. She believes in keeping things simple when it comes to wellness and committing to one change at a time. To follow Michele, check out her website and Instagram.
Main Photo Credit: Oleg Krugliak/shutterstock.com; Second Photo Credit: Rabbitmildphoto/shutterstock.com; Third Photo Credit: Ahanov Michael/shutterstock.com; Fourth Photo Credit: gresei/shutterstock.com