I absolutely love to cook.
We’re working on goals to eating healthier this year and that usually means cooking as much as we can at home. We’re working on using less canned goods, but at the same time I also know that I enjoy having a well stocked pantry for quick and easy meal ideas.
Today, however, I want to share some time saving healthy cooking tips and also share a free printable kitchen cheat sheet for Freebie Friday! I’ll have another printable cheat sheet up soon for you covering basic cooking substitutions.
And, be sure to check out my basic cooking tips for beginners.
Cooking at home is a great way to start eating healthier and save money. Food can take up a large chunk of your monthly budget and rightfully so. We do need to eat, after all. But that doesn’t mean you have to eat nothing but junk. And it doesn’t mean that you have to spend huge amounts of time in the kitchen, either.
5 Time Saving Healthy Cooking Tips
1) Plan ahead
If you plan your meals out a week at a time and then grocery shop accordingly, not only will you save time by avoiding making multiple trips to the grocery store, but save gas and wear and tear on your vehicle. By planning ahead, you’ll also have all of the ingredients you need when you cook up your meals in advance.
2. Economical Design
You’d be surprised what a difference good kitchen design can make to your healthy cooking ability. If you’re having to renovate your kitchen anyway, make sure to pay extra attention to those elements that can make your life easier. Simple but stylish shaker cabinets can give you easy access to all your ingredients, and ensuring you have enough counter space for preparation will be a game-changer. Make your kitchen into a place you enjoy spending time in, and healthy cooking will feel that much easier.
3) Use canned products
Beans for example are a great source of fiber and nutrition, but dry beans take a lot of time to soak and cook.
A faster alternative is to use canned beans.
One caution is canned beans tend to have a higher sodium count so choose ones with “reduced sodium” or “no salt added”. If you can’t find these, just rinse the salted variety well before cooking and you’ll reduce the salt content by 35%. Not only does using canned products save time, but they store well for use later.
3) Choose quick-cooking whole grains
Cooking something quickly, but yet still healthy is a challenge in itself.
But by choosing from a variety of quick cooking whole grains, you can do it. For example, quinoa only takes about 15 to 20 minutes to cook, yet it provides 3 grams of fiber per ½ cup serving, with only around 100 calories. Other quick-cooking grains include barley, bulgur and oats.
4) Use prepared fresh vegetables and fruits
Most grocery stores have packages of vegetables and fruits in their produce isle that have been already washed and cut up.
This can “chop” time off of your food preparation process along with saving you the time of having to clean up and discard the waste. For example, packaged coleslaw mix is great to use in recipes calling for shredded cabbage but doesn’t create a mess.
5) Cook in bulk
As long as you are going to dirty dishes and cookware, why not make big batches, separate into meal-size servings and freeze them. It will only take a little extra time to cook a larger batch, but will save you lots of time from having cook each night and do dishes multiple times.
Many people use one of their days off to cook enough meals for the next week.
Then you will have prepared packaged food that you can just pop in the microwave to heat, saving you time … quality time you can spend with your family or relaxing instead of cooking from scratch every night.
Common kitchen abbreviations everyone should know
One of the most useful things for a beginning cook to know are conversions and abbreviations.
Common Kitchen ABBREVIATIONS:
- Tsp = teaspon
- Tbs = tablespoon
- lb = pound
- oz = ounce
- fl. oz = fluid ounce
- pt = pint
- qt = quart
common kitchen conversions
- 3 tsp = 1 tbsp
- 4 tbs = 1/4 cup
- 2 cups = 1 pound
- 2 tbs = 1 fl. oz
- 4 fl. oz = 1/2 cup
- 8 fl. oz = 1 cup
- 2 cups = 1 pt
- 4 cups = 1 qt
*and yes, I am aware of the typo in the file name. I was typing around a nursing toddler.