Food Prep Tips to Save Time in the Kitchen
By now, we all know how important nutrition is to performance. But that doesn't change the fact we're busy people.
Balancing work, nutrition, training and any other responsibilities is a BIG challenge. Oh, and we need to avoid stress too! Unless you're a professional athlete, with a team of people to help you out, it's so easy to let something slip.
The good news is, with a bit of preparation, eating well doesn't have to be hard work. Here are some food prep tips that will save you time in the kitchen, giving you back more time for yourself:
Tip #1: Plan Your Food
As with most things: if you fail to prepare, prepare to fail. I know this is a massive cliche, but it's so true when it comes to nutrition.
Most of us fall off the wagon when we're caught out, unprepared. If you've ever been to the supermarket, hungry and without a shopping list, you know what I'm talking about!
Sit down at the start of the week and decide what you're going to eat for your main meals and snacks. Use it to make a shopping list - then stick to it. It's difficult to go wrong when you're already decided on a plan of action.
Related Post: The Fundamental Rules of Performance Nutrition
Tip #2: Cook in Bulk
Let's say you're making yourself a tasty bowl of chilli, or chucking a stew in the slow cooker. Is there much difference in time when you make one bowl, compared to ten? Not really.
You might have a bit more veg to chop, but that's about it. Split the leftovers into single servings, and bang them in the fridge or freezer. You now have your own stash of healthy, performance-boosting ready meals.
Tip #3: Set Aside Some Time on Sunday
Sundays are for food prep. Everyone serious about fitness knows that, right?
Look at your food plan for the week, and mentally break down the steps involved with each meal. Some of these tasks will be quick and easy - you can save those for later in the week.
Instead, group together laborious, boring tasks - and do them together to save time. For example, peel and chop your veg.
If you have time, you can also consider making full meals to heat up later in the week, or make healthy, grab-and-go breakfasts if you suck at mornings.
Tip #4: But Don't Try to Do it All At Once
Many people attempt to do everything on a Sunday afternoon. Whilst this is possible, you'll end up resenting food prep - and it's unlikely you'll be back in the kitchen the following weekend.
Instead, figure out the tasks that will save you the most time later in the week. What will make the most difference to your daily routine?
Get the tasks at the top of the list done first. You can always do more if you have nothing better to do, but don't let it take over your entire day!
Tip #5: Look For Shortcuts
As well as being prepared, you can save time when you're actually cooking too. For some reason, we like to do things the hard way.
When you're cooking, get into the habit of thinking:
"Could I make this task any easier?"
Often, the answer is yes! To get you started, here are some easy shortcuts you could be making:
Roast Your Veg
Roast your veg instead of steaming it, choosing foods that take a similar amount of time to cook. That way, you can just shove everything in the oven, and do something else while they're roasting.
Buy Ready-Chopped Vegetables
This is a really easy way to save time in the kitchen, as the bulk of our time is spent preparing vegetables. Some can even be bought frozen (for example, onions and chillis) - extending the shelf life without compromising on taste or quality.
Keep It Simple
If saving time is important to you, don't overcomplicate your food. Keep your recipes simple, but make use of different herbs and spices to add variety and flavour.
What are your favourite ways to cut time in the kitchen?