Diva Tips to Cut Down Meal Prep Time: By M. De Leon

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Cooking is like love . It should be entered with abandon or not at all. ~Harriet Van Horne

I am sure all of you have agonized at one time or another about meal preparation when you find yourselves in a depressed, apathetic, sleepy, shaky, and dystonic state as I often have.

As all of you know one of the hardest things to do as an adult is thinking up meals and spending time preparing them in a timely and nutritious fashion. The pressure is greater when it is our job to feed an entire family especially when there are children depending on us. I must admit, I am the least enthusiastic about meal preparation than any other house chore.  I am the sort of person that enjoys cooking on special occasions like family get together as well as during holidays. When I do, I tend to make a big production with all four burners, and oven going at once. However, this sort of cooking although enjoyable it is not only time consuming but impractical for day to day living when you are a busy mom running around dropping and picking up kids after school. Now add the stresses of living with a chronic illness and things get even more complicated. Not feeling well leaves us drained with a limited amount of energy to do all the things we must accomplish as mom’s so sometimes is easier to stop by a drive through and pick up fast food.

However, because eating out is expensive and boring when you live in a small town like I do; it is also often not as nutritious- it is only good if trying to gain weight. So, you either forgo eating all together or resort to junk food. Neither option helps our disease state. Over the years I have tried many things trying to come up with the fastest and easiest way to serve my family. Unfortunately, take out is still part of the rotation.

Today, I will talk about several options that may cut down on planning and mealtime prep. Of course, the first issue is having food available to cook. Sometimes is very difficult to go out because of our illness and even harder if we can’t drive and depend on others. I sometimes avoid going out because it wears me out the simple act of grocery shopping especially in a big supermarket. Fortunately, there are ways to simplify this through various apps to supermarkets that will let you pick what you want and all you have to do is pull to a curb and pick up groceries. There are some places that will even deliver for you like amazon pantry.

Second, once you have the food is finding the energy and time to cook. May try cooking in bulk and freezing meals for the week. I have done this many times usually cooking in middle of the night when I am most active and feeling my best. However, it is important to note that not all meals keep well when frozen. One of the easiest meals to prepare in less than 30 minutes and can make a large quantity that keeps is grilled sirloin beef stew. This can keep for a couple of weeks and simple reheat and pair with corn bread or rolls.

Third, cook things in a crock pot- I have mentioned previously several good recipe books (Any Blonde Can cook Series by Debbie Thornton) for fast and tasty meals.

Fourth, there are several services available that offer delivery of either precooked meals or easy to cook such as Freshly, Hello Fresh, Blue Apron, Home Chef, Green Chef among others.

I have tried several of these services. Freshly, I did not like because they were basically overpriced TV meals, small portions, did not keep well and not very tasty.

Hello Fresh, I really liked because it comes with very healthy organically grown vegetables all pre- measured and individually wrapped and it comes with instructions. they usually take no more than 30 minutes to prepare. Blue apron and some of the other ones according to some friends are equally good and same pre- sized and pre- measured. Only downside to these is the cost especially if large family; plus have to order a minimum of 4 meals which if live alone may not be as practical. What I like about them one is the variety can choose mechanical soft, soft, vegetarian, gluten free, vegan, soups, lunches and dinners. Many have introductory plans so at least you can try and decide if this is for you. Delivered right to your doorstep weekly making it very convenient especially in the winter months or when trying to avoid crowds because of coronavirus.

Fifth, another place I have found to have a good variety of foods is a Mackenzie Gourmet food. They can be a bit pricier for somethings but overall is excellent quality of food for price and amount of time to prepare. All items are precooked all you have to do is thaw out and heat. I love ordering certain foods from here and then adding sides for quick meals.

Of course, now that I no longer have children at home I have much more energy to prepare meals then previously mostly because it is much easier to cook for one or two people than for an entire family especially when everyone has different likes and dislikes.

Remember, these are but a few options which I have found to help me maintain a nutritious diet and a schedule. There are many more options out there and I would love to hear some of your tips.

@copyright 2020

All rights reserved By Maria L. De Leon ( ParkinsonsDiva)

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