When life gets busy, making homemade dinners can fall to the bottom of your to-do list and drive through and take out dinners may sound a lot more appealing (and time friendly!). While this is nothing wrong with the occasional fast food, by cooking meals at home you can reduce the amount of added fat and sodium, and have control over the types of ingredients going into your food.
To increase the amount of homemade meals you have during busy times, meal prepping and meal planning can be your best friend.
Meal planning: this means taking on day out of the week (Sunday is a good day) to sit a down with a planner and planning out your meals for a week. After your meals are planned out, make a grocery list for all the ingredients you will need for the week.
**Helpful tip: use leftovers from dinner for your lunch the next day. Ex: roasted chicken for dinner, chicken salad sandwich for lunch the next day**
Meal prepping: this means that on Sunday (or whatever day you have chosen to meal prep) you pre-cook whatever meals from your meal plan that would allow for this. Ex: roasting a chicken on Sunday and using the chicken in dishes for the rest of the week, making a lasagna on Sunday for dinner during the week, or portioning out yogurt and fruit in single serve containers for each day of the week.
A crock pot can be your best friend during busy times. The beauty of a crock pot is that you can throw the ingredients in the crock pot in the morning on your way out the door to work and arrive home to a warm, homemade meal for you and your family. Looking for ideas? Below are two different crock pot recipes for you to try out (one for breakfast and one for dinner).
Slow Cooker Steal Cut Oatmeal
Recipe adapted from CookSmarts.com
2 cups steal cut oats
6 cups water2 cups milk of any type
2 tablespoons butter
2 to 3 peeled apples
¼ cup honey
2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
Optional add ins: flax seed, chia seed, almonds, pecans, shredded coconut, hemp seeds, pepitas, etc.
- Spray the slow cooker with cooking oil or brush with cooking oil to prevent sticking
- Put all ingredients into the slow cooker. Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.
- Top with optional add-ins of your choice.
Crock Pot Kid-Friendly Turkey Chili
Recipe from Skinnytaste.com
1.3 lbs 99% lean ground turkey
1 teaspoon oil
1 medium onion, minced
1 red bell pepper, diced fine
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels10 oz can Rotel Mild Tomatoes
8 oz small can plain tomato sauce
1/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Reduced fat sour cream
Reduced fat shredded cheese
Baked tortilla chips
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the turkey, season with salt and cook, breaking up with a spoon until turkey browns and is no longer pink; place into the slow cooker.
- Add the oil to the skillet and sauté the onion, garlic and bell pepper over medium heat for about 4 to 5 minutes.
- Spoon over turkey into the slow cooker and stir in corn and tomatoes, tomato sauce, cumin, chili powder, paprika and salt, mix until well blended. Pour chicken broth into the crock pot and add the bay leaf.
- Cover and cook on high 4 hours or low 6 hours. Serve with desired toppings.