Time-saving cooking tips for healthy meals

Getting healthy meals on the table fast is easy with these time-saving tips.

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Easy tips to save time in the kitchen

Follow these simple tips to help save time preparing and cooking meals:

  1. Chop extra fruit and vegetables when preparing meals so you have extra for lunches, snacks, and meals the next day.
  2. Buy pre-cut vegetables such as broccoli, squash, and mushrooms.
  3. Choose lower-sodium convenience foods to help speed up prep time. Try canned or bottled tomato-based pasta sauces, frozen or canned vegetables and fruit, canned tuna or salmon, and canned beans or lentils.
  4. Cook on the weekend. Make-then freeze-meals for the upcoming week like soups, stews, casseroles, pasta dishes, and chili. These will come in handy on busy weeknights.
  5. Cook twice the chicken or ground beef you need and keep extras in the fridge to make chicken salad, enchiladas, chili, or spaghetti sauce the next day.
  6. Ask the kids to help. By involving children in preparing food, they'll appreciate meals more and learn important life skills. Depending on their age, kids can wash and peel vegetables, tear up lettuce, mash potatoes, wash and cut fruit, drain and rinse canned beans or lentils, and stir a pot.
  7. Invest in time-saving appliances. A slow cooker is a great way to come home to a warm meal. A hand blender can help you make quick and easy soups, sauces, and smoothies. Use a mini-chopper to dice up garlic and onions.

Ideas for using leftovers

Tired of eating the same meal twice? Get creative with these tips to transform leftovers into a whole new meal.

  • Salmon:
    • Add salmon to a salad or sandwich for a quick lunch.
    • Add chunks of salmon to homemade macaroni and cheese.
    • Mash to make salmon cakes.
  • Roast chicken:
    • Shred chicken for quick quesadillas.
    • Make your own chicken noodle soup with whole grain noodles, lower-sodium broth, and frozen peas and carrots.
    • Add chicken to a wholesome white bean chili.
  • Chili:
    • Stuff peppers with chilli and bake.
    • Use as a topping for baked sweet potatoes.
    • Toss with whole grain pasta for a super speedy meal.
  • Pork tenderloin:
    • Use in tacos or grilled sandwiches.
    • Cook with lower sodium tomato sauce and frozen vegetables and serve over rice.
  • Cooked vegetables:
    • Whip up leftover vegetables in an omelette.
    • Add to a pasta dish.
    • Top a whole-grain pizza.
  • Chickpeas:
    • Stuff a whole wheat pita pocket.
    • Serve over baby spinach.
    • Mix with whole grain couscous.
  • Cooked brown rice:
    • Make a quick stir-fry with frozen vegetables.
    • Add to soups and stews.
    • Toss together a rice and lentil salad.
  • Stir-fry:
    • Roll up leftover stir-fry in a whole wheat wrap.
    • Add stir-fry vegetables and tofu to soup.
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